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


Interview with Andreas Petrides - Obi-Wan's Stunt Double for Episode I

Several weeks ago TheForce.net's Brian Linder had the distinct pleasure of chatting with actor Warwick Davis.  Warwick has enjoyed a successful career as an actor, since his 1983 debut, as Wicket the Ewok, in Return of the Jedi.   His career has come full circle, and Warwick returns to the Star Wars universe in Episode I.   In this exclusive interview with Brian Linder, Warwick discusses Episode I, his take on the Ewoks, and a hilarious never before seen Star Wars short!

Brian: We know you're not allowed to talk much about the prequels, but can you tell us a bit about your role in the new film?

Warwick:  Well, I'd love to tell you, but I've signed a nondisclosure agreement with Lucasfilm. However, I can tell you that my character is 3 feet 6 inches tall. Laughs

Brian:  Very nice! : ) Can you tell us if you play more than one character in Episode I?

Warwick: Yes, I play a number of characters.

Brian: Is one of your characters human and not a creature in costume?  In other words, will we be seeing your face in Episode I?

Warwick: Yes

Warwick on the streets of a desert settlementBrian: How is Mr. Lucas holding up during filming?   Does it appear that directing is any less stressful for him this time around?

Warwick: Yes, he seemed to be enjoying himself.  George has such a precise vision of the "Star Wars" universe as a whole. This knowledge puts him in a unique position as a director, he is able to instruct every production department in working towards that vision. It is this that gives the films their unique continuity of look, story and character.

Brian: Do you have any strong impressions about your fellow cast members from Episode I?

Warwick: Well...Liam Neeson.  Off set, he's just a regular guy. On set, he is a true professional with a strong screen presence. Ewan, is just very laid back, a nice fellow.   Jake is wonderful.  He's doing very well, because he's having to act against a lot of things that aren't actually there. My general impression of the cast was that they were all thrilled to be working on "Episode I", as I was!

Brian: Do you surf the Web much? What places do you go on the Internet? Specifically, do you go to any of the Star Wars sites or discussion groups?

Warwick: Yes, yes.  I think it's fun to go for a little surf and see what's out there. It's interesting to see what people are saying about me.  I like keep up with the latest rumors!  A while back there was a rumor that I was going to do a film with Demi Moore about the take-over of Commodore computers! I often visit "starwars.com" and of course "TheForce.net"!

Brian: I like the sound of that! Have you been offered a role in the 2nd or 3rd prequel?

Warwick: Well...I've certainly hinted enough! Laughs - I have mentioned that I would love to play a baddie in the prequel sequels. Perhaps the Emperor's shorter, nastier cousin! As you know, the timeline of this trilogy will put the 2nd & 3rd prequels in the future a bit from this first one, so there's no telling if I'll play one of the same characters again, or what.

Brian: Do you have any "war stories" about the shoot?

Warwick: It was very hot!  Just very hot! A trench was dug around the shooting location in Tunisia.  It was several feet deep, and was dug to keep all of the desert creepy crawlies away from our camp. Snake catchers were employed to patrol the area and make safe any locations. The cast had tents as dressing rooms, it reminded me of "Lawrence of Arabia", the only difference being that Lawrence didn't have air conditioning in his tent!

Brian: There are two kinds of Star Wars fans in the world.  Those who love Ewoks and those that do not.  What do you think of the varied opinions expressed about Ewoks?

Warwick: Well, I can see both sides.  I love the Ewoks - let's face it, I am a bit biased, Ewoks are the reason my career as an actor is where it is today (no jokes please). However, I can also understand the argument of those who say that they're too cute and don't fit into the "Star Wars" look. I personally like the early concept drawings for the Ewoks that were more primitive. When the costumes were designed various changes had to be made to accommodate the actors, so a compromise was reached. Even if the look did not make it through to the finished film, George's concept of primitive creatures bringing down the technologically advanced Empire certainly did, and it works great.

Brian: In the Star Wars Insider, you mentioned a short Ewok movie that was filmed with all of the principle actors.  What can you tell us about the story of this film, and is there any chance that we might all see it one day?

Warwick: The film is called "Return of the Ewok". It was a short film made by David Thomblin, (1st assistant director on ROTJ) which we shot during lunch breaks while filming "Return of the Jedi". It's actually about me, age 11, trying to decide on a career. I try soccer and weight lifting at Dave Prowse's gym before finally being inspired to "be in the movies" when I see Mark Hamill outside a movie theatre in London. The scene plays out like this: I am looking at movie posters of "Empire" outside a movie theatre, the fight between Vader and Luke is shown, and at the point when Luke backflips out of the shot, he lands outside the movie theatre in London . I tell him - "Go back, you can do it!".  He agrees, goes back in, and continues the fight with Vader. Highlights of the film include me wearing Boba Fetts outfit, Wicket visiting Yoda to get his intergalactic passport. There is a scene between Wicket and Darth Vader in the Emperor's throne room, and a great moment when Wicket visits the dressing rooms of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill & Harrison Ford.

I would love the film to be made available to a wider audience because it really is a priceless piece of "Star Wars" history. It features all of the principle actors, and many other cast members too, so it might be hard to get permission to show it.   They would all have to sign a release.

Brian: We like to close all our interviews on a lighter note. So...was that a real rock that you hit yourself in the head with in Return of the Jedi?  Did they have a stunt actor stand in for you? Hee hee. (Darin made me ask this!)

Warwick:  Laughs - It was actually made of rubber! I still have those rocks at home with my collection of movie props.

Brian: Warwick, thanks very much for this fantastic interview! It's been a great pleasure talking with you!  I'm sure I speak for everyone in saying we look forward to seeing your work in Episode I!

Visit Warwick Davis' Willow Management, a casting agency for short actors!

Coming soon to the web: The Official Warwick Davis Web Site (TheForce.net will let you know when it goes online!)

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