|AFICIONADO contributor Ian Trussler with actor Adrian Dunbar.|
Before Attack of the Clones and Jimmy Smits, there was another Bail Organa, played by respected Irish actor Adrian Dunbar.
In August 2007 I was lucky enough to meet and talk with
while he was appearing on stage at Adrian ’s Comedy Theatre. London
He kindly took time to share his memories of his brief period as Bail Organa, and the subsequent disappointment that followed.
Lucas had clearly considered other actors for the role, too, as Ray Winstone (a friend and co-star of
Dunbar’s) has spoken in the past of a very unsuccessful meeting he had with Lucas for the very same part.
According to the Production Diary/Shooting Schedule for The Phantom Menace,
filmed his scene on Day 3 of Principal Photography on Adrian Monday June 30th 2007, on Stage B at LEAVESDEN Studios.
The scene was listed as: Galactic Senate - Alderaan Box - Bail Organa seconds the motion.
When I showed him a picture of him in costume as Bail Organa he commented on how rare pictures of him as the character are and that he very much liked the costume, recalling it to be very ornate, an almost naval like white outfit with elaborate gold braiding detail.
The picture in question, a head and shoulders shot, is to my knowledge the only picture ever published of
Dunbar in the role, coming from the Episode One annual and in the small pocketbookWho’s Who guide, which presumably went to press and were approved by LUCASFILM before the role was cut. US
Dunbar is undoubtedly a talented actor I personally feel he didn't quite fit the role as I had imagined it. The tall and dark Jimmy Smits seems a better match for what my mind told me the adopted father of Princess Leia would look like.
That said I would dearly love to one day see the footage of
Dunbar as Bail Organa/Antillies from Episode One to finally make that judgment. However since Jimmy Smits went on to establish the part, it seems highly unlikely LUCASFILM will ever release the footage.
Above image: Adrian and I have a picture taken outside The Comedy Theatre,
- Panton Street, London August 11th 2007. Insert pic: the only shot currently released by LUCASFILM of Adrian Dunbar in character for EPISODE ONE. With thanks to Chris Baker for the image composition.