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swsigsuk

Things we learnt at Empire Day 17

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One of the best things about a show like Empire Day is all the great stories and tidbits of information that come out of having the chance to chat with all the guests at length, and I thought it would be a good idea if we started a thread on here to share all that info with anyone who wasn't lucky enough to hear it first time.

 

I'll get us started, but please add anything I missed out on, no matter how small!

 

First up is the great Colin Higgins story of how two actors wound up saying dialogue credited to the character of Wedge Antilles. It seems Colin was originally hired to play the entire part of Wedge and as such was sent a script and had an audition the same as all the other actors (not extras) on the picture. Despite having worked extensively in theatre and television, Star Wars was the first film he had done, and so was understandably rather nervous, especially when he tried learning his lines which seemed to be gobbledegook. Never mind he thought, we will be able to sort that out in rehearsal and they will probably do a couple of dummy takes after that just like in TV work.

The reality proved to be quite different. On arriving on set he was issued with his x-wing pilot costume and taken to a tiny room equipped only with a bed by an assistant and told to wait until he was called. Eventually he was told he should go to lunch, where he found himself faces with two queues. One appeared to be a mile long (the extras) while the other was relatively short (the actors). Naturally he joined the actors queue, but as he was dressed exactly the same as all the extras the stewards initially tried to force him to join the extras queue! Eventually it was accepted that he was indeed an actor and he got his lunch, after which he was returned to his box room. A few more hours passed before he was told they were done for the day and sent home.

His second day on set was much the same as the first: back in the box room and no shooting. Finally on the third day he was called to film the briefing room scene, but he was in for a shock. No rehearsals, no dummy takes, in fact the only direction he received was from an assistant director who said "Mr. Lucas wants you to say this as fast as possible". Not only did he have to say lines he did not know or understand, he now had to say them as fast as he could. This and the nerves of being on his first film were not a good combination. Inevitably he fluffed multiple takes, and Mark Hamill's suggestion to "just relax" did not help matters. Eventually they got the take and he was sent home for the day. On his way out he trew up from the nerves of the situation.

He was not scheduled to shoot again until 3 days later. On the second day he got a call to say that he would not be called back. Denis Lawson was brought in to shoot the remaining Wedge scenes. Sadly Star Wars proved to be one of Colin's worst experiences as an a professional actor. The only time he saw or spoke to George Lucas was his audition.

 

Now some other bits and bobs:

 

Ted Western was also in the end celebration scene on Yavin. He is stood near the back wall on the left of where the heros come in, wearing green overalls. He was originally working on the film in the props department, but was put in costume for the cantina scene because Lucas wanted "more movement" in the background. This caused some tension between him and the other extras, even though he was a fully paid up member of equity, and is the reason he is hiding almost out of shot in the photos.

 

Tony Allen worked on ANH as a Stormtrooper and is also in the end celebration scene on Yavin. In ESB he was a Snowtrooper and a Stormtrooper and he thinks a rebel but is not sure. He worked on ROJ but is not sure whether he was in the costume department or an extra.

 

Snowtrooper capes were hazardous, if you did not put them on properly they would catch under your feet and you would fall flat on your face. You could also not see a thing in the helmets as they did not fit properly, leading to many accidents, including once when Tony stepped on Darth Vader's cape and sent poor old Dave Prowse flying.

 

Mark Hamill was " a prat". I won't name the source on this one, but those of you who were at the Q+A know...

 

 

I'll add more stuff as I remember it, please all do the same!

 

Graham

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Guest Dr jones

Thanks for sharing - Do you or anyone else have any other intresting stories the guests told?

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I was sat with Toby Philpott for the day.

 

He had some great stories. The one that comes to mind is when they were filming the screen were Jabba licks Carrie.

 

If you didn't know Toby's right hand/arm was Jabba's tongue. And from inside they could see next to nothing. The only way they could see what was outside was a small 4 inch monitor on their lap. And that was only being feed by a CC TV camera that was looking directly at Jabba so they couldn't see anyone else in the room. Also Jabbas tongue was in fact covered in a kind of KY jelly gloop.

 

On the first take Toby stuck out Jabbas tongue and moved it towards Carrie but missed by a mile. So over the intercom he's told by the AD to get as close as he can, he wants him to actually touch Carrie with the tongue. Toby replies back asing if Carrie is aware that he's going to be doing that as it could be dangerous. The AD comes back saying, "it's fine, we want her to be shocked by it".

 

So take 2 and Toby goes for it, and really sticks his arm out. Only to hear a scream and over the intercom he's told to stop. He then hears over the intercom that the scream was from Carrie as Toby had managed to stick the tongue right in Carrie's ear.

 

Take 3 is the one that's in the film. If you look closely, you'll see that Carrie is edging away from the tongue. That's not all acting she was actually worried it was going to lick her again :wub:

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During the Prequel Q&A, David Sexton spoke about how a guy that heard about the Episode 1 filming from the agency but hadnt been picked to come for a costume fitting, but turned up anyway and joined the queue. The AD said his name wasnt on the list but he hang around anyway and managed to start putting on a costume with the other extras and had his name added to lists as he went from costume to makeup etc. It turns out he worked on the movie for a long time! They had lost contact with him since and asked if anyone knew him, his name is Crazy Eddie Erani (I think).

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Loved both the prequel and sequel talks, I liked how obviously the prequel talk had younger speakers so they seemed a little more like fanboys whereas the sequel speakers were more generalised in the filmaking processes. Both were great.

Loved mike savva's reaction to the question of wether any of them had 'obtained' anything from the set as a keepsake!

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Loved both the prequel and sequel talks, I liked how obviously the prequel talk had younger speakers so they seemed a little more like fanboys whereas the sequel speakers were more generalised in the filmaking processes. Both were great.

Loved mike savva's reaction to the question of wether any of them had 'obtained' anything from the set as a keepsake!

 

 

What was his reaction?

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Didnt he give a 'guilty' expression when he said there were always 100s of eyes looking at the props at all times so couldnt take anything. Hard to explain but you should have been there I guess. Looked like a hidden message that he may have got something but wouldnt say so in public funny Q&A though

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