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Exclusive interview with Dee Tails (K-OHN and Cratinus)

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One of the (literally) most striking names Star Wars is Dee Tails, the British actor who is in both The Force Awakens (as Cratinus) as Rogue One (K-OHN). Interesting detail (!): His character K-OHN would initially be the K-2SO droid!

Exclusively for StarWarsAwakens and StarWarsInterviews.com I could interview Dee Tails. A memorable interview about all his Star Wars experiences (and of course his name) where the enthusiasm spurted!

Interview with Dee Tails

My first question is about your name. Dee Tails. Can it get any cooler? Please tell me it's your real name! (is it?)

(Laughs) Yes, Dee Tails is my real name, I had thought about how to change it, but the casting stays, hah!

You have roles in both The Force Awakens (as Cratinus) and Rogue One (as an L-1 droid named K-OHN). How did you get cast for the first one: The Force Awakens?

One of the puppeteers, Brian Herring, had me come in to see Neal Scanlan just before their trip to Abu Dhabi. At the time it was just like that Hassk character, like the character Paul Warren plays as Varmik, who had more of a gang around him. I think at one point the two actors from the The Raid movies were going to play these parts, until things changed around that whole period where Mr. Ford was recuperating after his leg injury, and that idea was then knocked on the head and Paul and Nathan Plant were slotted back in to perform the Hassk Thugs. By this point I had nothing to do and I had not seen that I had been seen at all, as I was not holding my breath or a hope that I had a Star Wars movie. But then I got another call to say that Neal had said 'Let's see if we can find Dee something' And while they were away in Abu Dhabi the CFX team did find me something, a little smiling alien. At this time there was only Prashee's head and image, so Prashee needed a friend or a brother. Enter Tom Bell, who would go on to play Prashee. It was that moment when they came in with Prashee's head which I was getting ready to grab and put on where they then gave it to Tom, and told me 'Dee yours is coming' and when it arrived I could not believe how awesome it was and how they managed to capture hints or my laugh into his face. It was an awesome moment, we had literally brought the wardrobe department to a standstill as they watched us getting grips with our movements on our knees. We were coached by Aiden Cook and Paul Kasey who have gone on to perform multiple creatures themselves. It was such an amazing experience that I could never be seen for Star Wars because ... well it's Star Wars! To have one character which was then tasks away from me, causing me to think that was it, that was my one shot! And being overjoyed at that time getting this loveable character teamed up with his brother, who went on to impress JJ who then bought my Cratinus head! We had a picture tasks; Luke Fisher the designer of Cratinus, JJ holding the head and then performing with me. I have not seen it but I do not want to see it.

Just a couple of the performers from The Force Awakens returned for Rogue One. You were one of the lucky few! Could you tell how you managed to get cast again?

Rogue One only seemed like it had a few things back on it, but it was much like The Force Awakens, all hands were called in. There were many creatures and droids that were not used in the film because of that. But because of this style of filmmaking it meant that no matter which direction Gareth swung his camera in, it needed to be a creature or droid for the aesthetic of whichever world we were on. I do hope that we do not know what to do and why we did not get to see. I had happened to be quite early on and actually contracted to the project having had one or two meetings and rehearsals with Gareth Edwards, as my blue droid was going to be the K-2SO droid in the movie hence the name K-OHN aka K-1, KONE. But once the suit was made and we could see what its movements were like. It was soon decided that an ex-imperial droid should be closer and closer to the C-B3 Cortosis battle droids they had in the prequels, and started redeveloping the droids until they ended up with K-2SO. I love what they ended up with even though it was not me and I did not know what to do and how to create these movies together I was just being a part of that development. So my part had changed to the point where I did not know if my character L-1 was going to appear in the film but I was still required for a few days. My scenes are in Jedha and a letter on the first planet. We go to where Cassian walks down an alleyway where you can spot L-1 in Red. But in Jedha I'd be placed on a platform where I would have been in a droid like manner giving them plenty of options, should they be filming me because generally you never knew where the camera was. It was during one of the breaks where some kids were acting in the scene and I was talking to L-1 and I still had other performers to improvise with. That was to be the highlight of my filming improvising with the kids and it turned out that the shot used in the movie was tasks from that down time, when I saw it I was blown away because I did not have a shot or me but the shot was chosen from that particular moment on set. It was then followed up with the cast and crew credit which I never thought they'd give me due to the character change. It was all of these things that made seeing Rogue One so much more special and finding out that it was all down Neal Scanlan who could not say any more grateful.

Dee Tails in K-OHN outfit in conversation with Neal Scanlan (Creature Effects Superisor)

Ok, you've been in a Star Wars saga movie and a Star Wars spin-off. What were the biggest differences in the making of both movies?

I think the main difference between making the saga and the spin off were really about how to perfect the machine behind it all. You must remember that starting from a franchise like this takes a lot of planning and organizing between various departments etc. Just because George made three in the 70's / 80's did not necessarily mean that shooting was going to be an easy job. So starting from the ground up with The Force Awakens and then taking the slight adjustments that were needed on that film is how easy it is to get the whole process run more smoothly on Rogue One.

What is the time of the story? Star Wars movies?

(Laughs) Any funny stories from the set of The Force Awakens and Rogue One... let me think ... On The Force Awakens Prashee and Cratinus basically took over their photo session and that I'm not sure if they knew where they were or what those flashing lights were for. Ha, Tom and I kept up our performances everywhere we went into costume entertaining everyone. It was to help us find our range as we were not able to spend much time if any in front of a mirror. But what we found out later was that we were not just making people laugh, we were making everyone feel like they were in a Star Wars movie and an actual cantina, so the whole process turned out to be rewarding for everyone. I think we can see you playing around on our table with Derek Arnold (a creature performer) standing there laughing at us. Oh I'll say this, you remember that little droid in Maz's castle that BB-8, well there were four puppeteers working and it had to be did not get to see, but watching these guys make this droid walk then stop then push out it's hip like Elvis before delivering its dialogue was utterly incredible for me. I think I have another secret wish to be in a Muppet movie one day! Ha, on Rogue OneI think I 've given you my story about that improvising with the children ... Oh, hang on this made me laugh. Nathan Plant plays both silver and black Imperial bug Droids RA-7, he was wearing the silver suit at Jedha in the market. We were talking to one another before we got used to our bits but I did notice that he kept walking off or going in the wrong direction, and it was not until he took his head off that he said he could not see anything . It was like the lens in the head were just waiting for them to shout "Action" so that they could fog up. (Laughs) He did not know where he was going all he knew was that he just had to keep going. (Laughs) As droids we think like I have.

How was it with the great legendary and new actors like Harrison Ford, John Boyega, Felicity Jones etc.? Did you get to talk with them?

On The Force Awakens it was already way too surreal to be overwhelmed by the iconic and known cast. When I was placed in my scene I generally had to stay there for our shots, covering shots and background shots for the likes of Maz, etc. I do remember that at JJ. Ford where he then just got his Han Solo smile before I turned back around telling JJ in a somewhat broken language 'That's Solo!' Tom who played my brother Prashee had worked with Daisy before so I know he got a quick catch up with her. I was energized by R2-D2, R2-KT, Chewie and being given the Millennium Falcon!

Cratinus or K-One (K-OHN); who is your favorite character?

I love Cratinus and K-OHN it's hard to say which I love more, but if it was not for my performance as Cratinus I doubt if I would have seen the L-1 droid let alone Neal vouch for me. I have to say I love them both, these two Star Wars movies have been beyond my dreams and are truly grateful.

What did you think about the Star Wars franchise before you got cast? Were you a fan?

I've always been a huge fan of Star WarsI was a fan before I'd even seen it! Ha, I remember in the playground swapping stickers and cards, then arguing who was stronger: Chewbacca or Superman, because Chewbacca has to keep the walls apart so that the trash compactor will not squash them! (Laughs) Then after an episode of Sesame Street they showed the making of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. All I remember saying is "That's the guy that does Miss Piggy's voice, and that guy is Jim Henson, he's Kermit". After that and seeing people being around in costumes pretending the way we did in the playground was all I needed to know in deciding what it was I wanted to be when I grew up; an actor so all of this is incredibly surreal for me to be a part of.

How do you look back on the whole Star Wars experience?

It's too hard to say what my best experience has been working on these films, I had those moments on Rogue One with the kids, but I do not think anything is possible The Force Awakens entertaining the cast and crew. For me that's what Star Wars is all about, and to be in that environment knowing that there are a few, if not everyone, who get it, who still has those who are in the world. The team is incredible from the building and painting of the costumes, to those stitching them, designing them and the props and blasters to production and ... So many people who love Star Wars and who love what they do, are as good as the wearing of suits. Working in a family team such as this, a Star Wars team has to be the best experience of my career so far.

What a fantastic answer to end this interview with! I enjoyed your great stories!

I hope that answers some of your questions Dennis. Wishing you and the Star Wars fans all the best, May The Force Be With You!


More unique interviews can be found on: Star Wars Interviews - 'Mem-Wars' from a galaxy far, far away ...

Star Wars Interviews

Fan since 1983. George Lucas cultist and supporter of Legends (1976-2012). Founder of StarWarsInterviews.com for which he interviewed 175 + cast and crew members and author of the upcoming 'Star Wars Interviews' series of books. His interviews were also used for The Making of Return of the Jedi, Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor, The Star Wars Historical Sourcebook and Star Wars Icons: Han Solo. Born when the recordings of A New Hope started. Former assistant of Anthony Daniels. Father of 2 Padawans.

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Interviews

Exclusive interview with Kristine Kathryn Rusch

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It's already 22 years ago that The New Rebellion, One Star Wars book by the American writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch, appeared. During her long career she also wrote for franchises like Star Trek en Alien and she won a HUGO Award.

I recently talked to her about her contribution to the 'Expanded Universe' and she had a fascinating revelation about a canceled Star Wars project ...

Interview with Kristine Kathryn Rusch

When and where was your first encounter with Star Wars? And what did you think of it?

I saw Star Wars: A New Hope the night it premiered. I was in high school, and we went to the movies with no idea what we were going to see. I was hooked from that moment forward.

What was your inspiration while writing The New Rebellion, and what directions did you get from Lucasfilm? How did you come up with the story for The New Rebellion?

I was not that fond of the way that the previous books had gone. I hated what the male writers had done to Leia, and so I just went back to the first three films, which I really, really loved. I worked as well as I could within the framework of the previous novels, ignoring as much of them as possible, and restoring as much of what I loved about Star Wars as possible. Lucasfilm was very supportive. They gave me pages or detailed notes when I was done, but they were mostly terminology nits, not actual changes.

Which existing Star Wars character you enjoyed the most writing about?

Han Solo. He is, by far, my favorite.

Could you explain why?

Han? The ultimate bad boy with a heart of gold? The true hero of the piece? The one who actually rescues people? Has a sense of humor? Fights despite his cynicism, even though he has no dog in the hunt? That Han? Yep. That's why I like him.

Which Star Wars character is your favorite?

I never have a favorite among characters.

Although you did not write a Star Wars trivia book, The New Rebellion was unfortunately your only Star Wars novel. What was the reason for this?

The Science Fiction Writers of America -which I did not belong to war with Lucasfilm about royalties. I strongly disagreed with SFWA and told them so. I was working hand-in-glove with Lucasfilm on a bible for the books ... when SFWA sent Lucasfilm a cease-and-desist letter about their royalties and- without my permission -signed my name to it. They signed a number of Star Wars writers' names to the petition, without permission. Lucasfilm did not believe me when I told them I was not involved (I do not blame them). I really should have sued SFWA. They cost me about $ 100,000 with that action. And they cost me the chance to work in a series I loved.

You just are working on. What kind of book was that? Something like 2012's Essential Readers Companion; a book with descriptions of every Star Wars story?

In TV, in particular, and in film sometimes, the people who produce the show develop a "bible" which allows anyone to know what to do next. Kevin J. Anderson and I were doing a great job together in the next few years. It is more complicated than what you have described, and we would have done a great deal of work. We just had the preliminary meetings when SFWA nuked everything.

In 2014, Disney declared the Expanded Universe was no longer a canon. It became 'Legends'. What do you think of this, seeing all of your work suddenly become non-canon?

It does not bother me at all. I did work-for-hire, so that is what they want with it. I knew that when I signed on.

You have written books for other Sci-Fi franchises like Alien, Quantum Leap and Star Trek. In which ways was writing for these franchises different? And what is it -according to you- that makes Star Wars so unique?

The smaller franchises (Alien, Quantum Leap) really did not get involved in the books. We could have anything, and no one would have cared. Star Trek and Paramount are very involved, and the same with Lucasfilm back in the day. I prefer that. I liked being part of the organization.

Final question: How do you look back at your Star Wars work?

I think I was lucky to have the chance to play in that universe. My 16-year-old self would be very proud.


More unique interviews can be found on: Star Wars Interviews - 'Mem-Wars' from a galaxy far, far away ...

Star Wars Interviews

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Exclusive interview with Rusty Goffe (Kabe, GONK droid, Jawa)

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The British actor Rusty Goffe played three roles in the very first Star Wars film from 1977. He was on Tatooine to see as Jawa, GONK and the juri-juice addicted Chadra-Fan named Kabe!

Rusty recently attended a special event in the Netherlands Harry Potter-day (another franchise in which he was shown) in the Lemistore in Almere. Dennis spoke to him afterwards Star Wars experiences!

Interview with Rusty Goffe

How did you get cast for the first Star Wars movie?

Way back in the 70s there were not many dwarf actors. You had Kenny Baker who played R2-D2 and his partner Jack Purvis who was the chief Jawa and there was me! They tried me out for R2-D2 in case Kenny could not cope inside the droid. Luckily he was alright so they cast me as a Jawa and it followed on from there.

One day I went into the studio and the special effects guy said "bend over and touch your toes", which I did and they put some suit over me. They called George Lucas and said "George, how is this for a character?" George said "I love it, and we'll call that a GONK". So, that's how the GONK droid happened.

The third character I played was Kabe in the Mos Eisley cantina. She was originally played by an elderly lady called Gilda. The costume was absolutely horrendous like every other costume and she was collapsed and fainted. She could not continue George Lucas said "Rusty, get in the dress". That was it! I played three characters!

You mentioned the GONK. The most famous scene of him is in the sandcrawler making the legendary GONK noise. That's you!

Yeah, that's me! And then you'll see a Jawa, that's Jack Purvis. Right after that you see the GONK again with a Jawa, but this time Jack is the GONK and I am the Jawa, we switched roles and it was hysterical.

Were you in Tunisia to film Jawa scenes?

No, I was only filming at the Elstree Studios.

So, all your Jawa scenes are the interior shots.

Yes, and also in the cantina when Luke comes down the stairs with Obi-Wan you see a Jawa rushing around them that's me as well!

What was the funniest thing that happened on the set?

That was when Sir Alec Guinness was coming with Luke in the cantina. George Lucas instructed me to rush towards them. Before it was 'action' the first assistant director said "pass Sir Alec on the right". That was the last direction I got, but no one told Sir Alec that, so I nearly knocked him over. I thought I was going left but I went right. I said "sorry" and then George Lucas said "what the hell you are doing, you should have left" but luckily the assistant director said he told me. So, I was exonerated. So in short: the funniest thing I had been killed the star of the show. (laughs)

(Laughs)

Without a lightsaber.

What you can do on your own Star Wars?

No one knew what we were doing. It was fantastic to film and I would do it all over again if I could go back. George Lucas and Gary Kurtz were like two young college guys making a movie with all these lovely actors. We did not know how big it was going to be. It goes from a cheap budget movie to 48 billion dollars later!

When did you see Star Wars for the first time?

That was two months after it opened. I sat in the cinema and loved it when those spaceships came from behind us. I was "wow, this is it". The clever bit was, which I did not realize then, the way John Williams wrote the Star Wars theme. The first note of the Star Wars theme is the same as 20th Century Fox theme. (Starts humming the Fox theme) So, the brain did not have to think. It flows if you know what I mean.

Now that's some cool trivia.

Everyone at the cinema was happy. It had spaceships, swashbuckling pirates, swordfights. It's what the world needed. Well done George Lucas.

You did not return The Empire Strikes Back. How come?

Because I was doing other movies at the time like History of the World Part I with Mel Brooks, a movie I wanted to do. It was fantastic with those guys. I can proudly say I was in the first Star Wars, the baby of the franchise.

One of your characters, Kabe, got her name and backstory in the late 80s and mid 90s. Have you ever read this short story in the anthology book Tales of the Moss Eisley cantina?

No, I have not. I was not aware of that.

Well, I can not really recommend it as a great story.

I will definitely look for that! As I said that costume was so hot. You could not breathe in it and it was so claustrophobic. It was not something for every person. Still, it was an unbelievable time.

You were in your twenties back then right?

I was very young, yes. I'm still young now. (laughs)

(Laughs). That's a great way to end this interview. Thanks!

Thanks to Casper and Lemistore for making this interview possible!


More unique interviews can be found on: Star Wars Interviews - 'Mem-Wars' from a galaxy far, far away ...

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Exclusive interview with Daniel Keys Moran

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In the mid-nineties 90 it was the American author Daniel Keys Moran who gave Boba Fett 'new life'. For the short stories bundles Tales from the Bounty Hunters en Tales from Jabba's Palace he wrote how Fett escaped from the Sarlacc and continued his career as a bounty hunter, while also giving a story to Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina has worn.

Since it is buzzing with rumors about a Boba Fett movie, it was high time to interview him for this site!

Interview with Daniel Keys Moran

I'd like to start at the very beginning: what did you get into writing and how did your career take off?

I can not remember ever wanting to be a writer. Wrote my first novel at 8 "Third Degree Magic," the main two characters were me and my friend Steve. The bad guy was named "Diablo."

Sent my first story to 13, "A Day in the Life of a Telephone Pole." Wrote my first real novel at 15, an alien invasion western novel. Finally sold a story to Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, at 18. Few years after that sold my first novel to Amy Stout at Bantam Doubleday, we are now married and have five children together.

When and where was your first encounter with Star Wars? And what did you think of it?

My high school debate team won a pretty big debate and as a reward we were offered the obscure movie called Star Wars at the Chinese Theater on opening day. I do not think we were at the first showing I was back at the school pretty late in the day but maybe the second or third showing. Pretty good chance David Gerrold (the writer of "Star Trek: The Trouble with Tribbles," Chtorr, "The Man Who Folded Himself") who later got to be a great friend, was in the theater with me when we watched it. He was also there for an early showing, that first day.

I was blown away. It was the first SF movie that managed the sorts of things I saw in my head when I read Edgar Rice Burroughs.

You wrote two short stories about Fett (called A Barve Like That and The Last One Standing), creating a lot of background for the character, who was especially back then a huge fan favorite. How did you approach this massive task?

It was not a massive task. It was a short story and a novelty, and while I put a lot of skull sweat into them, most of what I've ever written is a heavy lift. They were fun to write with Lucasfilm. I put a pseudonym on "A Barve Like That" because I was cranky with Lucasfilm; they were mad about that. So it was a surprise to me when they had me write "The Last One Standing" I was pretty blunt by that point. Star Wars. Wrote them an outline, told them they could not have it but I was writing what was in the outline, and they said yes. So that was a surprise. Then they tried to excise what was probably my favorite scene in that story; Kevin J. Anderson stopped them, and I'm grateful for that. It was published as written, minus a few word changes here or there.

It's one of my favorite stories. It came from Harrison Ford's desire to see Han Solo coming in Return of the Jedi "He's got no Mama, he's got no Papa, he's got no story." So I took that and ran with it. I did the first "Old Han" story as well as the first real Boba Fett story, taking them into the future and dealing with the loss of their youth.

You also wrote the tale of Kardue'sai'Malloc, the devaronian seen in the Cantina. What was your inspiration to write his story?

That was a pure "I want to write Star Wars"Thing. Kathy Tyers had written an excellent story about the Modal Nodes, the band that plays during the Cantina scene I wrote a story about that hers, about Kardue / Labria, who always had a great time in the bar that day . Turned him into a music collector who was moderated by the Modal Nodes, and had a fun story about how to play them at the bar that day.

One of your Boba Fett stories and the Devaronian's tale were heavily edited. In fact, the Fett story was published under your pseudonym JD Montgomery. What was exactly edited, and what was the reason?

Devaronian's Tale was not edited that much. Mostly they would not let me swear, or mention whores. I was not thrilled with the changes, but they were minor.

I did not know what happened with "A Barve Like That." I agreed to do it, then they told me I could not write my outline where Fett spent years down in the Sarlacc; he could only be there for a day or two. So I wrote that story. Then they told me that the Sarlacc could not be intelligent, which was the actual center of the weakened story, so I took all the Sarlacc's contribution to the story and gave it to one of Fett's fellow prisoners "Susejo," or O Jesus backwards. I've had people write me telling me they loved that story, and OK, but man, it was only a shadow of what it should have. In its final form Fett falls into the Sarlacc, argues with a fellow prisoner, and climbs back out again. Eh.

How did you respond to the news your stories were published and published on a pseudonym?

I behaved with forthright and reasonable bluntness. Later on I with one of the ladies who worked at Lucasfilm, and upon hearing my name, she took two steps backwards. So maybe my perception is not the whole of the story.

I always thought that back in the 90's Lucasfilm did not work for authors to write about the pre-A New Hope era because they were making the prequel trilogy. However, they let you write about Boba Fett in his younger days. Do you know why they approved that?

No idea.

A couple of years after your Fett stories the movie Attack of the Clones showed the origins of Fett, contradicting your stories. How did you feel about this and which version do you prefer?

I prefer mine, or course. But it did not particularly annoy me. I do not care much about canon, and my stories are still out there for anyone who wants to read them. And frankly, even within the universe of commercial fiction, Lucas was utterly contemptuous or his own early writing, when it came time to make the prequels. The idea that I should get annoyed about him ignoring mine? No.

In your stories Fett's real name was Jaster Mereel, something that was later retconned and Jaster became another Mandalorian. Did you know about these retorts and do you like them?

I have not succeeded with anything except the televised & movie material. Shout out to Star Wars Rebels, there was a fine piece of work. Watched it with my youngest boy, start to finish.

There are rumors about a Fett spinoff. Any advice for Lucasfilm? You're the expert!

I've had a guy at Disney email me a couple times over the years regarding Lucasfilm adapting "Last One Standing" into a Fett movie. I do not know that they were thinking about it. So that was child. But after Solo stiffed, apparently there is some question about the Fett movie being made.

As to advice for Disney? I thought The Last Jedi was brilliant, the first Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back I thought it was a complete success on its own terms. Then I thought Solo was perfectly adequate and inoffensive, and as much as I love Star Wars, that's a little sad. So for advice? Get the creative team behind The Last Jedi on your Fett movie, rather than the team behind Solo.


More unique interviews can be found on: Star Wars Interviews - 'Mem-Wars' from a galaxy far, far away ...

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Exclusive interview with Rick Stanley (Cutthroat hunter)

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In the autumn of 2017 I got a message from England: Rick Stanley, an American Star Wars friend of mine who lives there, reported that he had succeeded: he was cast for the role of Cutthroat Hunter in Solo: A Star Wars Story. I know Rick for years, he has me as the founder of Sci-Fi Signers often helped and even before I could ask, he said he would like to tell his story.

He is in the interview below Star Wars story: from getting married with a British actress from The Empire Strikes Back to a site for Star Wars setting up actors to be cast themselves for Solo!

Interview with Rick Stanley

I've been with you so many years ago and we have helped me with a lot of interviews. You're in a Star Wars movie! How does that feel?

It's a real pleasure Dennis knowing you all this time and it's an honor helping you out! You have done an excellent job with Star Wars Interviews about the years with many fascinating interviews you have conducted! It is strange because I never thought I would work on a Star Wars film and have the great honor of being interviewed by you! To say I was over the moon and when I found that I was booked for one is a solid understatement! It is unbelievable how hard it is to get on anything with the Star Wars name and I consider myself very, very fortunate!

When and where did you see a Star Wars do you become a fan right at that moment?

Well that's kind of a long story. I was almost 20 years old when A New Hope did not see it until it was broadcast on HBO. In 1977 being the age that I was all I could think about were all the B science fiction films that were in abundance as I was growing up! I know it sounds sacrileges to say but I just thought the nameStar Wars'when I first heard of it sounded cheesy! All I could think of was pie plates on fishing lines. All of the hype and hope did not influence me and there was plenty of it at that time! I'm from Orlando, Florida and what turned me around was in 1980 I was going to work in West Palm Beach for a company that was vice president of mine. I only worked the week and I would like to offer myself back home or reimburse me for my petrol if I wanted to drive. Well one weekend I did not want to spend it back home so I just hung out and saw that The Empire Strikes Back was playing at the theaters. I have seen it all over the world and have been completely happy with it ever since! I still regret not seeing this day A New Hope when it was fresh in the theaters!

Your wife (Stephanie English) was in The Empire Strikes Back 38 years ago. What took you so long to get cast for a Star Wars movie? Seriously: how did you manage it?

Yes, it's hard to believe that I saw my future wife Stephanie English in that movie theater so many years ago in West Palm Beach! She portrayed a Hoth Rebel Technician at Echo Base. She has been working in the film business for 42 years. We just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary actually on the other Star Wars day May 25th. We did not plan to have it on that day which was amazing it happened that way! Stephanie got me into film work shortly after we got married and I moved to London. The way it happened is Stephanie got an email from one of her agencies that she is asking if she knew anybody who had an American vehicle. She responded saying her husband 'me' had a pickup truck. I brought my Ford Ranger pickup truck with me when I moved to London. I ended it in the Ridley Scott movie The Counselor and that was my first movie work gig. Since then I have been working on quite a few productions, mainly background but some of the stuff I'm really proud of is a National Geographic movie documentary called The Jesus Mysteries where I played a part as the apostle James the Elder alongside Nick Simmons who portrayed Jesus. Nick is the son of the founder and bass guitarist of the rock group KISS Gene Simmons. With getting on a Star Wars I think it's even harder because of the popularity of it Star Wars and the same with films like the Harry Potter prequels. It's mainly about your looks and what they are looking for. I was put up for Rogue One which I would have loved to have got on but to no avail! Now with Solo I was put up for 4 times and the fourth time was the charm! I was very happy when I heard that I was going to be included in that "hive of scum and villainy"!

You run a great website called Sci-Fi Signers United where convention organizers can book actors from Star Wars and many other franchises. For the people who do not know this site: what was the reason you started it?

Thank you for those child words! Well actually a mutual acquaintance of mine and my wife started what was called the Sci-Fi Convention Signs Co-Operative and I managed to do it with him until he decided to disband it. After that I started the Sci-Fi Signers United from scratch and kept the same spirit there! It's a site where organizers can contact the actors and film professionals directly for shows and autographs without having to go through an agent. I do not make any money from it. I offer it as a free service for the signers to help them out. A lot of them are mutual friends that Stephanie has worked with over the years and I have worked with other productions.

Since you're Star Wars character now I was wondering if you're about to enter the signing / convention circuit yourself now?

No, it would not be my cup of tea to do it. I really enjoyed going home with Stephanie when she was signing at shows but she is retired from me. I will consign it to good memories of fun times! We both want to concentrate on the film and I'm content just keeping the Sci-Fi Signers United running!

Back to Solo: please tell everything about the character you played in which scenes you were in.

To start off when I went for my fitting I was playing a reprobate a 'cutthroat hunter'. I said well that sounds pretty cool! I was wearing a dark beret, a blueish gray long sleeved shirt, a dark suede coat that came down underneath my knees and it was left open with a wide belt wrapped around it with a large rectangle silver belt buckle and I had a leather ammo pouch attached to the belt. My trousers were baggy and black almost like cossack trousers. I also wore tall brown boots with greyish colored boot guards wrapped around them. To top it off I had an orange neck scarf that the wardrobe lady would make a point tying it in a French knot. She called me little Frenchman every time I would go to change in to costume! From the day I got to my last day on it I got French resistance comments and I was happy to have fun! I have a lot of Che Guevera comments because I guess I kind of looked like him with the beard and beret. I had a prosthetic scar on the left side of my face. It was a really cool getup! I was there for the Sabacc table scenes, the droid arena scenes and several bar area scenes! I would say that 80% of my time on set. Some films you can spend in the green room or in the area before you are in the world. I felt lucky when I was able to get outside of a cigarette break I was on it and 12 / 13 hour days each day. I was exhausted but man it was worth it! Also one of the days I was there and I did an 3-D scan on me in costume and also I did an action photo shoot doing various poses.

You are on the subject of Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover. How were all those stars on the set and behind the scenes?

All of them were absolutely awesome and what an honor it was for me with many people who were there with me too! Man I'm still pinching myself to make sure it was not all a dream! They all have brilliantly and it was a part of it all!

Could you share some good anecdotes regarding your time working on Solo? The more the better of course!

Well, let's see ... there was one time when we were waiting for it to be ready for the rest of my life. I was sitting backwards to the table with both my elbows propped on the table with my legs stretched out and crossed in front of me. The only thing that was in the room was Therm Scissorpunch and his alien buddies! Another time I was waiting for a shot and I was sitting on the stairs facing Joonas Suotamo directly in front of me and had his Chewbacca mask in her hands but she was holding it behind her talking to somebody in front of her. She backed up a little too close to me and it started brushing me in the face so I had to move and find a different spot! My wife Stephanie dropped me off at Pinewood Studios every morning in the morning and picked me up when we wrapped up in the car. The second day I was really tired because I had not had much sleep before and before the night. I just want to get home, take a shower, get something to eat, go to bed and start it all over the next day! I completely remove my scar after I derigged. When I was sitting on the bench also. After a while I asked me if I was a stunt man. I said no why? Then she said how did you get that scar? At that moment I realized that I forgot to have it removed. I told her I was working on a film and it was not real. She then asked me what movie I was working on and I told her I could not say! I thought that was pretty funny!

You joined Solo after Phil Lord and Chris Miller were replaced by Ron Howard, a real veteran director. How was he to work with and how does he distinguish himself from other directors?

Wow !!! What an honor it was to be directed by the legend who is Ron Howard! I would call him a director's director! It was a pleasure to see him and his magic! He is a very hands-on director and knows exactly what he wants! He is also the first Oscar winning director to direct a Star Wars movie! I grew up watching him on the Andy Griffith show and when I was a teenager watching him on Happy Days and the George Lucas masterpiece film which is American Graffiti!

What are the chances we will see a Rick Stanley action figure in the future?

Hahaha !!! Well they do have the scans and photos so they have the tools to make it possible! A person can only hope !!!


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