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Friday, 30 December 2016

CELEBRATING CARRIE FISHER AND LEIA ORGANA - PART ONE: 'STAR WARS' (1977)

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa- custodian of the stolen Death Star plans that will save her people and bring freedom to the galaxy...

She hated her onscreen hair buns, was frustrated that there was no underwear in space, was constantly fearful that she was too chubby, as well as being plagued with doubts and nerves about her performance in what was her first starring role- that George Lucas would ultimately replace her with another actress (having prior used her soon British friend Koo Stark in a salary negotiating fee with her US agent). Yet Carrie Fisher managed to find the strength to overcome all these problems during the 1976 shooting of the original STAR WARS at London's Elstree and Shepperton Studios to become much beloved by the cast and crew- camaraderie's shaped, and always the lifeblood of the party: funny, intelligent and sublimely quirky, and a one of the boys presence across four months partying hard as a night-time animal with lots of Diet Cokes, Fanta and copious amounts of pot to keep her going during the challenging and action fuelled events/work of making the space fantasy in the daytime, and, as recently confirmed, enjoying a compelling yet tinged with regret liaison with her handsome older and rugged co-star Harrison Ford that proved life-changing.

1975 dual auditioning for STAR WARS and CARRIE for directors George Lucas and Brian De Palma. Carrie is wearing the blonde wig for the latter.

Loving the original script she auditioned for, enjoying acting it out at home with her friends (including Jose Ferrer), making the most of the training she'd prior received at London's Central School of Speech and Drama to shape Leia's voice and regal poise, the potential of STAR WARS and the popularity of Leia was suddenly cemented when she saw the film take its final shape alongside John Williams vital and affirming score, and loving the theme he'd composed eagerly and happily presented to her by Lucas. Often cruising down past the Los Angeles cinemas to see the incredible lines waiting to see the film in its blockbuster box office smashing opening weeks of May 1977, Fisher was blown away by the ultimate destiny of STAR WARS and her position in it, especially as a cultural icon and as a sometimes unsettling merchandise opportunity that she had signed her likeness away to. Audiences and critics alike loved her portrayal- an icon and role model to girls and women and an all-time crush for boys and men who enjoyed her sassiness yet warmth, and all of whom loving her relatability as a person/actress, and as the heroic yet vulnerable character she played on screen...

Arriving in London, April 1976, to inherit those legendary "buns"!
Filming her first scenes within the Death Star corridors and sets with Dave Prowse as Darth Vader.
Enjoying a blooper with Peter Cushing.
Beware the Princess and her blaster!
Joking with Mark Hamill at the chasm set.
Scary but fun filming on harnesses for the chasm scene.
Corridor problems for our heroes on the Death Star.
Posing for a publicity session as filming continues at Shepperton in May 1976.
Make-up artist Kay Freeborn makes this beautiful Princess even more stunning.
Our heroes receive applause from their comrades in this rehearsal image. Image: STAR WARS ARCHIVES.
In the middle of filming, the STAR WARS cast pose for a publicity image.
Iconic shot of Leia at the Yavin IV base.
Comforted by General Dodonna (Alex McCrindle) in the Rebel War Room. Image: STAR WARS ARCHIVES.
Keeping her costume clean in between takes on the Rebel Hangar set at Shepperton.
Almost like brother and sister off set during filming. It's no secret that Hamill had a crush on Fisher.
A kiss for luck.
Lucas goes through the escape scene with Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew listening.
Carrie enjoys Mark's company on the Death Star hangar set at Elsree.
Always a tonic on set. Image: STAR WARS ARCHIVES.
Clowning about on the Millennium Falcon!
Another day wearing a wet suit under her outfit during the Trash Compactor scenes. Image: STAR WARS ARCHIVES.
Shooting her hologram scene against black backing.
Filming with Kenny Baker as R2 on the Blockade Runner set at Elstree, in July 1976.
One of Carrie's last major scenes to be filmed as Leia for STAR WARS -ironically the start of the actual movie!
The young stars of STAR WARS in Hamill and Fisher. Image: Ian Trussler.
Enjoying some sweets during one of the US publicity rounds for the film.

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