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Exclusief interview met Derek Arnold (Vober Dand)

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Derek Arnold

In The Force Awakens werden diverse nieuwe wezens en leden van de Resistance en de Republic geïntroduceerd. Creature performer Derek Arnold nam er van alle drie een voor zijn rekening! Mede dankzij zijn ervaring in de productie War Horse was hij een van de twee personen die de Luggabeast tot ‘leven’ brachten en speelde hij verder Vober Dand en chancellor Villecham.

Eind april had ik het genoegen om deze veelzijdige acteur te mogen interviewen voor StarWarsAwakens.nl.

Interview met Derek Arnold

Hi Mr. Arnold, let’s start at the beginning: how did you start your career the movie business?

I started acting as a teenager in Canada and then went on to drama school in Toronto. I moved to England in 2008 to continue my career in theatre and after a few years acting on stage I was given the opportunity to work in film and Star Wars was the first film I was cast in.

In The Force Awakens you played two parts: Vober Dand and Chancellor Villecham. Besides this you also puppeteered the Luggabeast. How did you get cast for The Force Awakens and how did you get these specific roles?

In 2012 I was part of the team that puppeteered Lord Voldemort in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, where I met Brian Herring who was the puppet co-ordinator for The Force Awakens and puppeteer for BB8. At that time I was in rehearsals for the West End play War Horse and the week after the Olympics opened I began my contract as a puppeteer for Joey the horse.

The Luggabeast puppet was designed very much like the horse puppets in War Horse and they knew they needed two guys to be inside it. Brian remembered that I was in War Horse so he called me and asked if I wanted to help out on a little project he was working on. He couldn’t tell me what it was, only that I needed to meet him at Pinewood Studios to find out. As Brian walked me into the offices I looked around and all I could see was Star Wars posters and memorabilia. That’s when I found out the “little project” was Star Wars! So it was Brian who opened the door for me to be a part of such an iconic franchise. Obviously I jumped at the chance and signed all the non-disclosure agreements and then met Neal Scanlan (head of the creature department) and Paul Kasey (movement co-ordinator). I mentioned to Brian and Paul that I had done some physical ‘skins’ work in the past (animal and creature costumes) and they took that on board and went on to cast me in the other roles.

Your character Chancellor Villecham is seen in one scene, the one where his planet gets blown up. Were there more scenes filmed with this character?

No, this was Chancellor Villecham’s only scene. That being said, he did get his moment and I think all the people that worked so hard to create and build him were happy with the result.

In the Resistance base scenes you played Vober Dand. I think he has the looks of a real classic Star Wars alien. An amazing design! What do you think about him?

I really like Vober Dand, he’s such a fun character. Jake Lunt-Davies showed me his designs for Dand early on and it was great to go into the workshop every couple of weeks and see the progress of this character being built.

I agree he definitely looks like a classic Star Wars alien – he was very popular on set for this reason. He could easily have been running around the Echobase on Hoth!

Derek Arnold

Lanever Villecham (links) en Vober Dand (rechts)

What can you tell about the Villecham and Vober Dand costumes? Were the heads filled with electronics to operate the eyes, mouth and facial expressions for example?

The fun thing about Dand and Villecham is that their faces rest on top of my head, so I’m looking at my feet the whole time through the creature’s neck and it creates that hunched over look they have. The expressions their faces can create are amazing, Ady Parish spent days working on the mechanics of Dand and Villecham. The amount of detail he put into their heads is crazy. Their lips can curl and snarl, their noses can move around to sniff, I was so pleased when Dand got a line in the movie so that all that hard work paid off.

It’s one thing to be inside wearing the costume and animatronic head but the real magic comes into play when one of the puppeteers pick up the remote controls and manipulates the face. That’s when it really comes alive. The two of you (creature performer and puppeteer) have to really work together to create the character. Without that puppeteer the character wouldn’t be complete. Neal Scanlan had some of the best people in the business working on the film – the women and men who stood behind camera puppeteering each animatronic head made something technically difficult look effortless.

That’s the fun part for me, working with everyone in the CFX team and throwing ideas back and forth, creating something really special and something you hope the audience will remember and enjoy.

I was surprised when I heard you puppeteered the Luggabeast along with another performer; I thought it was some kind of animatronic. It’s a large creature and it has actor Kiran Shah (as Teedo) sitting on top. Could you explain what the technique behind the Luggabeast was and how itw as operated?

The Luggabeast took about seven months of development. It was another one of Jake Lunt-Davies ambitious designs that turned out great. Steve Wright and Jimmy Sands were always there while we were rehearsing and they spent countless hours making adjustments and fixing the Luggabeast so it was as comfortable as possible for us.

The basic design is two people inside standing up strapped into harnesses, like wearing a rucksack. I was operating the back legs, so each back leg had a rod attached to its foot and I was able to manipulate the legs with these rods. Tom Wilton operated the front legs and took a lot of the weight of the Luggabeast as most of it was in the front.  In post-production they erased our legs and rods so you couldn’t see us. We both worked together in War Horse so this wasn’t totally out of our comfort zone and we both understood the ideas and principles of making a four legged creature move. We had to work with Kiran Shah as well, as he was on top playing Teedo and the movements he made affected us and vice versa. We also had our movement co-ordinator, Paul Kasey communicating to us through ear pieces so we could change or adapt the movement during the scene if we needed to.

The hard part was that by the end, once the Luggabeast was totally fabricated and dressed and Kiran was on top, it weighed around 20 stone (127Kg or 280 pounds) AND we were in the middle of a desert in Abu Dhabi in 40-degree Celsius weather. But again we had our amazing CFX team looking after us – they would run in after each take and lift the Luggabeast as much as they could to take some of the pressure off of us and bring us water and a fan to cool us down.

Derek Arnold

Rey (Daisy Ridley) helpt BB-8 uit het net van Teedo (Kiran Shah) die op zijn Luggabeast (Derek Arnold en Tom Wilton) Jakku afstruint.

A lot must have happened on and off the set. Could you share some good stories?

Some of the best memories are of Abu Dhabi. They were long days in very hot weather but we all looked after and supported each other.

The three day Luggabeast shoot was a fun one and as punishing as it was, after each take when we had our CFX team around us helping to hold the Luggabeast up, we would all sing a song as loud as we could so Tom and I could try and take our minds off the pain. Surprisingly after three days of singing the same song it didn’t get old, it just made us laugh a lot and really helped to keep our spirits up.
Another great memory is of a very quick moment in the movie. BB-8 is in the desert by himself and as he rolls by, an alien with large red eyes pokes his head out of the sand and looks at him as he passes. It’s a very quick shot early on in the movie and one that almost didn’t happen.

The sun was setting and we were losing light, so we had about forty-five minutes to get the shot. We started to dig a hole in the sand to put the creature in, because it was on a lever system, sort of like a seesaw. I would push down on the lever and the head would rise out of the sand and then I could turn the head to follow BB8. Digging a hole in the desert is incredibly hard as the sand just starts to fall in on itself so we had a half dozen guys trying to do it. Time was running out, so Neal Scanlan jumped into the hole and started throwing out as much sand as he could. We eventually managed to make a pretty big hole, position the creature in it and then put the sand back in on top of it. Before filming we had a test run. I tried to push down on the lever but the sand weighed so much that it snapped and the head of the creature wouldn’t lift. At this point we only had twenty minutes of sun left, so again Neal came to the rescue! He laid down face first in the sand with his arm on the rod so that as I pushed he would lift the head of the creature the rest of the way so that I could then turn it to follow BB8. We only got about three or four takes in the end, so I was very happy to see that it made it into the movie.

In the 80’s puppeteering was at its peak. Star Wars, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth are good examples. In the 90’s CGI took over and it seemed old fashioned puppeteering was gone forever. Nowadays puppeteering is coming back; The Force Awakens is a good example. What is your view on this?

I love talking to the guys on set who worked on the original Star Wars, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Legend, etc. They have so many great stories about those times. Those were all movies of my childhood and it’s very surreal to be friends with the people that brought those characters to life.

I think the two departments have found a beautiful marriage. It’s so awesome to see practical creatures and affects be so prominent in the film but there was a need for CGI to help us. As I mentioned, for the Luggabeast our legs and the rods attached to the beast were painted out. They also needed to remove Brian Herring from all the shots with BB-8 as he was puppeteering it and Unkar Plutt had some CGI help with his face, etc.

It’s great to be on set and see the two departments working hand in hand and I think that’s a great place to be moving forward from, not only within the Star Wars films but also in the industry as a whole.

Were you a Star Wars fan before you got cast? And in case you were: was being in a Star Wars movie some kind of ‘dream coming true’?

Oh I was totally a Star Wars fan and this was definitely a dream come true. That being said, until I got onto set and started speaking with some of the other guys I didn’t realise how limited my knowledge was! We have some true fans on set, so I’ve been working hard to catch up!

Rogue One is coming up this year and Episode VIII is currently filming. Will we see you in one of these movies as a new character and will Vober Dand return?

I’m really looking forward to the upcoming films. I saw the trailer for Rogue One and think it looks amazing!! Fingers crossed we see some familiar faces in VIII.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed as well! Thank you for the interview!

SWIsmallbannerStar Wars Interviews – ‘Mem-Wars’ from a galaxy far, far away…

 

Geboren toen de opnames van A New Hope van start gingen. Voormalig assistent van Anthony Daniels. Auteur van de 'Star Wars Interviews' boekenreeks waarvoor hij 180+ cast en crewleden interviewde. Trots op zijn vermeldingen in de credits van de boeken The Making of Return of the Jedi, Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor, The Star Wars Historical Sourcebook, The Star Wars Archives en Star Wars Icons: Han Solo.

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Interviews

Exclusief interview met Nick Stanner (Stunt performer – The Mandalorian)

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Wat zou Star Wars zijn zonder goede stuntlui? Iemand moet de stormtrooper zijn die door een vlammenwerper in rook opgaat of van een rots af valt!

In The Mandalorian ging stuntman Nick Stanner meer dan 30 keer ‘dood’ en was hij als diverse personages te zien. Van Mandalorian tot stormtrooper! Onlangs interviewde ik hem voor StarWarsInterviews.com en zoals altijd is het ook hier te lezen!


How did your journey in movies start? How and why did you become a stuntman?

Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska I was not around film at all. I grew up competing in Gymnastics for my parents’ club all the way through college. I was always flipping off something and in eighth grade I remember watching a movie, not sure which one, but I mentioned I wanted to “do that” as I pointed at the screen. My mom asked if I wanted to be an actor, and I said, “No, I wanna do the cool stuff!” Mom said Oh a stuntman?! I said yeah, and went back to being an eighth grader. Fast forward to after college, I was looking for a new apartment in Lincoln Nebraska where I went to collegians was telling my mom and she said, “I thought you said you wanted to go be a stuntman! When are you going to do that?” The second I heard my mom say that and I knew she supported me no matter where I was, I decided to leave. I headed to Florida to get involved with the live stunt shows at the theme parks like Indiana Jones at Disney, Sindbad at Universal and many others in the Orlando area. Once I got into some of those shows I started to meet people in the film industry.

How did you manage to get hired for The Mandalorian TV series?

One of my best friends that I met at the very first show I did when I moved to Florida was Ryan Watson, the Stunt and Fight Coordinator for The Mandalorian now. We have known each other since 1999. He is one of the best in the industry for fights and creative camera work.

Which characters did you play as a stuntman? The Mandalorian himself?

I played a mandalorian, but not THE Mandalorian. The Mandalorian stunt double is Lateef Crowder. He is amazing with movement. I played numerous characters. I died 32 times in the first eighth episodes, many as a stormtrooper. I did all the high falls so any time someone falls from a roof, that’s me. You can count at least four in the final battle in episode 1. 3 falls in one circle of the gun and one when IG-11 shoots me before they walk in the door. That’s a couple examples, but I am all over the place. I also was the green face guy with Carl Weathers and speeder bike trooper.

You just mentioned that you ‘died’ 32 times. What was your favorite death scene?

Each death was unique. My favorite is high falls, which is why I get to do them all, but being torched by mandos flame thrower as a stormtrooper.

Which of these characters was your favorite?

They are all fun to play, but there is nothing like being a jet pack mandalorian flying on wires. Kids dream come true!

Did you meet the Mandalorian himself, Pedro Pascal? How was he to work with?

I met everyone and worked with the whole cast! It’s an amazing crew with no lack of talent and everyone is very down to earth. Being there every day, I had a chance to get to know everyone pretty well. Pedro is a jokester so we got along great. I’m a big comedy fan so I enjoyed Bill Burr.

Did any weird or funny things happen on or off the set?

There were a few funny moments on set. Lots of laughs all around really but when it was time to work playtime was over. Off the set there was plenty of laughs and good times. When you’re working 10-14-hour days it takes the whole crew to keep everyone in good moods and in the film biz there is no shortage of laughs.

What is your favorite anecdote regarding the production of The Mandalorian?

My fave laughs, not sure of anecdote, was when Bill burr would mess with the crew. He has such quick wit and had the entire crew laughing!

Were you a Star Wars fan before you got cast?

I was a so-so Star Wars fan. I liked the movies, mainly the first 3, and saw them pretty young. Being involved has brought me a little deeper into the world but I would not consider myself a diehard fan.

The question I have to ask every stuntman: what is the most dangerous stunt you’ve ever done?

Most dangerous stunt would be getting hit by car in Death Sentence with Kevin Bacon, or a 9-story high fall while being lit on fire, but it could be being hung underneath a helicopter by 75 feet of cable and flown over Los Angeles! Hard to pick just one, they are all super fun to me!


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Interviews

Exclusief interview met Jake Cannavale (Toro Calican)

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In aflevering 5 van The Mandalorian maakten we kennis met de jonge premiejager Toro Calican, gespeeld door Jake Cannavale. Speciaal voor zustersite StarWarsInterviews.com beantwoordde hij kort enkele vragen!


How did you get cast for The Mandalorian and were you a Star Wars fan?

They asked my agent if I would like to be in it. And I’m a massive fan and always will be.

How did the shooting of your scenes (most of them with Pedro Pascal) go?

They went very well. There was not a single difficult person to work with on that entire set. In my so far very short career that’s already not something I take lightly. Pedro Pascal was awesome! Mad love to Pedro.

You were directed by Dave Filoni, who many fans see as George Lucas’ heir. What is your opinion of him?

Other than the fact that he genuinely loves The Phantom Menace I have literally nothing bad to say about Dave. He’s the man. I loved working with him as an actor, and I have nothing but faith in him as a fan.

Did any weird or funny things happen on or off the set?

During me and Ming’s fight scene, Dave told her stunt double -whose name is also Ming- to actually kinda beat me up…it looked fantastic.

What is the best memory you have regarding The Mandalorian?

Probably knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that I can pull off a blue leather outfit.

Besides acting you’re also a musician in a band called Vixen Maw. How would you describe the music you make and who are your musical influences?

Vixen Maw is an experimental grindcore band. I would describe us as the musical equivalent of getting lobotomized by an unlicensed brain surgeon with Parkinson’s disease and medical fetishism. I don’t like to speak on behalf of my band members (or anyone, as a general rule) but I can say we are all pretty eclectic in terms of our musical tastes, with extreme music being the anchor, or epicenter, so to speak. So our influences are pretty all over the place. I will say that we are currently writing a new album from our own respective quarantine spots and some of the bands I’ve been listening to for inspiration include Chepang, Bandit, Narayama, Vulva Essers, Cloud Rat, Botch, Wormrot, Coke Bust, Gulch, and Bryan Adams.

You’re almost 25 years old. Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what are your career goals?

In ten years I see myself hopefully having had enough memorable screen time to be sampled in some kids shitty grindcore band that his parents are sick of hearing rehearse from their garage. Also I would genuinely love to be writing for a living. Theater, film and animated television.


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Interviews

Exclusief interview met Richard Stride (Poggle)

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Door de jaren heen is er de meest grappige en bizarre Star Wars trivia in boeken en op internet verschenen, maar wat de geur(!) van de Death Star plannen was -tot vandaag!- goed bewaard gebleven!

In een interview met zustersite StarWarsInterviews.com deelt Richard Stride (die aan Attack of the Clones en Revenge of the Sith meewerkte) een leuke anecdote.


How did you get started in the movie business and how did you get the parts of Poggle and a Clone Trooper in Star Wars?

I went to drama school at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts and in 1993 I graduated and went straight into a Hollywood movie called First Knight. I actually was originally cast as Obi-Wan’s double for the films Episode II and III. However, I gained many extra characters along the way.

How did you play Poggle?

I was in motion capture suit and had a great scene with the late Christopher Lee. When filming the scene with Christopher Lee, with the Death Star plans, I made a remark to the props guy that how clever even the smallest props where in design and craftsmanship in even the Death Star Plans. He started to laugh which was strange and when I asked him what was so funny he told me they had forgot to make them and he had to dash out the day before and went to Halfords and it actually was a car air freshener. So I told Christopher Lee when handing over the Death Star plans it was something to freshen the whole Galaxy with.

Can you share some of your memories regarding the time you worked on both movies?

I loved it. I spent all my time on set and didn’t really go to the green room as it was so much more interesting to watch other peoples scenes etc. It was lovely to be part of a big family on set and chat to so many interesting people.

How did George Lucas direct you?

He is a very visual director and has a very clear idea of what he is after. You have to put your trust fully in a director as they can see everything, and that’s what I did.

Did they give you any memorabilia after the movie was finished?

I was given a T-shirt and a signed call sheet on the last day of filming and a personal thankyou of George Lucas.

When was your first encounter with the Star Wars phenomena?

I saw it as a child on TV and loved it. I watch it over and over again.

What are your thoughts on the two Star Wars movies you were in? 

I liked them and they are great movies to keep returning to as you learn something new each time.

What do you regard as the highlight of your career so far?

I loved doing Star Wars, but also Shakespeare in Love, and playing Hamlet for the stage.


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Interviews

Exclusief interview met Paul Brooke (Rancor Keeper)

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Het is een van de meest bekende scenes uit Return of the Jedi: de scene waarin we een huilende Rancor keeper zien met op de achtergrond de zojuist door Luke verslagen mega monster. Afgelopen december was de Britse acteur Paul Brooke die deze rol vertolkte te gast op de EchoBase conventie in Utrecht. Uiteraard sprak ik hem voor mijn site StarWarsInterviews.com over de wellicht meest bekende seconden uit zijn leven én kwam ook een van de meest bekende acteurs allertijden ter sprake. Volgens traditie is het interview ook hier te lezen.


How did you get cast for Return of the Jedi?

I was touring India with a play for the British Council and my manager had trouble getting in touch with me because we were moving around from city to city. When we got to Calcutta, there was a message in the hotel waiting which said, “I’ve accepted two days filming for you the week you get home”. You have nothing to do. But we both made the money. Which made me laugh at the time and hadn’t really made me laugh ever since because I feel like I’m privileged to be even in a small role, the smallest role I ever played in front of a camera in a lucky career where I’ve rarely stopped working. But how lucky I was to be part of this extraordinary franchise.

What was your initial feeling when you got the part? Star Wars was very popular and this much anticipated movie promised to be big; it had the biggest budget of all three.

I wouldn’t have known that from my two mornings. But having said that, I’ve appreciated it, to be honest, more over time than I did at the time. For the reason that I’ve given you. Because I was nice and busy, I was lucky with work, and I was normally playing much better parts. But then the fact that people remember after all these years and that I get mail every week shows that even if it’s a small part, if it works, which is not just tied to the actor, of course it’s down to the script and everything. But if it works, it can make an impact that people will stick with. I’ve had the most extraordinary stories from people over the years of not only of their enjoyment, but of the passing on their enjoyment to their children and even grandchildren, which is rather touching. Probably if I’ve been offered the part and I was at home because I had loads of work where I had more to do, I would probably have turned it down and I would have regretted it like mad with hindsight.

Did you see the other two movies?

I think I’ve seen them both. I’ve certainly seen Star Wars. I was amazed and surprised that a very intellectual British theatre director, a famous guy at the time called William Gaskell, who I worked with at Royal Court Theatre, a pioneering theatre in London and who was rather up-market in all sorts of respect. I was doing a play with him before I got offered Return of the Jedi and he came out with the fact that he was a huge Star Wars fan. At the time I hadn’t seen the film and I didn’t think I thought, well Sci-Fi not particularly my scene. But then when Gaskell said, but it’s wonderful, it’s absolutely wonderful. You have to see it. So, I did and I was hooked like all the millions of others over the years.

What do you remember about the filming of your scenes?

The main thing I remember is how short it was. I did the little bit with Mark Hamill and then the following morning it was just me on a rostrum in front of a blue screen. No Rancor and nobody except for me being given directions by Richard Marquand, the director. Raising my head a little, turning the right a little up a little more. Now you’re looking at the Rancor, which of course I wasn’t, because the Rancor wasn’t there. And then on the cue having to burst into tears. That was my experience from the acting point of view. I mean, that in itself is not easy because normally you have other actors or even if the Rancor had been there in some shape or form you can respond to that. Responding to thin air is not always easy.

Did you know then what the Rancor looked like?

No, not at all.

The first time was when I saw the film and the first time I was actually WITH the Rancor was two years ago in Kentucky when this guy who built a huge Rancor for thousands of dollars and who takes it round the conventions, making money from people to be photographed with the Rancor. He said my model is up, would you pop up when you have a break, have some photos taken? I said “of course!”, and it was stunning.

Can you share any remarkable, unique, strange or funny things that happened?

I think the strangest is what I’ve already told you because it was so brief. I didn’t get to know any of the other actors. So, I said hello and shook hands with Mark Hamill. There were no personal stories. The strangest thing I think was the only time at that that I had to do something which was apparently responding to a creature that wasn’t there. But I’ve had other strange experiences in films and television. Maybe the strangest acting during a scene with Marlon Brando in an anti-apartheid film called Dry White Season, where although he was there and huge at the time. He was one of the only actors who made me feel small. It was really delightful, but he didn’t learn his lines. So, after you’d said you’re lying to him, you waited for ages while the woman upstairs told him through an earpiece what to do next, so there was a silence. You heard this in the background and then he’d come at you one hundred miles an hour force of his personality. You’d come in on cue. Then another long gap while upstairs the line was going into his ear. That’s difficult because you can’t suspend disbelief. It becomes a like an acting exercise because normally the response of the of the people helps you to act well, and if you’re not getting it straight back, there’s nothing to believe. So, when he speaks, you can respond to that but by then you’re out of the action for a period while the woman is telling him what to do. But I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. I mean, heavens, having acted with Marlon Brando, hero of my youth.

In fact, it was filmed in Zimbabwe because they wouldn’t allow at the time an anti-apartheid film to be filmed in South Africa. And I had two scenes there, one with Donald Sutherland and one with Brando. After I had done the scene with Sutherland they said, you can’t go home yet because we don’t know if Marlon Brando is coming or not. They said you don’t have to stay in the capital. You can go sightseeing, you can go to Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba and all these fabulous places but phone in every evening and we’ll let you know. So after about 10 days or something, I phoned in and they said, he’s not coming so you’re on the next plane back to London. I came back alone and they mounted his scenes, I think, at Pinewood, if I remember right. He was just in court scenes, so as isolated section of the film, he played an attorney. Then we filmed those couple of months later or something like that just outside London. When I first met him and introduced him, I said, I’m so grateful to you for not coming to Zimbabwe because I had this fabulous holiday at the film company’s expense. Now here I am at Pinewood being paid all over again for the same job. The great Marlon said to me “Glad to be of service”.

You have done a lot in your career but most people will always remember you for your role in Star Wars. How do you feel about this?

That’s part of the course with the acting game. The greatest thing for the actors of my level, basically a supporting actor, occasionally played leading part but mainly a supporting actor. The main thing is to keep working and you balance a part of which you have a lot to do a film or TV series with something where you don’t, or occasionally you do it just because it pays the bills.

I feel no negativity whatsoever about playing a tiny part and the fact that it has been clearly so focal for so many people is a bonus. You know it’s funny and genuinely touching when people get in touch with me and say “I saw this when I was six and I’ve been a fan ever since”. But I had so little to do. You know if you went to make a cup of tea you’d miss me and they say it doesn’t matter and they’ll always remember that moment. That is quite heartwarming. It’s great to hear.

Earlier this year a Star Wars fan film was released which features your character as a kid. It’s a prequel, an origin story where we see how he meets the Rancor. Have you seen it?

I haven’t seen it. I didn’t know is existed.

I was asked at some point, but after I retired, if I would be up in one of these later films for doing another scene. But I’d retired by then and I thought it was pushing it One of the things you have to remember as an actor is to remain reasonably match fit. You know you have to be up for it. The element of tension in front of a camera or on stage that you can still do your best. I felt having already given it up for a few years. Going back to it would probably not be a good idea.

For which movie was that?

I don’t remember. I’m afraid because I wiped it immediately. All I know is I’ve been retired for 10 years and it was during that 10 years. It was just an inquiry it might not even have come up with a job but I think it might have done because they were moving into this other area and they were I think they wanted to have a bit of a prequel for the Rancor keeper. Maybe they did it with somebody else and I haven’t seen that film that’s possible but I didn’t think that they did it.

The short film I was referring to isn’t official. It’s a fan film. Do you keep up with Star Wars? The new movies, TV series?

I haven’t seen anything of the stuff on television but I think I’ve seen all the films at least once but not the newest one. But I will do because my son will make sure that I do.

You have attended conventions, signing photos and other memorabilia. What is your general feeling to signing things and meeting fans?

Well I haven’t done a lot. I did one, for a different organization. I did one years ago maybe twenty years ago or more which had a bit to do with Star Wars, a bit with James Bond and other productions that I’ve been in. I was offered to attend conventions occasionally but I was always working so I never felt I needed to do it. I thought whatever my current project was I was lucky enough to be doing that. That was what I should be concentrating on. Now being quite a long time retired Zack got in touch with me nearly two years ago and suggested doing one in Kentucky. I thought what the hell. I went and did it and it was thoroughly enjoyable and the three days were packed with people. Then I did one for him ten days ago in Telford. So this is really only my third.

Looking back at Return of the Jedi, what are your feelings towards it?

What can I say. From an acting point of view it wasn’t hugely stretching. But, when I look back I think I’m really lucky to have been part of this legend. I feel that particularly because of the reaction of people and the fact that this very tiny bit of the film is remembered by so many people and think of it fondly. I really like that and probably they think about that much more about that than they do about television or films where I’ve had a lot to do.

I saw the movie in 1983, I was seven at the time, and I still remember you!

(Laughs) Extraordinary. Thank you!


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