Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the incredible
Skywalker: Fictitious Representation of Humanity
The character of Skywalker is fictitious. But in a way, he represents every human being. One may use him as a model. Or, as Carl Jung would put it, “he represents a universal archetype found in the depths of the human psyche.” Evaluation of Amy Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, winner of two Oscars and – I’m understating this – countless other big accolades, is sitting in front of me, wearing a black kurta and speaking her mind. In her opinion, the best approach to conducting an interview is in person. I too am in agreement, and we immediately begin chatting. She is in a hurry.
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Accomplished Filmmaker and Activist
The space we’re in is nice and cozy. Behind a glass display case is a shelf containing Obaid-Chinoy’s many awards. My gaze wandered aimlessly for a moment before landing on the walls, where physical copies of Variety magazine lay on a table. As I began to stare, I found it difficult to tear my eyes away. If the walls could tell stories, the histories behind each of these photographs would be fascinating. Obaid-Chinoy appears in photos by herself beside (get ready) Madonna, Beyoncé, Justin Trudeau, Mira Nair, Hillary Clinton, Steven Spielberg, Sadiq Khan, Meryl Streep, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Charlize Theron, Thandie Newton, Mark Ruffalo, and George Clooney, among many others.
The Excitement of Directing a Star Wars Film
Obaid-Chinoy was wearing a shalwar kameez and had her head covered in a generic room with guns around her. This image stood out from the rest. Another one that caught my eye right away was one of her holding a boom mike in a remote area and directing it toward a woman. I had to tear my eyes away from the walls when Shar-meen Obaid-Chinoy walked in (I was early). After our scheduled interview time ended, she immediately joined another call due to an earlier commitment. In 2023, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will celebrate 20 years of filmmaking, journalism, and animation, all of which she began when she was just 22 years old. The fact that she will helm a Star Wars picture on her own is currently the biggest topic of conversation. This is after she co-directed the Ms. Marvel series, which featured a number of Pakistani artists (musicians, actresses, and the like) and a compelling story that made us want to tune in.
Obaid-Chinoy’s Approach to Filmmaking and Social Reflection
Obaid-Chinoy is articulate during the conversation, but she takes a moment to gather her thoughts before mentioning the Star Wars assignment, which she initially revealed at a Star Wars celebration event in London back in early April. Beginning with, “I’m excited to be able to work on a story that has influenced the lives of millions of people around the world,” Obaid-Chinoy says, “If I take a leaf from my own filmmaking career, I’ve always worked on films that hold up a mirror to society, a reflection of the way we are, and that is what Star Wars has always been. The films of George Lucas and his vision were filtered via that lens.
Women Directors in the Star Wars Universe
Although this is a fairly standard undertaking, hearing her approach to it is intriguing. I’m relaying to the director what Patty Jenkins, the filmmaker behind Wonder Woman, had to say about how, as the head of a major studio’s franchise film division, she feels the weight of the entire gender on her shoulders to get every aspect of the film perfect. The perception (and Hollywood prejudice) dictates that women can’t do it, so if one woman delivers a flop, other women aren’t called to deliver. Even if a director turns in a bomb (looking at you, Zack Snyder), he can still land more major films in the future. However, Obaid-Chinoy’s opinions differ slightly, and they are straightforward: she takes full responsibility for every film she has ever created.
Taking Responsibility for Every Film Created
She explains, “I have always picked projects and films that appeal to me, that have a profound emotional resonance. I use my platform to bring attention to under-explored stories and issues, and it is in this spirit that I am approaching Star Wars. There have been many women working in the Star Wars TV series, including Deborah Chow (Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Lesley Headland (The Acolyte), therefore I think it’s great that a woman is going to be directing a Star Wars film. “I feel like I’m following in their footsteps. “The secret is out; I’m not here to save you. Kendrick Lamar, Baby Keen, and Sam Dew, “Saviors”
Obaid-Chinoy’s Perspective on Personal Freedom and Pursuing Projects
With his most recent album, Kendrick Lamar, the greatest rapper of all time, made it abundantly plain that he cannot save an entire culture and people. When asked the same question, Obaid-Chinoy gives a response that has nothing in common with Lamar’s. Surprisingly, “I don’t have any baggage,” I say. “I don’t have any baggage because I’m free to pursue whatever I want, and if you look at my work over the last two decades, the kinds of projects I’ve done, and the storylines I’ve pushed forward, you’ll see that. I’ve never taken a monochrome view of the world. Her strategy is not black-and-white.