Roger Christian (filmmaker)

Last updated

Roger Christian
Roger Christian (April 2011)
Born (1944-02-25) 25 February 1944 (age 77) [1]
London, England, United Kingdom
OccupationFilm director, production designer, set decorator
Years active1968–present
Spouse(s)Lina Dhingra
Website at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2011)

Roger Christian (born 25 February 1944) [1] is an English set decorator, production designer and feature film director. He won an Academy Award for his work on the original Star Wars and was Oscar-nominated for his work on Alien . Christian directed the second unit on both Return of the Jedi [2] and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace as well as feature films including The Sender and Nostradamus . He also directed the 2000 film Battlefield Earth which is regarded as one of the worst films ever made. [3] [4] [5]



He began his career as an assistant art director on several UK productions including the Hammer Studios film And Soon the Darkness (1970). He won an Academy Award for set decoration on the science fiction classic Star Wars (1977). [6] (Christian claims to be the third crew member hired for the project.) [7] Two years later, Christian received his second Oscar nomination for his work as the production designer on Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). [8] Christian's use of aircraft scrap and other machinery to dress the set interiors of these films and creation of weapons using old working guns adapted by adding junk revolutionised the look of science fiction films. [7] [9] Christian maintained his working relationship with George Lucas over the years, having worked on Return of the Jedi (1983) and being the second unit director on Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999). He later briefly met with the Episode VII art department and Star Wars Rebels crew, although not in an official capacity. [10]

Christian began his directing career with the shorts Black Angel (1980) and the Oscar-winning The Dollar Bottom (1981). [11] [12] Black Angel, filmed at locations in Scotland, was mentored by George Lucas who tied the film as a programme with The Empire Strikes Back in UK, Australia, and Scandinavia. [13] The 25-minute film is a retelling of the hero's journey in classical mythology, and it influenced several major directors. [13] He made his feature film debut with the horror film The Sender (1982). Chosen as the opening film at the Avoriaz Film Festival, the film has become a cult classic. Quentin Tarantino has described The Sender as his favourite horror film of 1982. [14] Christian directed the music video "Election Day" by the band Arcadia in Paris, France in 1985. [15] His 1994 feature film Nostradamus , about the life of the famous French prophet, has received worldwide recognition. [13]

His biggest project to date was the big budget L. Ron Hubbard science fiction adaptation Battlefield Earth (2000) [16] starring John Travolta and Barry Pepper, which The Guardian considered a commercial and critical disaster, and as one of the "worst films ever made". [3] [4] [5] In 2009, NPR declared the film "the worst science fiction film of the decade". [17] Christian doesn't consider Battlefield Earth to be a "Scientology movie" as he intended it as a throwback to regular science fiction. [18] He also won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director.

In 2006, he directed an action/adventure/mystery movie, Prisoners of the Sun , starring John Rhys-Davies, David Charvet, Carmen Chaplin, and Gulshan Grover. It was unreleased until 2014 when it had geographically limited release in Nordic countries.

Personal life

Christian is a Buddhist. He is an admirer of filmmaker Peter Jackson. [18]


Directorial credits

1980 Black Angel Also screenwriter and producer
Short film
1981 The Dollar Bottom Short film; Oscar winner
1982 The Sender Directorial debut
1984 Starship Also screenwriter
1985"Election Day"Music video for Arcadia
1986''Fire on the Water"Music video for Chris de Burgh
1994 Nostradamus Also story writer
1995 The Final Cut
1996 Underworld Also wrote lyrics for the song My Pop
1997 Masterminds
2000 Battlefield Earth Razzie winner
2004 American Daylight
Bandido Also producer and production designer
2013 Dangerous Intuition TV film
Stranded Also screenwriter
Prisoners of the Sun
2016 Joseph & Mary
Bear Clan Station
TBABlack AngelAlso screenwriter and producer
Feature remake short film
Behind the ForceAlso screenwriter and producer
Documentary film

Producing credits

2012Riddle of the Black CatJonathan RinzlerShort film
2013 13 Eerie Lowell Dean Executive producer
2017 The Black Prince Kavi Raz Consulting producer

Technical credits

1968 Oliver! Art department assistantUncredited
1969–1970 Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Set dresserTV Series, 8 episodes
1970 And Soon the Darkness Assistant art director
1971–1972 Jason King Set dresserTV Series, 25 episodes
1973 The 14 Assistant art director
The Final Programme Assistant art director
1974 Mahler Associate art director
Akenfield Art director
1975 Lucky Lady Assistant art directorUncredited
1977 Star Wars Set decoratorOscar winner
The Last Remake of Beau Geste Set decorator
1979 Alien Art directorOscar nominee
Monty Python's Life of Brian Art director
1983 Return of the Jedi Second unit directorUncredited
1999 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace Second unit director
2000 The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: My First AdventureSecond unit directorUncredited, TV film


FimAwards and nomation(s)
Star Wars Academy Award for Best Art Direction
Shared with John Barry, Norman Reynolds & Leslie Dilley [19]
Nominated – Saturn Award for Outstanding Set Decoration
Alien Nominated – Academy Award for Best Art Direction
Shared with Michael Seymour, Leslie Dilley & Ian Whittaker [20]
The Dollar Bottom Nominated – BAFTA Film Award for Best Short Film
Starship Nominated – International Fantasy Film Award for Best Film
Battlefield Earth Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture of the Decade
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst 'Drama' of Our First 25 Years

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  1. 1 2 "Roger Christian". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. Revenge of the Jedi call sheet
  3. 1 2 Campbell, Duncan (31 May 2000). "Cult classic". Guardian Unlimited. Guardian Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 29 July 2006. [...] Battlefield Earth has opened to spectacularly bad notices, many of which have suggested that the film is the worst of the year, the decade, the millennium or whatever exotic time-frame the alien Psychlos recognise.
  4. 1 2 Farache, Emily (18 October 2000). "Travolta Sets Sights on "Battlefield Earth 2"". E! Online . Retrieved 26 March 2007.
  5. 1 2 Christian, Roger (4 June 2000). "How dare they call my film a turkey; The director of the new John Travolta epic defends himself against his many critics". The Observer. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  6. 1978|
  7. 1 2 Singer, Jeremy (4 May 2014). "The Man Who Literally Built 'Star Wars'". Esquire . Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  8. 1980|
  9. Martin Anderson. "In praise of the sci-fi corridor". Den of Geek.
  10. Szostak, Phil (2015). The Art of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'. Abrams Books. p. 124. ISBN   978-1-4197-1780-2.
  11. Short Film Winners: 1981 Oscars
  12. 1981|
  13. 1 2 3 Anderson, Martin (9 March 2010). "Exclusive interview: The worlds of Roger Christian". Shadowlocked. Archived from the original on 16 December 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  14. Cole, Andrew (14 January 2008). "Every film mentioned by Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino in their Hot Fuzz commentary track". Tysto. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  15. Arcadia – Making of....Election Day Video on YouTube
  16. 25 MOVIES SO BAD THEY'RE UNMISSABLE < < Rotten Tomatoes
  17. Raz, Guy (27 December 2009). "Movies That Should Die with the Decade". All Things Considered. National Public Radio. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  18. 1 2 Anderson, Martin (21 March 2012). "Roger Christian Talks Zombies, Prometheus & Battlefield Earth". Shadowlocked. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  19. Star Wars Wins Art Direction: 1978 Oscars
  20. "All That Jazz" winning the Oscar® for Art Direction-Oscars on YouTube