Roger Christian

Roger Christian

Christian began his career in 1969 as set dresser on the UK series "My Partner the Ghost" (ITV 1969-70). By the following year he had quickly ascended to assistant art director on the UK thriller "And Soon the Darkness" (1970), and worked on several other films in that capacity including the loosely-strung Ken Russell flop "Mahler" (1974). But it wasn't until 1977 that Christian would make his mark on the industry as a set decorator of note on the mega sci-fi phenomenon that set the bar for generations of filmmakers, "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" (1977). It won Christian an Academy Award, and was the beginning of his long association with George Lucas. Based on of his proven ability to visualize future worlds Christian moved up the ladder once again and was asked to art direct another ground-breaking sci-fi classic, Ridley Scott's "Alien" (1979). The exacting Scott engaged cult artist H. R. Giger to develop the creature, which in turn molded the visual tension that defined the entire film. Christian received an Oscar nomination for his art direction of the film, which influenced the sci-fi genre well into the following century. That same year he expanded his resume again as the writer, producer, and director on a short "Black Angel"(1979). The film was made with the support of his mentor and collaborator George Lucas, who chose the short to be screened in the UK alongside "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" (1980). Christian's follow-up film "The Bottom Dollar"(1981) won an Oscar for best live-action short.Christian's first feature "The Sender " (1982) was given limited release and had limited success, although Quentin Tarantino referred to it as his favorite film in the horror genre that year. The director followed that film with a series a series of critical and box office flops including "Starship" (1984), "The Final Cut" (1996) and "Masterminds" (1996). In 1999 the director rebounded as second unit director on "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999) and as an uncredited second unit director on "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: My First Adventure" (2000). Unfortunately this run of high profile successes culminated in what is commonly agreed upon as a major embarrassment within the sci-fi genre, the John Travolta backed Scientology primer, "Battlefield Earth" (2000). The colossal commercial and critical embarrassment of this film was a sad coda to Christian's otherwise impressive career.