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Sunday, 7 April 2013

ROTJ AT 30: OF EWOKS AND X-WING PILOTS!


Katie Purvis off set on RETURN OF THE JEDI, with Mark Hamill.

By Ian Trussler

Here's some STAR WARS behind the scenes info from the Starmania event in Swansea, Wales: 25.09.10

Katie Purvis - Mother Ewok and Baby in Return of the Jedi

Katie was aged 15 when she spent two weeks on the set of ROTJ. She worked only in the Elstree studio set. She had to alternate her days on set between days at school, doing one day on set then one day at school, she was doing her mock O levels at the time and remembered hating missing out on being on set when she was at school. She would have loved to have gone to CrescentCitywith her father Jack but due to difficulty getting work visas, only 5 of the UK Ewoks were taken to America, those being Jack Purvis, Kenny Baker, Warwick Davis, Mike Edmonds and Nicholas Reade. She loved working on the movie despite being at that awkward teenager period and being acutely embarrassed a lot of the time, especially during rehearsals with the movement coach, some of which is seen on the Classic Creatures documentary. She recounted how during her scene with the Ewok baby, at first it was tried with her attempting to operate the Ewok baby puppet but due to the large amount of padding on the costume her arms were unable to reach round enough to work the puppet fully. It was then decided to have Mike Quinn operate the baby, by crouching down in front of her, and hidden from view by two other Ewoks in front, he literally stuck his hand up the baby ewok and performed its limited movements. Of the principle actors, the only one she meet personally and got to know a bit was Mark Hamill. On the first movie, her father had invited Mark round their house for dinner, she had a bit of a crush on him. However she always really wanted to meet Harrison Ford, but her father was very humble and always told her to be professional and never approach the stars but to wait for them to come to you. She recalls on Jedi, Harrison talking to her Dad while she watched from a distance just wishing her Dad would bring him over, sadly he never did. Likewise she only ever saw Carrie Fisher around the set but never spoke to her. For her publicity photos of the mother Ewok, the baby was a static prop doll and not the working puppet. Katie has appeared in many Lucasfilm and Jim Henson productions, such as The Dark Crystal & Labyrinth, as well as doing some stunt work on Time Bandits. For the last 10 years her film work has primarily been on the Harry Potter franchise, much to the joy of her Potter mad children. She now lives in Scotlandwhich makes it difficult to attend too many conventions as the travel is so much. She was absolutely lovely and such fun to talk to, with her many stories from the movies she worked on. 

Kiran Shah - Stunt Ewok on Return of the Jedi

Kiran spent about six weeks working on the studio set at Elstree performing many stunts for various Ewoks. He did not spend his time playing just one specific Ewok, he wore several different costumes, performing mainly falls and drops from height. He is also worked on the Paploo speeder bike scene for Kenny Baker, hanging from the inverted bike to simulate Paploo being swept along at speed hanging on for his life. He did not perform any Ewok Hang Glider stunts as these were done at ILM and he did not travel to the USAfor the movie.
We spoke about the confusion that often arises between him and Deep Roy, he confirmed that Deep Roy did work as an Ewok on Jedi, with him during the studio filming at Elstree, Deep also played Droopy McCool as we already know. From his wide range of roles from Jedi, to LOTR, The Dark CrystalLabyrinth and Chronicles of Narnia, as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark of course, Kiran’s favourite film he has done is Ridley Scott's Legend

John Chapman - Red 12 (Drifter) in Star Wars

John worked for 5 days on the original movie playing and X-wing pilot in both the Briefing Room scene and the End Medal Ceremony. John is most prominently seen in the alternative front view briefing room scene from the "Lost Cut" of Star Wars. He recounted a nice little story to me from the Medal Ceremony filming. He got on well with Mark Hamill during filming (didn't everyone!) and was desperate to get seen on film. During the ceremony scene the extras had been specifically told to wear their X-wing pilot helmets with the orange eye visors in the down position. John decided, in an attempt to get noticed, to wear his visor up and stand a few inches further forward in his line up. As Mark Hamill walked past him, he noticed John and made the "V" sign at him behind his back as he walked down the hall, this made John laugh and his orange visor fell down causing the sharp edge to cut into the bridge of his nose and a small trickle of blood ran down his face, not the best way to draw attention to himself, but thankfully you can't see it on film.

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