Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. You've made movie history by becoming the only actor
to have a speaking role in all six Star Wars movies. When did
you realise, when you first embarked on this 30 years ago, that
you were going to be involved in something that was going to be
A. It was actually the cover of Newsweek magazine that
just blasted the whole thing, saying 'this is the best thing ever',
because as you know Star Wars opened with no publicity. It was
just audiences going in and coming out screaming and taking their
friends in and so it built.
Originally Star Wars for me was a 12-week gig and that was it.
It's 30 years since I met George in an office down the road from
here [London] and I didn't want to meet him, I didn't want to
play a robot in a low-budget sci-fi movie. Can you imagine how
I would have felt today, as being a shelf-stacker in a supermarket,
going 'I could have been in that movie?' So I guess The Force
was with me.
Q. What was good about being in a tin can for weeks on
A. Not a lot, frankly, the costume was made to a mould
of my body but in the manufacturing of it, it all kind of shrank
and whatever. On the first day, it took two hours with six prop
guys, squeezing me and pushing me and screwing me in there. My
moment of joy came in finally stepping out of the tent - there
was no Hollywood glamour, it was a tent in the desert - and seeing
the whole crew, American, English, Tunisian, and whatever. The
Americans were like 'gosh, that's incredible'; and the English
were 'quite interesting, isn't it?' And then the Tunisian crew
were like in awe, they really thought I was the second coming.
So that was my moment of joy.
The next moment, the assistant director said 'can you come over
to the set' and I took one step in the costume and it broke and
nearly cut my foot off. And I knew I was in deep doo-doo from
Q. I imagine, therefore,
that you couldn't even afford to put on a few ounces of weight?
A. If you've met Rick McCallum, you know he's not about
to make a new costume every time we do this thing. So I'm actually
wearing the same costume and it's beginning to smell a bit. Like
Hayden, I kind of work out a bit to stay a little healthy.
But the bigger shock for me was talking to myself through most
of these movies because R2-D2 is adorable but doesn't speak. And
it's kind of hard to do a performance with actors who actually
don't respond. I tried to get George to go 'beep' at the end of
a line I'd said. You know, I'd explain to him 'it's difficult
on my own, could you make a beep sound, could you...'. We were
out in the desert and the camera was over there and I was yelling
at him and he sort of said 'oh, sure'. So we did the scene again,
[mimics C3PO voice] 'where are you going?' [Pauses] 'Oh, beep!'
Q. You get to say the opening line in the first film
and the closing line in the last film, were you aware of that?
A. I didn't realise that I had the last line in this
movie because sometimes the script changes and so on. I had the
first line of the first movie, which was 'did you hear that, they
shut down the main reactor. There'll be no escape for the princess
this time!' I didn't really know what I was talking about [laughs].
I'd never been in a film before and I thought 'this is weird'.
But then George and I, 28 years later, walked into a sound stage
in Australia and saw the same set and it was an extremely odd
little jump. But the last line isn't the most Shakespearean of
lines, it's 'oh no!' but what was great is that Jimmy Smits, who
is such a gorgeous person, came up to me and said 'how can I say
this, how can I say just wipe his mind like that, and have this
droid's memory wiped'. I just replied, 'think of him as a washing
machine, he's a house-hold object, he doesn't feel'.
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