TFN was invited to take part in the virtual press conference for The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special with Anthony Daniels. We were able to hear his thoughts on the idea of another Star Wars Holiday Special along with his involvement, the continuation of C-3PO, working during a pandemic and more.
When asked if he thought C-3PO would remain in the history of cinema like the original robot of the Metropolis movie by Fritz Lang, he responded:
"Yes. I do sincerely believe that. Because like Eva, I think her name was, the robot, C-3PO is an iconic film. And on set, walking to the scenes with the crew, I would regularly say, "Move out to the way. Icon coming through. Holiday icon coming through." And of course, people laughed. 3PO is an icon forever and ever, and he will out-survive me. He will out-survive all of us. Because now with the electronic media, these images as much as Maria and Metropolis exist forever, so will Star Wars and so will 3PO, and I'm very proud about that because I respect him a great deal."Asked whether he would like to see C-3PO appear in The Mandalorian, he said:
"I would love to see C-3PO in The Mandalorian. And I hope you will be talking to the producers on my behalf because my phone is ready."A question was posed asking what memories Anthony had from the first Holiday Special and how being in this new Holiday Special compared to the original:
"First of all, filming it on the set in LA was a dismal, dismal experience. And bear in mind, this is meant to be the happiest day in the life of an Ewok. Not an, Ewok. What are the big ones called? The Wookiees. They will get together. Every religion has its festival days and Life Day is for the Wookiees. And there we were meant to be celebrating this event and there's Mark and Carrie and Harrison and me in this very dark, basically black drapes. It was like a funeral. It was dreadful. And then you watched it and you thought, "I didn't realize it was as dreadful as that." Well, it was. So when the producers came to me and said, "We're going to make a holiday special," I laughed. But as you will find out, it's very, very different and it's charming and it's LEGO that I adore. And 3PO has seen all sorts of things over the years. He's been on the Donny & Marie Osmond Show and the Muppet Show. And he's used to crazy experiences that bring out certain qualities in him. And so long may that go on."
"I got paid."A more personal question was asked about how whether or not Anthony himself was like C-3PO and the answer made us chuckle:
"Yeah, people often ask me what characteristics do I share with Threepio and well, how can I put this? Because I liked him very much and you'd have to ask my wife. I mean, he can be irritating and I'm sure she would deny that I was irritating. He can be a little fussy and I'm sure my wife... I think Threepio would be tidier than I am, I tend to leave a bit of a mess everywhere so people are surprised by that. But one thing I really do like that I share with him is his sense of loyalty that I think loyalty in humans, loyalty to each other, is extremely important. And one of the lovely things in the movies is that Threepio shows great loyalty even to dreadful human beings like Han Solo. Nevertheless, he would want him to be okay, but loyalty to the princess, to Luke Skywalker and of course, to R2-D2. A very, very major important human attribute."
"I think his story is far from over. I am delighted to say the new Star Wars Holiday Special is the latest iteration, not the last I have to tell you, but my lips, I mean, Threepio's lips are sealed. He doesn't have lips, does he have lips? Anyway. There are other things coming up, not major movies but stay tuned. Threepio is too important a character to disappear and I don't believe fans will allow him to disappear. And of course, the important thing is to remember, as somebody was saying earlier about Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Eva the robot there and the wonderful Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, those characters stay alive forever and ever and ever."One reporter mentioned that with this new special, Anthony is the longest tenured Star Wars actor in history and asked what sense of responsibility he feels in helping the franchise stay true to George Lucas's roots and vision the further we get from the original film:
You know, I like being employed, I like working, but one reason it's important that I feel I stay with Threepio is sometimes writers or producers, whatever, get a bit distant from the basic, I would say truths if you like, of the original film. That you meet C-3PO and he's very important in the minds of many, many people because he's the first voice in that first film. And he has a kind of quality that stayed with people and therefore, you have to stay with that quality, whatever the new iteration is, whether it's a film or an animation or it's a LEGO film. And I can do that, not without being crazily controlling about it but I can say, "That's not how he would put things," or "That's not how he would behave in character," because it's very important he stays in character. And sensible and clever and intelligent producers and writers and directors listen to me. Others, I don't work with them."
Well, it's interesting that the original film was called A New Hope and these days we need to feel there is hope and there is lightness, and fun, and joy in life. And without realizing it I think the producers of this film, this LEGO special, have hit the right moment to bring this out because we need, this year, right now in the holiday season, to be reminded that there are good things in life, there are good things to celebrate. It's difficult right now for many, many people in all sorts of different circumstances. And this will, I think, begin a new beginning. I think there will be a holiday special next year. Please can I be in it? I don't know. But this is a little launchpad for a new series. And I said it first, so I want to be there. There's so much for a family to enjoy and if you're not there with a family there is so much warmth in the program that you can relax, be there. Just stop looking out of the window for a moment and just sink into this program. And you'll feel better, I think.A question about if there was any difference in the way Anthony approached playing C-3PO between being in the suit or simply voicing the character was answered:
"The only difference is I'm not wearing the suit. I am there in jeans and a shirt of some kind that doesn't make rustle-y noises in the microphone, so you have to be careful what kind of material you're wearing. Because with 3PO I stand up, I stand as him, so very tight bum, tight stomach, and very tense because he's a tense character, but he moves most of the time when he's talking. And if I'm wearing the wrong clothes, cotton that's a bit sharp or whatever, it can make rustle-y noises, so I had to be very careful to wear sloppy clothes. That way I can remain as physically as 3PO, much to the amazement of any visitors who watch. And they go, "God I can see the costume. I mean, I can see..." If you're watching me people forget that I'm there in the shirt and the jeans, they see the gold. And that's kind of fun for me. So that's the only difference, I ain't wearing the costume. As always... Well in an animation you tend to only have your lines, so always you have to read what, or ask what, the line before was. What was the question that you are answering. But that is second nature to me because in the original film when I talked to R2-D2 they didn't tell me, but R2-D2 never made any sounds, never replied, never beeped or anything until six months later when Ben Burtt, eventually, won an Oscar for being the voice of R2-D2. But way late for me on the set, and I went crazy talking to myself. So now in the studio, being in something like the LEGO special, I just have to imagine what somebody's just said to me or what has happened. And it's there in the stage directions on the script, so it's the same."
"When I decided to write the book I decided it should be as honest as possible, without hurting people, without making stupid fantastic claims, whatever. Just the way it was. And I thought it was important, certainly to me, to say that it was very, very difficult at the beginning, when Lucasfilm tried to pretend that I had nothing to do with the film. That I wasn't that character, I had no input. That I wasn't the puppeteer. Oh right, I had got a little credit on the roll up at the end. That was a very, very hurtful experience. And it's interesting that I had never actually put together what you just said, that 3PO gets pushed around, dumped on, ignored, everything, bullied, through all of these stories. And yeah, now you've made me think about that. But what I do do, in the book, is to come towards the end and say... And I'm not reading it, I'm remembering, that I realized that for several years I'd harbored resentment. And why wouldn't I? There were very serious miscalculations about how to treat a person. That changed over the years, but those resentments did stay very front of the line. Memories of the original holiday special, they stayed somewhere in the back of my mind. And certainly writing about them brought them out again. But then I move on to say that then time changed, that I changed, that I realized that things had moved on. That those hurts would always stay there as hurts, but they weren't going to hurt anymore, unless people brought them up and then they will revive. But now there are better things to talk about. There's lovely things that happened, working with J.J., adorable. Having the enjoyment, and affection, and respect of the fans I realize was an amazing event to happen towards me. And so eventually, as time went on, my stupidity, my hurts, my naiveness, my initial feelings changed, so that I can now happily talk to you about my joy of being part of this program, about other Star Wars events, being part of the whole fan world. But always there will be memories, it would be stupid to deny them. But now I have moved very, very far away from that initial process."
"I do so many jobs that, frankly, I slightly forget. Maybe it was this... I can't remember. But I got some acoustic panels in my office here and I made a tent around the screen and the microphone and it had a lid on it and everything. And it had a light, so I could see scripts. And I did a one hour recording by which point, the sweat was just pouring down my... I wasn't even in the suit, for Heaven's sake. It so replicated my experience on the set in the costume. And I realized that I couldn't do this. Because then a four-hour recording session came up and I knew that wasn't going to work. So now what happens, in lockdown, in COVID, people are very sensible. I now walk out to a studio. I'm buzzed in. I don't have to speak to anybody. They tell me the number of the room I'm going into it. And there I am alone with a microphone that has been sanitized. And behind at least two sheets of glass is the engineer. So he is safe from me. I am safe from him. And the producer director is normally on a screen in front of me, often from Los Angeles. I'm generally in London. And we are all totally safe. I come out. I press, with my elbow, the door-release button. I put on my mask. I walk into the street. I come home. I take off my mask. So everything's safe. And please, everybody who's listening, I have made a career out of wearing a mask and I'm going to say something I've not really said before. I've made a career out of wearing a mask. I want you to save your life by wearing a mask and maybe save the lives of others by wearing a mask. End of preaching it. But I mean it. I'm serious about COVID. I'm serious about taking precautions and you can quote me. 3PO wears a mask. You wear a mask."
"Oh, yeah. On this show, the script was really well formatted. 3PO's involvement is what it is. But normally, yeah. Often, my little suggestions will come when I have a preview of the rough animation, where we're looking to fine tune or indeed just fine tune the voice on top of the animation. But then in a scene, I will notice a moment say, "Hey, we could stick in a comment" or like just in the distance, which makes a program really seem... It improves it. It's like adding a little more salt or pepper, a little hint of garlic. And it just bolds out the original story. Because when you're writing an animation, I think, not that I ever have, but the writers cannot think of every reaction. Unless it's something like Toy Story where you got acres of thousands of people all doing this on a program, resources are slightly more limited. So occasionally I can look at a scene in rough and go, "Hey, we could just slot in a comment there." And that's how it works. And curiously, that's one of the most amusing and entertaining things for me to do because it is highly creative because you're adding color to the scene."We learned some fantastic new things about Anthony during the press conference. Like, who would have thought he left a mess behind? After working with him at conventions and signings for many, many years, and knowing how perfect and particular he likes everything, that was quite funny to hear. Fingers crossed that we'll get to see him in The Mandalorian and we certainly look forward to the next chapter for C-3PO. Special thanks to Disney for inviting us to participate and a very special thanks to Anthony Daniels for taking the time to answer everyone's questions!
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