Look, I don’t want to sit here and tell you George Lucas sucks, because he’s certainly accomplished more in his life than I ever will, not that that’s any great achievement. Still, I will say that rumors of his greatness may have been greatly over inflated, like the pouch under his chin when he gets agitated. His best movie (even though he didn’t direct or write the script) is easily Empire Strikes Back. Oh, and about that… You know that “I love you!” “…I know,” exchange? That wasn’t how Lucas had originally envisioned it.
As part of the 30th anniversary of “The Empire Strikes Back,” Harrison Ford participated in a charity event for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As part of George Lucas’s “The Empire Gives Back” initiative, Ford attended a Hollywood screening of Empire and spoke about the franchise for 30 minutes following the screening.. Here are 10 juicy tidbits Ford revealed for donors who paid $100-$175 for tickets to the special screening:
He was responsible for “I love you” … “I know.”
At least Ford acknowledges that this was a great line. He and director Irvin Kershner fought Lucas for it. “Film is a collaborative process. I’m happy that I was able to make a small contribution. It didn’t go down so well with George at the time. He would have been a lot happier with the scripted line, which is ‘I love you, too,’ but I felt, and Kersh agreed, that there was the opportunity for a more character ’smelling’ moment. So we shot that among other versions. We did shoot ‘I love you, too,’ but when Kersh presented his cut, he used the line ‘I know.’ George said, ‘That’s gonna get a laugh. That’s not good.’ Kersh and I both said, ‘It could be a good laugh at that moment.’
“I remember being at the test screening in San Francisco sitting next to George, Kershner on the other side, and he went into the screening predicting that this is going to be a bad laugh, but I think the audience convinced him it was not so bad. I take no ownership. If Kersh hadn’t thought that it was a good idea, we wouldn’t have shot it. It is a collaborative process, and I think what it speaks to more than anything else is that when you have the opportunity to make something and you care about what it is you’re making, you try and you try and you try. You just don’t settle. You try because you care about the product, and a little thing like that you end up investing in because you think it might make it better.”
For all the inspiring screenwriters out there, a good rule of thumb is “I love you.” “…I know,” = good laugh. “Oh, Ani, how you’ve grown!” = bad laugh.