December 06, 2015

Star Wars - The Force Awakens: Carrie Fisher On The Return of Leia - Updated


Star Wars gave Carrie Fisher her defining role. Now 59, the writer and actress returns to the franchise in The Force Awakens, which opens on December 17. 

The movie, the seventh in the series and the first since 2005, has already broken records for advance-ticket sales.

The wave of product tie-ins started in early September, a far cry from what Ms Fisher remembers from when she first played Leia in 1977. “More merchandise than I can imagine,” Ms Fisher says.


Edited from an interview:
Much of the marketing campaign for the new movie focuses on Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Chewbacca.  

Do you want to see more of yourself as part of the campaign?
Sometimes I do when I get immature, but no. Finally, no. I don’t like looking at myself. I have such bad body dysmorphia. But I’m in the movie. I think Harrison’s the most popular character. He’s the most popular actor of the gang, so they’re going to show a lot more of him. It’s business.

Star Wars fans, as you know, are ...
Are lovely. And they can be crazy. But mostly they’re lovely. You notice the crazy ones because, depending on how crazy, you have to pay strict attention. But they’re lovely and loyal. On my Twitter, it’s hilarious.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen or heard from a fan?
Oh come on, that’s endless. It’s: “I thought about you every day, from when I was 12 to 22.” Every day? “Well, four times a day.”

This movie could create legions of new Star Wars fans, and people may show it to their kids.
It’s a family thing. You’re going to watch your kid watch it, and wonder how he reacts. I showed it to Billie [Lourd, her daughter] when she was 6, but she said to me it’s too loud and didn’t want to watch it.

There’s been some debate recently about whether there should be no more merchandise with you in the Return of the Jedi bikini.
I think that’s stupid.

To stop making the merchandise?
The father who flipped out about it, “What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?” Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.

Was there ever a point when you thought, ‘I don’t want to do this new movie’?
Never. I’ve been this character for 40 years, why would I not? Because I’m going to be associated with Princess Leia more? There is no “more.” And I’m a female working in show business, where, if you’re famous, you have a career until you’re 45, maybe. Maybe. And that’s about 15 people.

Why do you think Hollywood does business like that?
It’s a male-dominated planet. White male — he delivers.

Who is Leia now?
She’s an adult. She’s someone who’s had experiences that were difficult. It’s not as funny anymore.

Were you able to relate to her more now than you did 40 years ago?
(Shakes her head “no.”) I bring [the characters] to me. I don’t go to them. I don’t get into character.

By Michael Calia

With many thanks to The Australian


Star Wars: Jar Jar Binks dropped for The Force Awakens; Mark Hamill’s role still vague


With little more than a week to go before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits cinemas, the plot of the hotly anticipated film is still a closely guarded secret. But director J.J. Abrams promises it won’t be a nostalgic trip down memory lane. 

The latest instalment of the blockbuster sci-fi saga - the first in a decade - opens in Australia on December 17 (and December 18 in the US).

The cast - beloved veterans of the original films Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), as well as fresh faces joining the franchise - gathered in Los Angeles on Sunday at an undisclosed location.

But they didn’t let much slip.

“I wanted to keep audiences surprised,” Abrams told reporters. The director, also known for his successful reboot of the Star Trek films, added: “It’s not a nostalgic trip - we had to go back in order to go forward.”

The Force Awakens - episode seven in the saga - takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars has attracted generations of loyal fans ever since the first film arrived nearly 40 years ago, creating a signature moment in the history of pop culture and launching one of the biggest movie franchises ever.

It turned Ford, Fisher and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) into stars overnight. Ford said it didn’t take much to step back into Han Solo’s boots. “I was interested in the described path of the character ... it was easy,” he said.

“It’s gratifying to be part of this,” he added. “It’s always nice to anticipate working in something that you know people will have an appetite for... And it’s fun to play with these toys again.”

Han Solo returns among other things to bridge the future with the past. Not to be forgotten are the droids R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) as well as Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Han Solo’s Wookiee co-pilot.

Luke Skywalker is among the great unknowns of the new movie. The Jedi master is notably absent from the official poster and Hamill - who features in the film’s credits - did not attend Sunday’s press conference, building suspense.

Jar Jar Binks, a goofy amphibious character who irritated many fans in The Phantom Menace (1999), will not appear in the new movie, producer Kathleen Kennedy said.

“Jar Jar is definitely not in the movie,” Kennedy said to applause and cheers.

An online poll of movie fans in 2006 found Binks to be the most annoying film character of all time.

Audiences of the new film also won’t see any Ewoks, the furry creatures from 1983’s Return of the Jedi, Kennedy said.

“That’s because Harrison insisted on it,” she joked

The film’s new faces include Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and rising Hollywood star Oscar Isaac, as well as virtual British unknowns John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, who plays the scavenger Rey, one of the main characters. What we know so far is that, since the age of five, Rey has lived alone on the desert planet Jakku and been left to her own devices in order to survive.

“She’s brave, she’s vulnerable,” Ridley said.

Rey’s roots are a mystery. Her last name has not been revealed and there is some speculation about a possible link to Princess Leia, Han Solo or Skywalker.

Gwendoline Christie, who made a name for herself in Game of Thrones, personifies Captain Phasma, one of the film’s villains.

Nyong’o, meanwhile, will slip into the skin of pirate Maz Kanata, for which the actress used motion-capture technology.

“I could work with my body in new ways,” she told reporters. With fans counting down to the film’s opening, industry experts are predicting it will be a massive hit - at the box office and beyond.

Advance ticket sales already smashed records two months before the release and analysts expect merchandise sales to reach up to $5 billion this year, with everything from light sabres to action figures and even pet gear on offer.

“I’m aware of the value that’s placed on these films by the audience and I’m gratified that they had been passed on generationally through families and that there’s still an audience,” Ford said.

With many thanks to The Australian

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