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Thursday, 28 April 2016

BEHIND THE SCENES: INSIDE THE DEATH STAR OVERBRIDGE

The true charm of Peter Cushing comes out. Image: Ann Skinner/BFI.

They're fiendishly plotting the destruction of a planet and control of the galaxy forever with their ultimate weapon in the Death Star, but that doesn't mean that Peter Cushing and his acting colleagues in Don Henderson, Richard Le Parmentier and Dave Prowse as Darth Vader can't have the odd laugh between takes, as seen in this great behind the scenes Polaroid image shot as continuity reference by the original STAR WARS first Script Supervisor Ann Skinner back in May 1976, of which the much-loved Cushing filmed all in his scenes as the despicable Tarkin in a short space of time due to other acting commitments. Held in the BFI Special Collection is a so far unpublished second B/W Polaroid image, similar to the classic one used in the film's publicity below, as Tarkin gesticulates a point with his hands- whether its a deleted moment or just a casual off-camera take is unknown, though I'm plumping for the former.

Ann Skinner's advance script characters/costume notes, from 1976:

GOV. MOFF TARKIN: Thin evil man in his late 50's.

COMMANDER TAGGE: Fat disgusting general.

MOTTI: Part of their group.

Tarkin makes a point.

Amongst the extras seen in Tarkin's sequences within the Overbridge were Keith Ashley as a background operator, whilst John Ketteringham played one of the controllers in his mushroom-esque cubical, wearing earphones, as was Robert Clarke, for the later scene of Chief Bast (Leslie Schofield) warning Tarkin of the Rebels attack.

One of only a few rare images showing a maskless Dave Prowse on the set of the original STAR WARS. Image: Ann Skinner/BFI.

Another version of the above image from Skinner also resides at the BFI- a more fuzzy B/W Polaroid also showing Prowse maskless with Cushing. Two further so far unpublished B/W Polaroids on this set are interesting but lack any info, showing Miss Skinner with Assistant Director Tony Waye and two other unknown crewmen having a laugh as she's holding some strange toy animal.

With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI.

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