COLLECTORMANIA UK EVENT
AT THE OLYMPIA 2 EXHIBITION HALL 28TH -29TH NOVEMBER 2009
Behind the scenes STAR WARS information from the cast and crew attending the event. Compiled by Ian Trussler and Scott Weller
|Cristina De Silva (right) poses with Friday Wilson as a Handmaiden, alongside Natalie Portman's Queen Amidala.|
CRISTINA DE SILVA- RABE THE HANDMAIDEN-“STAR WARS: EPISODE ONE- THE PHANTOM MENACE”
Cristina had been working primarily as a model when she went up for the general casting for Episode One. She attended an initial casting and then received a call back for a second before being told she had the part. She did not meet George Lucas at either of her casting sessions. She very much enjoyed working on the film despite not being a Star Wars fan before getting the role. She was surprised when all her friends were telling her what a big deal it was to get a part in a SW movie. She spent several months working on the movie both at Leavesden Studios and on location in Italy and enjoyed working with the other cast members, particularly Hugh Quarshie whom she had many scenes with. She has remained very friendly with Hugh and he is the only cast member that she continues to see regularly. A year after she completed filming she was very surprised to get a call to return to take part in the pick up shooting. This was when she filmed the scene with a very obviously older looking Jake Lloyd as Anakin when he comes to say goodbye to Padme. In this scene it is her own voice we hear-she was not dubbed as they liked her native Brazilian accent. She recalled being asked to recite the line before filming and particularly being asked to pronounce "Padme" several times. As far as she is aware she did not have any of her scenes cut. This was her first ever convention and she is currently studying for a degree in acting and theatre arts.
Cristina also recalled the photo shot for the famous shot of her and Friday Wilson flanking Natalie Portman in her Japanese style gown. The shot took place over a day at a studio in Watford. This was different to most publicity photo's she did for the movie as normally she would be grabbed in between takes on set whilst in costume, to pose for a few ad-hock pics.
BOB KEEN-SPECIAL EFFECTS/ MAKE-UP EFFECTS-ALL THREE “STAR WARS” ORIGINAL TRILOGY MOVIES
Bob started work on the original Star Wars straight from school at 16, and spent most of his time mending Rebel and Imperial helmets when they got damaged during the Rebel Blockade Runner corridor scenes. He was amazed how badly damaged they got because the glue they were using was incredibly strong. He had no idea what he was working on but he had a life long ambition to work in special effects and this was a start on that career path. For The Empire Strikes Back he was hired directly by Stuart Freeborn for initially 3 weeks to work on creature like the Ugnaughts and some work on Yoda. The job ultimately lasted 11 months. During the Empire shoot he also wore a Wampa costume for filming at Elstree for the scenes that eventually got cut (I have a hunch that this was for test footage of the creature, as Terry Richards played a Wampa in some filmed action sequences also-Editor). After filming as the Wampa he had a renewed understanding of what costumed actors go through in terms of heat and discomfort. For Return of the Jedi he was hired by Robert Watts and told it was to focus specifically on Jabba the Hutt. Along with a team of guys he helped build and operate the giant puppet. He was responsible ultimately for performing the radio controlled eyes on set.
GARY KURTZ-PRODUCER-“STAR WARS” AND “THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK”
Gary stated that, contrary to some fan belief, Kenny Baker did not play a Jawa while out in Tunisia, because most of the Jawa scenes involved R2 so obviously Kenny was doing R2. Most of the Jawas were local Tunisian children plus his two daughters, Giles Instone's son and one of Peter Diamond's sons alongside Jack Purvis. He confirmed that Rusty Goffe did not play a Jawa whilst filming took place in Tunisia
Before departing LUCASFILM, Kurtz revealed that he did some early Pre-Production work on REVENGE OF THE JEDI before story changes led him to pursue work on other projects like THE DARK CRYSTAL. He also confirmed that he was indeed a consultant to JEDI in its early stages, too-it was always pre-determined that JEDI was going to be an even bigger, more ambitious production than EMPIRE.
With regards to some the Kurtz/Joiner archive images of the Original Trilogy currently appearing for sale by OFFICIAL PIXS, some 60 to 70 images that Kurtz himself took for the first two films were already pre-approved for promotional release when they came out and those are what OP are including. Kurtz has no ties or relationship to OFFICIALPIX.
He hasn’t seen THE CLONE WARS animated series yet.
IRENE LAMB- UK CASTING DIRECTOR-“STAR WARS” AND “THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK”
A little bit guarded at first, and amazed at having been asked to attend an event like COLLECTORMANIA, Irene revealed that she worked only on the UK aspects of the film’s casting with regards to supporting actors and selecting people that would eventually wear alien masks or Stormtrooper costumes, of which she did the work in the ten weeks of Pre-Production in the run up to filming-with the odd exception (Denis Lawson as Wedge, taking over from Colin Higgins-Editor), no casting took place during shooting. On STAR WARS she was working on the project all the way through to the films completion, which she recalled was a lengthy shoot for her. She had no involvement with the US casting of Ford, Fisher and Hamill at all-they had already been pre-cast. Sir Alec Guinness’s joining the film meant that any scenes he was involved in needed experienced actors for him to work opposite-that was a specific stipulation from the actor. She was on set watching the filming all the time and it was certainly an unusual movie at that time for her to be involved in.
Being such a long time ago she couldn’t confirm whether actors like Michael Elphick or Ken Hutchison appeared in the first movie, but she re-iterated that there were unknown actors on the set who went onto greater things over time. Many of the actors used in the first film were American or Canadian-a great many of which have sadly returned back home since the STAR WARS films were made. She confirmed that Koo Stark was never tested for Princess Leia though she was impressed with the actress at the time during filming of the infamous deleted scenes in 1976.
JAY BENEDICT-DEAK STARKILLER-“STAR WARS”
As friendly as he was at his previous convention signing appearance, Jay sadly couldn’t confirm who played the elusive character of Windy in his Tosche station interior deleted scene (and neither could Irene Lamb when he asked her). He has been asked the question lots of times. Whoever it was, Benedict thought that they were wearing a wig for the role!