Do you sense a disturbance in the Force? Maybe that’s because May 25 will be the 40th anniversary of the original release of Star Wars in theaters in 1977. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, we’ll be posting Star Wars stories all month, including choice vintage interviews, original videos, and some of our favorite pieces from years past. Just keep coming back here all month to see what’s happening in our galaxy.
If there’s one thing the cast of the original Star Wars trilogy could agree on, it’s Harrison Ford’s famous assessment of George Lucas’ dialogue: “You can type this s—, George, but you sure can’t say it.” Carrie Fisher paraphrases that quote in this interview above, most likely recorded by 20th Century Fox’s publicity department on the set of The Empire Strikes Back in 1979. (Fisher is wearing Princess Leia’s hairstyle and jacket from the Cloud City departure scene.)
“You’re given lines sometimes two minutes before the scene goes on, impossible dialogue to say,” she tells the camera with a laugh, adding as an example, the line “You’ll never get this bucket of bolts past that blockade.” (Ironically, she got this quote a little wrong; Leia’s actual line, “This bucket of bolts’s never gonna get us past that blockade,” is even more of a tongue twister.)
Fisher goes on to explain that there’s no time during filming to question the script. “A lot of times I don’t know what the dialogue means,” she admits. “You can’t say, ‘Wait, wait stop everything, stop all the explosives and the special effects! Excuse me. Now, when I’m saying this thing about all the troops in Sector 12 to the south slope — well, what is Sector 12?'”
Furthermore, she says, there’s not much use in questioning every little detail, because a lot of those exposition-laden lines are placeholders that will be replaced with other lines in post-production. “It’s like, I guess, doing an Italian film,” she jokes, likely referring to the fact that Hollywood movies are routinely dubbed in Italian, rather than subtitled, for release in Italy. (Either that, or she’s talking about the 1960s “spaghetti Westerns” that were shot with European actors and dubbed over in English.) Regardless, that line about sending troops to Sector 12 actually did make it into the final cut of The Empire Strikes Back; you can hear it when Leia and Han evacuate the Rebel base during the Battle of Hoth.
Fisher may have joked about her difficulties with Star Wars dialogue, but she was rarely tongue-tied. Here’s another interview from 1977, when Fisher and her co-stars were promoting A New Hope in France. While Harrison Ford sits silently smoking a cigarette, Fisher talks to the interviewer about the lack of strong roles for women…in French.
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