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Face To Face With The Masters

Any citizen of the galaxy may be summoned to answer to the Jedi Council. Here you may read the transcripts of such sessions.

Cellblock 1138 - 1997-1999 - 2000 - 2002 - 2003+


Debbie Lee Carrington - an Ewok in Return of the Jedi

Tinman, Nov. 13, 1997

I managed to secure a phone interview with Debbie Carrington, a stunt actress who played an Ewok in Return of the Jedi. Debbie was wonderful to talk to, and her recollections of filming the movie seem all the more relevant now that a new Star Wars move is once again in the making. We talked for more than half an hour, and also discussed some of her other movies, such as Men in Black, Total Recall, and Titanic, but I had to leave some of this out in the interests of space.


TM: Well, first of all, I wanted to find out which Ewok you actually were.

DLC: I'm in a lot of fight scenes with stormtroopers, but there's one scene in particular that is actually pretty memorable, in which, I think, the only Ewok was actually killed.

TM: You're in that one?

DLC: Well, a mine goes off, and my friend gets blown up, and I go and pat his little body and he doesn't wake up, and I kind of mourn for a minute, and then I have to run off. It's funny, though, cause a lot of people remember that scene.

TM: I know. That death scene is played out more than most death scenes in Star Wars. What was your impression of the filming of ROTJ, and what memorable moments did you have?

DLC: Well, it's funny, cause we were in the redwood forest at the very top of California. It was just beautiful, unbelievable. You knew you were part of something really important, really special. While we were up there, they hired a choreographer to work with us. I guess there were about forty little people at first, and it dwindled down, because it was really, really hard work, and certain people couldn't deal with it. We worked with the choreographer. It was easy work, first of all. We'd do a little bit of stretching, and a little bit of dancing. We started working on how to walk. The choreographer would throw a ball across the room, and we'd all have to go after it playfully, not at all like being a human. It was a real creative process developing how the Ewoks would do things. After we had rehearsed for a while without our costumes, they brought us our costumes. At first, we rehearsed with huge foam pads that we would wear beneath our costumes. We'd tumble around and waddle around, climb around. Then, once we got used to that, we got the fur. That was a whole different ballgame, because it was totally restricting. You were like the marshmallow man, you know. And then, the final thing was rehearsing with the heads on, and we couldn't see much of anything. The eyeballs were plexiglas. Some of the leading Ewoks, of course, had animatronic eyes, but the majority of us had glass eyes. We would be so dripping wet, it was like a sauna in there, that as soon as you got the head on, the eyes would fog up.

TM: So you couldn't really see anything.

DLC: Half the time we were running around the forest, tripping and bumping into each other.

TM: I suppose that from what you could see, you must've had a good laugh at each other.

DLC: Oh yeah. I remember one scene where all the Ewoks were supposed to pop out from behind a log and run across and attack the stormtroopers. All of us were blind and tripping and everyone fell over. It was pretty funny.

TM: It must have been.

DLC: Yeah. We had to learn our steps, where to avoid the vines.

TM: How old were you at the time?

DLC: I think, at the time I was twenty-two.

TM: Warwick Davis played the leading actor...

DLC: Yeah...

TM: ...was he a pretty good actor? What was your impression of him?

DLC: At the time, he was a really young boy (about 12). I thought he did a very good job. He brought a lot of emotion to Wicket, and I thought he did a great job.

TM: Yes. He seems to have stayed in Lucas's good favor, too.

DLC: He did. A handful of us did a couple of movies for television, the Ewok movies.

TM: Oh, you did those too?

DLC: Yeah, I played Weechee, Wicket's older brother.

TM: I guess Richard Marquand was directing Return of the Jedi...

DLC: Um, yes. Lucas was there a good fifty percent of the time. I remember when we first put our Ewok costumes on, we had to get in a lineup and give an example of our Ewok movements. We had to run across, dodge behind a rock, stuff like that, to see what kind of personalities we portrayed, so he could choose the leading Ewok roles.

It was funny, cause during the shooting, people were always trying to find our location of the set, so they could sneak on during shooting.

TM: Kind of like today, I guess. So, were you already a Star Wars fan when you got the part in ROTJ?

DLC: Well, it's funny, 'cause I don't normally do sci-fi films, but I think I've gained an appreciation for them, because I've seen the work and all the stuff that goes into making them.

TM: It's a bit different than your average movie, I guess.

DLC: Yeah, it really is.

TM: So, did you catch the Special Editions this year when they came out? Did you see yourself on the big screen once again?

DLC: No, I didn't! That was in spring, when I was down doing Titanic.

TM: If you ever got the chance, would you work for Lucas again? Would you make a Star Wars movie?

DLC: Oh, I would love to work with Lucas again, he is such a nice man. The whole company up there...is really family-oriented, and great to work with.

When ROTJ came out, me and one other Ewok girl went travelling with Lucas, promoting the movie. We got to fly to Denver for the world premiere. We went to this stadium in Denver. We wanted to surprise John Williams, who was conducting a symphony in Star Wars. While he was in the middle of conducting the symphony, we came out in our Ewok suits. We came sneaking out and speared him in the butt. He jumped, turned around and and started dancing with us! Yeah, it was fun, it took him by surprise.

Oh, I'd love to work for Lucas again. I was hoping there'd be, you know, something going on with the Prequels right now, but so far it hasn't worked out.

TM: Well, you never know. Well, thank you very much! It's been nice talking to you!

DLC: You're welcome! Good luck with the site!

To contact Debbie Carrington, write to:

Debbie Lee Carrington
c\o Jonis
8147 Tunney Ave.
Reseda, CA
91335

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