A 1977 Interview Shows Mark Hamill Breaking Down Over George Lucas' Terrible Dialogue

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 - 3:57PM
Star Wars
Wednesday, 25 January 2017 - 3:57PM
A 1977 Interview Shows Mark Hamill Breaking Down Over George Lucas' Terrible Dialogue
Image credit: Antenna TV, YouTube
George Lucas is a great many things. A visionary creator. A brilliant craftsman. The brains behind both ILM and Skywalker Sound, which have set industry standards since they were created. One thing he is not, however, is a great wordsmith. Lucas, who penned the original script to A New Hope as well as the prequel movies, often clashed on set with his actors over some of the word salads he wanted the actors to perform.

Carrie Fisher used to revel in making fun of Lucas in interviews and Harrison Ford was known to try and alter how things were phrased to make them appear less stiff. In fact, one of the biggest complaints about the prequel movies (among many others) was how clunky the dialogue felt. While it's certainly not easy to write a screenplay, especially one that is inventing new languages and worlds at the same time, much of what was written still sounded stilted and full of exposition instead of actual conversation.

An old 1977 interview with Mark Hamill on The Johnny Carson Show helps to illuminate this problem quite clearly. According to Hamill:

Opening quote
"...it's a true story, Harrison Ford, who plays the space pirate in the film, at one point threatened to tie George up and make him say his own lines at gun point. I mean, the dialogue was a little bit difficult..."
Closing quote


Then Hamill mentions how he begged Lucas to take out one particular piece of dialogue from the script. While Lucas eventually did, the fact that Hamill is able to recite it live for the entire audience shows how it had been seared into his memory. Skip to 3:20 to get the whole experience:



Listening to it, it's hard not to cringe a bit and realize that just like alchemy, a good screenplay boils down all of the exposition that exists in a story to just the bare essentials. The original trilogy has been the measuring stick for all subsequent Star Wars media, so it's a little disturbing to hear that they could have included the 70's equivalents of the "I don't like sand" speech.

[Via THR]
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Star Wars