THE Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher, graced the Supanova Pop Culture Expo 2013 FilmInk theatre with her presence, and we all hung on her every word.
The geek icon made a grand entrance, accompanied by the 501st, Rebel Legion, Mandalorian Mercs and remote controlled R2-D2s (noises, flashing lights and all). Unfortunately, we couldn’t snap any pictures for you fine readers, because we were informed before her arrival that our special guest had requested no photos be taken during the panel…started off the session on a sour note, but once she made her way onto the stage, she captivated everyone with her innate charm and edgy, sometimes self-deprecating sense of humour. The following are some highlights (partially paraphrased) from the Q&A.
Carrie’s favourite scene to shoot from Star Wars was the first topic. She named one of the more memorable moments;
I really enjoyed killing Jabba the Hutt. And I recommend that any time you have the opportunity to kill a giant slug…I’m begging you to do it! You jut need a really heavy chain, and really you can saw their neck off! Anyway, I’m here to say, that has really made my life better. […] Learn that, it’s the main thing I can teach you.
She says she may even use that for the title of her next autobiography – which she is currently writing – “‘Kill Giant Sea Slugs When You Can…And Let That Make You Happy’ No, it’s too long.” Carrie also played extremely coy regarding Disney‘s future Star Wars entries, calling them “just a rumour”. Her wit was displayed all throughout the Q&A;
Audience Member: As the main female character in a male dominated cast that influenced an entire generation, did you feel any pressure –
Carrie: – to go through the whole cast like wildfire? Oh, not at all! [Laughter]
Audience Member: No, to either at the time or later to be a role member for young women?
Carrie: Not consciously, but I think subconsciously that was my destiny. I’m a really bad role model though for some things, so don’t follow me for everything. But wear those clothes if you have a good body! And really give men as much shit as you possibly can. [Applause] They deserve it; they’ve earned it over time. It’s ours to give.
Carrie then explained her initial thoughts on the character and story when first reading the script;
I read the story out loud with a friend of mine, Miguel Ferrer – who became an actor – and we both wanted to play the part of Han Solo ’cause that was the best part. But it read fantastic. […] I mean I couldn’t imagine how they were going to pull it off so I definitely wanted to be in it given that they had a chance at pulling it off. So when I got the part, they told me I had to lose 15 pounds – I’ve since gained it back – so I thought I better lose that or they’ll fire me. So I kept thinking that they would realise they’d made a mistake, so I kept very quiet – which if you know me is unbelievable – and so when they put that awful hairstyle on me, that I’ve grown to love, they asked ” what do you think of this?” and I said “it’s fantastic”. So that’s why that exists. So I did whatever they said.
Now that Disney owns the Star Wars license, how does Carrie feel about her animated company?;
Well, I hope there’s like a support group for the princesses. You know, “I’m Carrie and I’m a damsel not in distress” and stuff like that. […] So my peers are now Minnie Mouse and Sleeping Beauty, and I think that’s appropriate, and if you knew me you’d understand and you’d think it was right too.
The next question is one that many actors have had to answer in the past – how awkward is screen-kissing, really?
Well Harrison has said that he doesn’t like screen-kissing. It is weird; it’s kissing for money, and there’s something a little more extreme for that and there’s a word for it. I really enjoy watching other people screen kiss; Notorious – the movie with Cary Grant and Ingred Bergman – has the best screen kiss going ’cause they used to have a limit on how long you could hold the kiss which was 18 seconds or something, so they kept breaking it and talking and then kissing again. It’s fantastic. […] It’s certainly far from hot, I don’t think I can get more clear than that. And you’re very caught up in memorising your lines so you’re not apt to sort of go “ooh, wow…” or “ugh!”. You can’t, because you have your mind on this whole other thing. So the kissing is more than secondary.
Some in attendance saw fit to waste a question asking something that had already been asked. In this case, it was a child making the enquiry, so I’ll let it slide (I am the authority on these things after all). And so, Carrie was again asked what her favourite scene to shoot was, but across her whole career;
Well, like I said, I really liked killing Jabba. I liked shooting at John Belushi over and over and over again. And retrospectively, at the time I didn’t like it but, I do like seeing myself in the metal bikini because I did look good then, and I didn’t know it. So now I can look back and say “man, I should’ve paid attention”.
Back in 1978, punters predicted that Star Wars would be a flop. It was an entirely new and foreign concept, and people are scared of “new”. So the question was posed – were the actors and studio aware of this, and if so, did it have an effect on them?
Nobody knew. I mean I remember seeing it and thinking “wow, I’ve never seen anything like that”, but I was watching it two ways; I was thinking what a fat face that girl has and “what a cool movie!”. If they’d known it was gonna be a big hit they wouldn’t necessarily have booked us on a press tour of America – it didn’t need it. So they booked it like we were gonna have to slag this unpopular horse, and it was a very popular horse. So we just went around America and we were treated like rockstars!
As a side note at this point, apparently when Carrie gets serious she becomes British. She also joked that she wears the famous metal bikini while cleaning her dishes and vacuuming around the house. Focus then shifted to her interactions with Kevin Smith and if she had any stories from working on Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back;
No, not really. No, the only thing that I remember was that I almost got into a fight with Kevin. Because he believed – and this was when the internet was practically stone-age – someone that had told him that I said “Eh!” about the movie, and so he wrote me this frightening email. And he wrote me something not really nice about how they didn’t want to laugh at my tired jokes on set. And then he said he was sorry. Mainly I talked to Silent Bob about his heroin addiction and we had a lot of story swapping to do.
Wonder what her favourite scene or line from Star Wars was? Sound like a familiar question? Again…she really liked killing Jabba! Stop asking about it!;
“Put that thing away or you’re going to get us all killed!” […] I say that to naked men all the time. My favourite part of it? I keep telling you I liked killing that animal but you won’t believe mee! […] I like yelling things at people.
Harrison Ford is a tad bit notorious for being a grumpy guss on set. So what did Carrie have to say on the matter, from her own personal experiences shooting with him?;
Okay, well you know everybody in the early morning on set is not gonna be someone you want to talk to. But Harrison can be a lot of fun on set, but we were all kind of concentrating a lot. But Harrison can be a very serious guy, depending on how many beers he’s had. I got to be the only girl in an all boy fantasy, so that was fun and I was 19 years old – Harrison was 33 so he wasn’t skipping around and stuff.
This may seem like a no-brainer, as Carrie addresses her favourite piece of memorabilia from Star Wars;
Well, people keep asking me if I have the metal bikini, like I was wearing it that day and said “can I wear this home? Because I’m feeling really good in it.” That was actually made out of plastic or something so it was really uncomfortable.
This next answer was absolutely hilarious and shows just how witty and quick-on-her-feet Carrie is. She ad-libbed her ideal plot and storyline for the next Star Wars trilogy to be directed by J.J. Abrams. This is the tale she hopes is told;
That Harrison and I have been unhappily married for many, many years and that we speak through the wookies. We won’t talk to each other, you know, while we get some kind of translator or something. You know, like “R2, go tell that son of a bitch that I don’t…” And that we have children, but one of them looks a lot like Chewbacca. And they’re trying to get us to go to marital therapy with Yoda, as he’s opened a practice now on a planet somewhere, and that we do a lot of girl things this time. The men come with me and get waxed – I want Chewie to get waxed for sure. And that we do a lot of shopping, ’cause there could be some really cool things to buy now on Alderon – Alderon means mall in Tattooine. Roughly that’s the idea. And that I start sleeping with robots. Or I yell at him when I think he’s looking at one of the robot’s screws.
Another common question for celebrities of any kind – what was her reaction to seeing an action figure of her likeness for the very first time?;
I probably wanted to put it in a stew. Because it looks like an ingredient, doesn’t it? When something is ingredient sized, and it’s you, that’s confusing. I think I did go into therapy – I was already in therapy, but I had more to talk about! I wish that being merchandised was aerobic, but it’s not.
I’ve already mentioned the 501st, Rebel Legion and the rest of her entourage, but up until now they were simply mannequins, stood by the sides of the stage while Carrie regaled us with stories. But for this next question, the presence of one member of the lot in particular – Darth Vader (not, not really him…he’s dead, right?!), really enhanced the answer. What was it like finding out that Darth Vader was her father?;
Isn’t that a bitch?! I mean, I’ve never really done well in that department. I mean I love my father…but none of the fathers I’ve had have actually been dads, you know? I mean, look at Darth; he doesn’t look like someone that would come to school on Father’s Day or help you with your homework. But it would be interesting if he did. Or walk me down the aisle and give me away.
Before Star Wars was released, there had definitely been some great science-fiction movies, but it really blew up with George Lucas’ space opera. A younger member of the audience was wondering if Carrie ever had an interest in the genre, and if she does now;
I liked 2001 and pretended I knew what it was about. I saw it when I was like 13 and someone asked me what it was about and I think I said, “infinity”. […] I really like 3D. Anything that people – not me – who take hallucinogens, which your Mum will explain later, would like to watch, I would like to watch also.
And finally, comedy fans out there will appreciate this question – what was it like shooting that episode of 30 Rock with Alec Baldwin and the rest of that amazing cast?;
My favourite thing was that they did let me be the technical consultant on how many prescription bottles should be on the set of an addict. So I had to cut it down; they had too many pills and it didn’t look realistic. A real addict would hide them.
To end on a feel-good moment, when asked what her greatest achievement in her life has been, Carrie said her daughter. Awww. “She’s a grade-A student, and she’s at NYU and she’s pretty and she likes me now!”. Oh and we came away from the session breathing a sigh of relief…if you’ve ever been concerned that Carrie may lose it one day and go on a rampage down your street in a tank, she says she’s “not good of a driver, so that would be tricky.” I can sleep easy now.