Our friend and ROTJ actor Gerald Home was nice enough to write in with some holiday greetings along with some exciting professional and personal news.
"My Dear Star Wars friends,
Season's Greetings to you all from me and my alter egos from RETURN OF THE JEDI - Tessek-Squid Head and the Mon Calamari Officer!
My chums at TheForce.Net have kindly agreed to let me tell you all my news - my work, Star Wars and personal news. Several Star Wars fans and Star Wars personalities already know this news, and the time has come for me to tell it to all of you. It's really important to me that as many of you as possible hear my news.
Firstly, I have 2 major new movies to tell you about, both of which will hopefully be coming your way in 2011. I have small parts in both films: LONDON BOULEVARD and CHATROOM.
LONDON BOULEVARD is a London gangster movie and stars Colin Farrell and (Star Wars actress) Keira Knightley, and was written and directed by William Monahan, who won an Oscar for his screenplay of THE DEPARTED. Though filmed in London, it's a big-budget Hollywood movie. I play an undertaker in it, in a cemetery scene with Colin Farrell.
CHATROOM is a psychological drama about a group of teenagers who meet online and encourage each other to do bad things. I play a not-very-pleasant character in a short scene with Aaron Johnson, who many of you know from KICKASS. It was directed by Hideo Nakata, famous for THE RING and DARK WATER. I had a great time working with him and think he's a genius.
It was a joy to work with so many talented people on these 2 films.
LONDON BOULEVARD is currently showing in UK cinemas, and this week is at the Empire, Leicester Square, a famous London cinema complex where all 6 Star Wars films have played at one time or another.
By an incredible coincidence, CHATROOM will start previewing at the Empire, Leicester Square this coming Wednesday, December 22. So, at 9.05 pm on Wednesday, both films will be showing at the same time! I think I must be the only Star Wars actor who can say that he will have 2 of his films showing at the same time, in the same cinema complex!
It's very difficult for British actors like me to get parts in major movies like these, so even though my parts are small, I'm thrilled to be in them - and it's great to see myself and my name on the Big Screen after all these years. Last time was in RETURN OF THE JEDI, in 1983, though this is the first time my face has ever been on the big screen! It's been seen on TV many, many times, but not in the cinema, until now. You see, even at the age of 60 and after 33 years as an actor, you never know what's around the corner! The same is true for all of you.
I do hope many of you will get to see these performances. As I keep saying, they're small parts - but they're good parts, and will let you see what I'm like acting as a human being!
This year, my Star Wars travels took me to Germany, Denmark, Poland and the Czech Republic, Chicago and Minneapolis. All were great experiences. At Movie Park Germany, where I was the guest along with over 120 members of the German Garrison, I paraded in a car with the only "other" Tessek in the world, Carsten Sacher of the GG. At the end of the parade, Carsten and the GG presented me with a Tessek mask for me to keep, which Carsten had made for me. It was a spectacular occasion. (Photo attached of me with Carsten and my mask.) Hopefully many of you will see the mask over the coming months and years as I travel to conventions and events.
Finally, my personal news: for the past 3 years, I've been having an adventure - a medical adventure - with what I call "Mr C" - cancer. Prostate cancer, to be exact. The good news is that I've been having treatment and I was told very recently that I am now "cancer-free", and the cancer has gone.
It was a total surprise to me when I was told I had cancer because I didn't have any symptoms: I felt very healthy, the same as always, with absolutely no problems or feeling that something was wrong.
It was a routine blood test near the end of 2007 that showed my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) reading was high. That was followed by monthly blood tests, and the PSA got higher each month. I had a biopsy, and that confirmed that I had very early stage cancer.
I was lucky that it was discovered very, very early. I could have had treatment last year, but decided to wait and see if the cancer grew. My PSA results were higher and higher each month, and I had a second biopsy, which showed that the cancer had grown a little - and finally I had treatment in February this year.
Because it was very early stage, I was able to have a treatment called Brachytherapy. That means internal radiotherapy - little radioactive "seeds" are implanted inside the body, and they kill the cancer over several months.
I was treated at the fantastic Royal Marsden Hospital here in London, where many other Star Wars personalities have also been treated. Every step of theway, I met doctors and nurses and other medical people who had children who are Star Wars fans, and I always had to take along signed photos for them! This made it all very friendly and stress-free. You know you're in good hands when your oncologist plays Star Wars music on his iphone when you meet him, which is what he did with me! One day soon I'll organise a Star Wars event at the hospital, with Star Wars costume fans, as a fund-raiser and thank you to the staff at the hospital.
So now that I'm cancer-free, why am I telling you all this?
Because I want to point out to you that prostate cancer is very easy to treat, and can be easily beaten - if it is discovered early enough. For that reason, here is some advice for all of you:
Guys: next time you go to your doctor, ask to have a PSA (blood) test. I know we men are very bad at doing things like that, but this is something Squid Head is telling you to do, so you have no option!
Gals: you all have men in your lives - fathers, brothers, uncles, friends, husbands, lovers, whatever: tell them to have their PSA tested next time they go to the doctor.
Don't wait until there are symptoms, because by then it may be too late. Remember - I didn't have any symptoms, just as Dave Prowse didn't have any symptoms before he was diagnosed.
I told Dave about my cancer, and we both agreed about something that I'd like to share with you: neither of us was devastated when we were told we had cancer, and we didn't let it destroy or take over our lives. Speaking for myself, I simply thought, "Ok, this is something I've got that I now must get rid of."
I never let cancer dominate me in any way. So please remember: early discovery gives you the best chance of getting rid of this horrible disease, so please be vigilant and get those PSA tests!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year to all of you. See you in Star Wars Fanland.
Gerald Home is an all-around nice guy who loves the fans. We wish Gerald the very best in his career, but more importantly, with continued good health. You can get more information about Gerald's new films, including images and trailers, at their IMDB pages: