It’s not every day that you hear about a project that brings together (psychically, at least) George Lucas, Roger Ebert, Russ Meyer, and Patton Oswalt, but here goes: when Oswalt was acting in Young Adult, he became interested in Jamie Follis (aka “Sillof”), an “action figure customizer” with a specialty in physical reimaginings of the Star Wars universe. Oswalt liked Sillof’s work so much that he commissioned him to create a series of figures that mashed up the world of Lucas with that of exploitation movie legend Russ Meyer, resulting in the artist’s latest series, Faster, Empire! Strike! Strike!
But here’s where it gets bittersweet. Oswalt had introduced Roger Ebert to Sillof’s work, and had told him about the series, which Ebert was excited to see — a lifelong friend of the gonzo moviemaker, Ebert wrote or co-wrote three Meyer movies (and wrote Who Killed Bambi?, their notorious, unproduced Sex Pistols movie). Ebert didn’t live to see the figures, but, as Oswalt writes on his blog, “this set’s for you, Roger. More evidence, from just one of probably a hundred thousand bored suburban kids you led out of the bland cineplexes and into rep theatres and obscure video stores and adventurous film festivals. There was a network of parallels, connections and coincidences in that movie universe you kept in your head. I’d like to think this interpretation of a tiny sliver of it would make you smile. Or at least grip your heart, like a velvet glove cast in iron.” Check out Sillof’s work, and the character descriptions from his site, below.
“Betty Kentworthy runs a dilapidated old farm on the outskirts of a small town in West Texas that hadn’t yielded much more than dirt the last few seasons. There was a drought going on and the farm was cluttered with windmills drilling down to dry wells. Betty was disliked and dismissed by the local townsfolk for some unspoken events from the past; she resigns herself to a solitary existence looking over two teenagers who are not her children by birth.” Siloff writes that he was going for a “tough old Angie Dickenson type.”