SFX historical note: The text on the cover above actually had a really nice silvery treatment which really doesn’t comes across well here, sadly…
Her worshipfulness grants an audience with an honoured SFX
Star Wars isn’t going to go away, is it?
“It follows me like a vague exotic smell. Everywhere. Yeah, it’s in my life. For me to make a decision that I didn’t like it would be a real bad decision. I’ve been at it too long for it to make me uncomfortable. But when you meet someone who’s seen the film 486 times you think, ‘You need help. You need medication. You need a job. You need a relationship.’ When you meet those people, it’s worrisome. But I’ve had medication myself. I didn’t take it for seeing Star Wars 486 times, but I can recommend it to people who’ve seen it that much.”
Did you ever wonder why you were the only chick in the universe?
“Yeah, who was I going to go shopping with? Who was going to do all the cooking? My fantasy was that there would be a chick version of Star Wars and we would go to the shopping planet, we’d have our nails done... But why look a gift horse in the mouth? I was the only girl in an all boy fantasy! That was good!”
Your parents (Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds) were American showbiz royalty. What did they make of you accepting this role as a cosmic princess?
“Well, my dad was too stoned to have an opinion. But I’m sure if he did, he’d have thought it was great! It was an extraordinarily visual script. The best part was Han Solo. I wanted that part, but I took the one that was available. I didn’t think they were going to pick me. At the end of the script it says, ‘Princess Leia is staggeringly beautiful’. And I crossed out the ‘ly’ and the ‘beautiful’ and felt more able to live up to that.”
Harrison Ford once famously told George Lucas, “You can type this stuff but you can’t say it…”
“The swamp of space dialogue, you mean? It was impossible. ‘You’ll never get this bucket of bolts past that blockade!’ That was easy. ‘I’ve placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory system of this R2 unit’. Try saying that four or five times. I forever have the hologram speech in my mind, and I’ll be making it into an answerphone message very soon. If ever I get lost going to someone’s house it’s because I have the hologram speech taking up so much space.”
How is George as a director?
“I think he was frustrated that we weren’t really animated clay. We used to call ourselves ‘talking meat’. We would hit our marks and – amazingly – accommodate the dialogue. He literally directed my head: ‘Have your head go here, have your head go there...’ And it’s George, so you can’t really say no. Well, you can, but it’s not going to work.”
Did you really say that the only scenes you enjoyed filming with Harrison Ford were the ones where you wanted to slap him?
“I never said that! We had one argument on Empire – and it was a good one. We understood the nature of it: he was going to rewrite his part of the scene and I was going to stand there like a schmuck. But we got along, even if we didn’t get along. He could be crabby. I’ve always said, ‘If you can’t be interesting, be nice’. And Harrison’s incredibly interesting...”
How did you feel about the slave girl outfit?
“How would you feel? I didn’t know that it would go on to be an S&M fantasy for men and women. I had to exercise – which is not a fantasy of mine. I’m just glad there’s a record of a time when I was extremely thin.”
What do you make of the prequels?
“What’s great is that I now get good reviews retroactively – I’ve never had such good reviews. They attacked us on the first three films, just like they give bad reviews to this group. I was ‘bovine’ – I had to look it up to see how I was being insulted. Now they go back and say I’m Carole Lombard. I think these new films are incredible. Perhaps not as funny as ours were, but I’m predisposed to think that because I was in rehab with Ozzy Osbourne.”
What’s the freakiest piece of Leia merchandise?
“How about the soap – ‘Lather up with Leia and you’ll feel like a princess yourself!’ And then there’s a shampoo where you twist my head off – Freud, anyone? – and you pour liquid out of my neck. If I was predisposed to nightmares, it would be right there. And there’s a badge now that says ‘If you’re not a Pez dispenser, you’re not famous’. I’m a Pez dispenser. You push my head and a wafer comes out of my neck. These are therapy material.”