Ram Bergman and Rian Johnson Ram Bergman and Rian Johnson Producer Ram Bergman (left), writer/director Rian Johnson and producer James D. Stern attend the "Looper" premiere screening during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Star Wars producer heading to a galaxy far, far away

Ram Bergman reuniting with director Rian Johnson to produce Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX.

Hollywood producer Ram Bergman is about to embark on a journey to a galaxy far, far away, and his favorite filmmaking collaborator will be steering the starship.

Bergman, who produced last year's "Don Jon" starring Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, found critical and box office success by pairing with writer/director Rian Johnson ("Brick," "The Brothers Bloom") for all of his feature films, including the 2012 sci-fi thriller "Looper."

So when news broke in June that Johnson would be writing and directing both "Star Wars Episode VIII" and "Star Wars Episode IX" for Disney and Lucasfilm, it wasn't long before longtime collaborator Bergman was brought in as a producer on the films as well.

Hollywood heavyweight J.J. Abrams is directing "Star Wars Episode VII," which is currently in production, before handing the reins of the series over to Johnson for the next installment.

One of the most highly-anticipated franchise revivals in the history of cinema, the "Star Wars" sequels are often met with immediate, feverish reaction by fans and movie lovers. The great news for Bergman and Johnson, however, is that nearly all of the initial reaction to the hiring has been positive.

Johnson, it appears, has proven with "Looper," and his previous films, that he knows exactly what he's doing behind the camera (and the keyboard). Surely the fact that Johnson also directed several "Breaking Bad" episodes (including "Ozymandias," which many fans consider to be the best episode of the series) helps as well.

For Bergman, the opportunity to renew his collaboration with Johnson on the two Star Wars movies means pairing up again with a close friend.

"If I don't have to make a movie with anyone for the rest of my life and just make movies with Rian, I'll be a happy man." - Ram Bergman

"When I was young," Bergman told ZEFR in a filmed interview, "I didn't care if the person [he was working with] was nice, as long as they're talented. As I get older, I realized life is too short. If I'm going to spend a year or two, or even more, I just want to do it with a person that I want to be in the room with. Even if we disagree, we know it comes from the right place. It's hard to find someone talented and nice."

"Rian [Johnson]," he said, "is the ultimate. If I don't have to make a movie with anyone for the rest of my life and just make movies with Rian, I'll be a happy man. A very, very happy man. He's low maintenance and that doesn't happen very much."

Bergman also told ZEFR about his own Hollywood story. "When I started [as a producer], I never went to film school," he said. "I grew up in Israel and, when I came [to the United States] when I was 22 years old, I thought, 'Oh, I love movies. I'll just go to America.' But I never knew anything about movies or thought I was going to be making movies. I came to New York and saw people filming on the street and asked them to work on the film."

Bergman came to the U.S. in 1991, according to a profile in Inquisitr. By 2005, the year he produced "Brick," Bergman had been named one of Variety's "10 Producers to Watch." From humble beginnings, the producer has made quite a name for himself in Hollywood.

It will be a long time before we get to see the fruits of the Bergman-Johnson partnership, but one thing is for sure: the pair are no longer working in the independent-film universe. This is the big time, and there's truly nothing bigger to movie fans than "Star Wars."


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