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Saturday, 23 March 2013

AFICIONADO CLASSIC BEHIND THE SCENES INFO PART NINE


LONDON FILM AND COMIC CON - EARLS COURT, LONDON-SATURDAY 19TH AND SUNDAY 20TH JULY 2008


COMPILED BY SCOTT WELLER

Another great event that AFICIONADO attended-with a nice INDIANA JONES flavour on Saturday. It was fun to meet all the stars, all of whom were extremely friendly and enthusiastic.

Here’s some info I managed to find out that you guys and gals might like. On a less positive note, one thing that was a shame is that a major official title like TITAN's STAR WARS INSIDER was once again not present at another fact-filled event with first time STAR WARS signees, whom could have interviewed by them in greater detail!

The woman who first kissed Han Solo: Jenny Cresswell.

JENNY CRESSWELL (KNOWN AS JENNY-THE CANTINA WOMAN WHO KISSED HAN SOLO IN THE FIRST STAR WARS’S DELETED SCENES)


Now living in the Isle of Wight, Jenny made her first convention appearance at LFCC and was thrilled to be invited. She recalled being on the set of the first film for several weeks, found the filming conditions in the cantina horrible as there was a lot of smoke even when they started early at 5am in the morning. Before STAR WARS, she appeared regularly as a hostess on the SALE OF THE CENTURY quiz show for several years before being asked to meet Lucas for a role in STAR WARS.
 


Asked if Harrison was a good kisser she couldn’t remember, though he was pleasant enough-not yet a big star. Mark Hamill was lovely and when Sir Alec Guinness came on set everyone was quiet. She recalled he had such a wonderful presence and was a very nice man to go with it.
 


Her costume was a brown suede jacket and she had brown boots. Though she can’t remember costume reference photos being shot, they may well have been and she’s sure that other photos of her on set do exist-she did the film, as far as she is aware, before her stint during pretty much the whole run of the second season of SPACE:1999 in which she played a Moonbase Alpha Command Centre member-at the end of the season, when it looked like it would go to a third, creator/producer Gerry Anderson offered Jenny a full time lead part in the show but then a short time later the series was unexpectedly cancelled!

She had a terrific time working on SPACE: 1999 and enjoyed the variety of the episodes and all the different stories and designs and new things that had to be done on a weekly series-she was disappointed when the second series moved away from it’s adult/family mid evening Saturday time slot to a dreadful kiddie Sunday afternoon slot. She still has the security photo badge her character worn on her top during season two.

 One episode of SPACE she found particularly memorable as the alien shapeshifter character Maya (played by Catherine Schell) had to transform into her, so she also had to play another version of her regular role-in a scene which led to the character going crazy, which she found a challenge to film. 




 

The alien citizens of Mos Eisley's streets.

ANNETTE JONES (MOSEP THE CANTINA AND MOS EISLEY STREET ALIEN-STAR WARS)



Another really nice, bubbly lady bursting with enthusiasm and thoroughly enjoying her first STAR WARS signing. She was in her twenties when she worked on the first film, and was contacted for a part through the agency she was contracted with at the time-THE CENTRAL CASTING AGENCY in London. Did two costume fittings for the character-she was the creature that had the red beard whilst another actor (presumably Erica Simmons) played the one with the white hair who can be seen walking about in the Mos Eisley street scenes. At the time she was making STAR WARS she went out with one of the film crew and had a great time. The costume took about an hour to put on and she recalls posing in the costume with the Freeborn family for a group monster image. She doesn’t recall ever taking the costume off whilst she was filming her scenes (which were over a week on both the Mos Eisley street and in the Cantina) and may have eaten food and had drinks whilst still wearing it. In the Cantina she sat next to a friend of hers who played a crocodile-like creature.
 
Sadly she didn’t really get to the meet the main actors-it wasn’t really encouraged-if they talked to you it was fine but not really vice versa.
 


Saesee Tiin: a new Jedi for EPISODE ONE. Image: via TheRealGingerPrince.

KHAN BONFILS (SAESEE TIIN-EPISODE ONE)



His first convention, Khan was a very friendly, quietly spoken man. His make-up for the character of Saesee Tiin for EPISODE ONE only, took four to five hours at LEVEASDEN and normally took a couple of hours to take off at the end of a days filming. There were other generic scenes of the Jedi Council shot that never made the final cut. The actor was on set for a week in total. He sat next to Yoda, which he thought was very cool. At the moment, as well as auditioning for other roles, Khan has taken up a music career. (Note: Khan was recently seen as playing one of the villainous Silva's henchmen in the 2012 James Bond movie SKYFALL.)
 
 


Eeth Koth (Hassani Shapi) makes his first appearance in EPISODE ONE.

HASSANI SHAPI (EETH KOTH-EPISODE ONE ONLY)


A very friendly, enthusiastic man who had driven down to the event just as he was completing filming in Birmingham for a new drama. He recalls being on the EPISODE ONE set for three weeks filming his scenes in the Jedi Council at LEAVESDEN. They filmed lots of generic footage of the council members-close-ups, long shots, them with Neeson and McGregor, and of course, Yoda. He liked McGregor and had some drinks with him-Ewan was very gregarious and a party animal. Hassani very much liked working with him.
 


JAY BENEDICT (DEAK IN THE LOST ANCHORHEAD SCENES OF STAR WARS, AND NEWT’S FATHER IN THE DELETED SCENES OF ALIENS).

A refined looking man with the face you’ve seen on TV a lot but can never quite work out in what, Benedict worked on the first STAR WARS film for 2-3 days. Originally offered a day’s work on the film by his agent who told him it was some kind of unusual space movie that he’d be working on. He went out for lunch when filming began with Mark Hamill whom he liked a great deal, and recalled that all through the lunch they had,  which Benedict enjoyed, all Hamill could talk about was the film he’d recently seen- ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEXT and about how great Jack Nicholson was in it. He also recalled being on set, playing some on some sort of electronic type pool table, meeting Koo Stark before she became linked to Royalty, and being paid £75 for his work. He is still friends with Garrick Hagon and has worked with him and his wife, Lisa on other projects.
 


A Wampa is felled by Rebel forces in a deleted scene from EMPIRE.

TERRY RICHARDS (THE ICONIC SWORDSMAN FROM RAIDERS, PLAYED THE WAMPA IN EMPIRE’S DELETED ACTION SCENE AT ELSTREE)

Recalling his Tunisian action stint as the swordsman, Terry recalls that in the film world that shot, the original plan for the Indy versus the Swordsman, was considered a “luxury” shot-one that could be improvised and played around with: the script simply said of their confrontation-“they fight”, though Richards thought the amount of stunt fighting that could be done with a whip against a sword was quite limiting at the time. 


STAR WARS-wise, 
he only worked on THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. In 1979, Richards had the distinction of playing the Wampa snow monster for interior action sequences of the Hoth Rebel base filmed at ELSTREE STUDIOS. As Des Webb, the original actor who played the creature in the Finse filming, was not a very strong man, it was decided that Richards would don the creature costume for the scene where it bursts through a secluded cave corridor and attacks Rebel officers. Richards recalled that the suit was a nightmare-that he wore the stills previously by Webb in Norway and that the interior of the mask was constructed almost like a scaffold with the actors jaw rigged to mechanics that moved the creature jaw outside. The sequence saw him having to throw Rebel soldiers around the set and at one point, the Wampa costume was set on fire-Richard recalls the Rebels using a flame thrower like weapon at the creature. Sadly, the resulting footage, shot over a week and supervised by David Tomblin, never made the final cut of the film as the creature’s head was seen to bobble too much when moving in the dailies. It just didn’t look convincing enough and had to go… 
 


In other stunt work, in the world of James Bond look out for him in TOMORROW NEVER DIES-he’s the bearded bald guy that beats up Pierce Brosnan in Elliot Carver’s studio at the beginning of the film.


SONNY CALDINEZ (MEAN MONGOLIAN ASSOCIATE TO TOHT IN RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (SHOT FROM BEHIND BY MARION), AN ICE WARRIOR IN NUMEROUS EARLY DOCTOR WHO TV SERIES EPISODES)


The actor, primarily known in science fiction circles for his work on DOCTOR WHO, playing numerous Ice Warrior monsters across nearly nine years, and working with three doctors-Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker), Caldinez, who also played a mean Mongolian in the Ravenwood bar action scene in RAIDERS, recalled that he originally went up for an interview to play Darth Vader for STAR WARS in 1975-on the very same day that Dave Prowse had his in London. They were both together in the corridor, and both had interviews with Lucas, but in the end Prowse won the gig because he was taller. Caldinez has no regrets about Prowse winning the part and thought he did a very good job.
Caldinez recalls he had an enjoyable time working on DOCTOR WHO over that lengthy period from the mid sixties to the mid seventies-the fibre glass Ice Warrior costume he inhabited in numerous stories was very uncomfortable and he sweated buckets, but he enjoyed working with everybody-particularly citing out Jon Pertwee as his favourite actor to play the Time Lord-for a such a physical, active man who lived life to the full, Caldinez is still shocked that a man as fit and vibrant as Pertwee died back in the mid nineties. 
 
On his stint on RAIDERS, Caldinez recalls that though Harrison Ford works with snakes, he doesn’t like them as much as we would believe and didn’t enjoy working on the Well of Souls set. In fact, the crew apparently played a practical joke on Ford involving a box/crate of snakes during filming which apparently had the actor hurrying off the set uncomfortably!!

MALCOLM WEAVER (MONGOLIAN BADDY WITH TOHT IN RAIDERS (THE SMALLEST OF THE GROUP), STORMTROOPER IN RETURN OF THE JEDI, QUEEN ALIEN IN ALIENS

Best known as one of the Death Star commanders killed by a Stormtrooper disguised Han Solo in STAR WARS-his blaster demise trimmed down from the 1997 SPECIAL EDITION onwards. Weaver, contrary to fan reports, revealed to me that he didn’t take part in any of the RETURN OF THE JEDI Yuma action sequences (he jokingly thought that he might have upset the stunt co-ordinator and that’s why he never went out there with the rest of them!!), though be did play a Stormtrooper for the movie-which he found very uncomfortable and not enjoyable to work in at all. Sadly, due to the passage of time, there was very little else about his work on the film that he could recall (and at one point he mentioned a car accident that he had). He also couldn’t actually remember when he filmed his scenes. Malcolm was one of the operators inside the giant Alien Queen puppet built for live action filming at Pinewood for James Cameron’s ALIENS (which he spent six weeks on). He was body casted for that scene so that the part of the suit he was operating in fitted him properly..
.

Dietrich (Wolf Kahler) is after Indiana Jones once again...

WOLF KAHLER (DIETRICH IN RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK)


A very straightforward person, at his first signing event, he recalled that he spent three months filming on RAIDERS. He only remembers one cut scene with his character-that of his having an argument with Gruber. Of the kind of work he does now, he’s very happy with what he does and loves playing German characters of all kinds, especially fun nobility parts-especially the 1980’s SHERLOCK HOLMES episode he did - A Scandal in Bohemia- working with Jeremy Brett as Holmes and the lovely Gayle Hunnicut as Irene Adler-Kahler enjoyed working on it and found the late Jeremy Brett, who many feel to be the definitive actor to have played the part, to be a very dedicated and gracious man on set.
 


Nick Gillard on the EPISODE I set with Ray Park.

NICK GILLARD (STAR WARS PREQUELS STUNT CO-ORDINATOR, A GERMAN IN INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, THE ALIEN QUEEN IN ALIENS, CIN DRALLIG IN REVENGE OF THE SITH)


As ever, a thoroughly nice chap, highly talkative and happily signing and posing for photos with fans, he recalled that the original length of the Anakin/ Obi-Wan duel filmed was fifteen minutes long, of which the original version of the fight with stunt actors rehearsing the moves still exists on tape. The fight was heavily re-edited in the final version and not all of it made the final version, sadly- a shame as he thought the original version was one of the proudest moments of his stunt career. He recently worked on the Angelina Jolie adventure film WANTED (which he found a tough and thoroughly demanding film to work on, and he hasn’t seen a full theatrical version of it, yet, either!), and is currently back to doing stunts on TV-he is going to be working on the new re-make of the highly popular British ITV series MINDER. He was indeed asked by Mark Hamill, whom he had facial and physical similarities to at the time, to be his double for RETURN OF THE JEDI. Though he was on set in 1982, union regulations prevented him from doing this, despite Hamill’s request, and Colin Skeaping stayed on as Hamill’s film/stunt double.
 
Regarding future projects, Gillard's film directing debut as an action director has not yet happened. Hayden Christensen has sadly pulled out of the film he was to have done with both Gillard and Sam Jackson (though Jackson is still keen to be involved with Gillard on the project if it materializes).
 
Gillard also recalled his time operating the mammoth Alien Queen prop for ALIENS-he was at the front end of the operation of the creature, whilst Malcolm Weaver was handling another part of it.
 


DEEP ROY (YODA IN ONE SCENE FOR EMPIRE, NUMEROUS ALIEN PARTS IN RETURN OF THE JEDI, THE OOMPA LUMPA IN TIM BURTON’S WILLY WONKA REMAKE)

His most recent acting job has been spending nearly six weeks on the set of the new JJ Abraham’s top secret STAR TREK movie re-vamp. He very much enjoyed working on it and was very impressed with how it looked visually. Sadly, he couldn’t reveal much about the plot but said that he is playing a goodie-an alien engineering assistant to Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (being played by SPACED’s Simon Pegg).
 Deep Roy confirmed that he did indeed play Artoo for a couple of scenes at ELSTREE, but he couldn’t remember if it was for EMPIRE or JEDI (or both). He jokingly recalled that he only did it at times when Kenny Baker had been drinking too much in the ELSTREE BAR (which is fast becoming a legend in AFICIONADO circles with the amount of people who enjoyed being in it over the years!!). Deep always reluctantly did those extra Artoo scenes as he didn’t like robbing his friend Baker of the work.
 


BILL WESTON (IMPERIAL STORMTROOPER- STAR WARS, SOLDIER IN RAIDERS, STUNTMAN ON NUMEROUS JAMES BONDS)

A terrific guy, with a very good memory of the films he worked on, the stuntman recalls that he played a Stormtrooper towards the end of shooting of the original film (presumably he was referring to the Blockade Runner scenes)-and that the first film was the only one he ended up working on. The Stormtrooper outfit he wore was way too small and he only just fitted in it.
 
Bill was involved in one of my all time favourite fight scenes in the James Bond 1987 film THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS-where he plays an agent who inadvertently walks into one of the villains, Necros (as played by Andreas Wisnewski) who has infiltrated a British safe house and has a brutal fight with him in a kitchen. I complimented Weston on that-it’s a terrific sequence, and he recalled that he was pretty much instrumental in working out the choreography of that sequence on set, shot after much of the film’s beginning in Germany was in the can, and in the way the burn make-ups would be done when the agent’s face is half scorched on a cooker.
 
Additionally, the actor playing Necros was worried about injuring Weston so the stunt man had to time the fight moves carefully to make sure that the actor looked superior to him when filmed. Weston also has another classic fight sequence in ea early episode of the BBC-1 1970’s/80’s series BLAKE’S 7 (series one, episode two-SPACEFALL), in which he fights actor Paul Darrow playing Avon. Weston was amused to hear from me that the fight from that episode has sadly been cut over the years on it’s VHS release by the BRITISH BOARD OF FILM CENSORS because there were several dangerous blows in the fight that they were worried could be copied.
 
 
Weston also appeared in RAIDERS, during the Tunisia filming and was the guy in the bike that went over into the pond during the truck chase. He also recalls that the compliment of soldiers getting into the truck at the beginning of the sequence doesn’t match the amount eventually seen clambering on its exterior to get Harrison Ford later in the action sequence!!!
 
As a working stuntman on TITANIC, a joking Weston was very surprised that, with all the physical difficulties imposed on both the main cast and crew, that no one ever shot James Cameron for being so demanding and perfectionist- and aggressive- about everything.
 


LYNNE HAZELDEN (X-WING PILOT-RETURN OF THE JEDI, ALSO APPEARED AS A BACKGROUND ARTIST IN SEVERAL BONDS, AND SUPERMAN III)

A friend of Richard Bonehill, who played numerous parts in two of the STAR WARS films, the charming, bouncy and enthusiastic actress humorously recalled that  a lot of extras that worked on films during her time as a background artist on many big films, were actually criminals-not in a  modern gangster kind of way but more like shady Del Boy/ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES types trying to sell stolen watches!
 
She was recalled back to the JEDI filming for an insert scene showing her in her pilots gear (orange for X-wing) dancing with an Ewok for the finale celebrations-sadly the footage never got used, but a still photograph of that scene exists-an off-duty moment of the actress with the little person playing the Ewok.
 


According to Lynne, there were more female background extras on JEDI because the UK film/TV unions lobbied the STAR WARS team for more women to be used in the movies. She didn’t do any cockpit scenes for the movie-she has been mistaken by fans for another actress who did them-it was just the scene in the briefing room.
 
That scene was a challenge to film because you had to be very careful with eyelines for filming, keeping in continuity and in the right positioning. There were many takes done-she doesn’t remember if it was Marquand or David Tomblin who directed her scenes.
 
The actress also played a fighter pilot for the scene in the Rebel Hangar Bay, towards the end of JEDI’s UK filming, where she accidentally got into trouble when she unintentionally walked over a line she wasn’t supposed to when they were filming a scene that had some tricky photography-it had taken a while to set the shooting of the scene up and Harrison Ford gave the actress a bit of a grumpy look when it happened. 
She got the role because she was told to go there and take part in it by her agents/casting people-it was as simple as that-sometimes she would be working back-to-back on films.
 
Her other appearances would include SUPERMAN III, the James Bond film OCTOPUSSY (she was one of the circus audience members) and DIE ANOTHER DAY (where she was part of a group attending the outdoor launch of the villains space satellite in the arctic). On OCTOPUSSY, the actress was thrilled when a still in costume Christopher Reeve popped in one lunch time to visit the filming on the Bond set.
 

More info on the actress can be found at: www.markdermul.be
 
 

CARRIE HENN (NEWT IN ALIENS)


The ex actress/co-star of ALIENS was very polite, and revealed that she worked on the film for a staggering nine months total (from filming to post-production). Her family was living in England at the time the film was being made, as her father was a military man stationed there. Sadly, she hasn’t seen much of Sigourney Weaver in a while (though she did sit next to her at the ALIEN III premiere in the US). As far as the aliens went, they weren’t really scary to work with-they were just men in suits to her when she was little!!

The lovely Karen Allen poses for a publicity image for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.
KAREN ALLEN (MARION RAVENWOOD IN RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, AND INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL)

What can I say..I always wanted to meet her. And she is Marion Ravenwood- the moment she gave me that smile-that warm, cheeky smile that comes naturally to her. Karen was a real crowd pleaser-chatted and talked to people and signing hundreds of autographs. I asked her, when she got the script for CRYSTAL SKULL, if she had to make any changes or revisions in case there were any moments that were out of character for Marion. She said there weren’t any and it was pretty much as we saw in the film. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get to meet John Hurt or get his autograph, but Karen’s will do for me!!

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