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Saturday, 8 December 2012

BEHIND THE SCENES: ALAN TOMKINS TALKS 'EMPIRE'



Out in the cold at Norway: March/April 1979 for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Image: Alan Tomkins.

AFICIONADO contributor Ian Trussler met ESB’s veteran Art Directing talent Alan Tomkins at a Birmingham Memorabillia signing last month, who revealed the following behind the scenes information:

Alan Tomkins in 2012. Picture by Ian Trussler.

He did about 3 days as a Rebel on location in Finse, simply because they were short of men. He worked directly under Norman Reynolds and oversaw the building of sets and large props. He did the technical drawings for the Snowspeeder prop and also for AT-ATs and other vehicles, etc. He said he was asked by a production executive how much it would cost to actually make the Snowspeeders really fly, something that was genuinely being considered, and explained that they were designed for visual aesthetics rather than actual aerodynamics, but that with unlimited time and money anything could be made to fly. He said he took pics in Finse of the Snowspeeder prop being airlifted by helicopter up to the glacier for shooting, although he didn’t have them with him to show at the event. This was his first ever signing and he was really enjoying it. A really nice old guy and perhaps he will do Empire Day next year, or other shows in the future.

Tomkins on the right, playing a Rebel Snowtrooper on location at Finse. Image: Alan Tomkins.

With thanks to Chris Baker for his image remastering skills.


Alan Tomkins career photo biography, STARS and WARS, is reviewed: STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'STARS AND WARS: THE FILM MEMOIRS AND PHOTOGRAPHS OF ALAN TOMKINS'

Get the book here: Stars and Wars | 9780750956178

3 comments:

Colin said...

Great article, I've visited Finse many times. Alan is standing close to where Luke sees the Falcon fly off, at the edge of the glacier.
Would love to see Alan's other photos if he lets you see them.

aficionadofan said...

Thanks for the kind words. I've heard that Tomkins other BTS photos are now in private hands. If any should reappear I'll certainly post them...

Colin said...

Well I'm glad you shared what you had!