Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher & Harrison Ford
before the release of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
About the interview...
The disc with label I made available back in 2007. They're all gone now, but you can listen to some highlight clips from the recording...
You can get the full, original, unedited 30 min. interview on iTunes by doing a search for "Courtland Shakespeare."
It's an audio MP3 file.
...or you can go to CD BABY by clicking on the 'Buy the album" button.
...or you can go to Amazon to get it for $0.99
...or you can go to emusic to get it for $0.99
Yes, that is a photo of me from 1977 when I was an undergraduate student at University. It would have been great to have a photo together with Mark, Carrie and Harrison, but no one had a camera or cell phone handy back then.
was a once-in-a-lifetime interview and I didn't even know it. It took
place at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto in the Spring of 1977 before Star Wars was released into movie
theatres. I had no idea who the three actors were at the time...Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison
This is my original, unedited recording of the interview. I was just taping for notes on a cheap little cassette recorder. This recording was not for broadcast, so they do speak very openly and candidly, with no reservations. Although I ended up spending the entire morning with them before they went off to lunch somewhere, I only had a 30 minute tape.
Harrison talks about George's "ethical choice" in making the film and how important it would be IF it was successul (my emphasis) at the box office. They all comment and discuss the film's dialog, their characters, and what it was like during the making of this phenomenal movie...
It was all so new to them. It was like they were talking about it for the first time. No one had any idea what was going to happen - not even George! He had gone off to Hawaii with Steven Spielberg all stressed out from anxiety and the problems of getting the film completed.
Here's how it happened...
A friend at 20th Century Fox told me there was going to be a Sci Fi/Fantasy film coming out that I should watch for. She knew I was a fan of Sci Fi and also really into film music. At the time, I was writing for a rock music magazine calledCheap Thrills and she thought maybe I could write a piece about the soundtrack.
So I did an interview on the phone with Charles Lippincott (who was the original marketing director for Star Wars). He told me about the music. I was excited by what he said. Meanwhile, he had been brought in to do the marketing and publicity, but his options were very limited. There was no media campaign. The studio didn't make funds available for promotion. There were no toys or action figures available. All that was to come...but AFTER Christmas!
When I got the call to do the interview with the three stars of the film, I was a bit taken aback. I didn't know much about them or what they had done. I knew Carrie Fisher had been in Shampoo with Warren Beatty, but it was a small part and she seemed awfully young. Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford were practically unknown to me.
The movie was going to open the following week and I had not seen it yet. There had not been a preview screening I could attend, although the picture had opened in selected cities and was doing surprisingly well. The rest of the world had no idea what was coming...
It was a sunny, warm, weekday morning. They were staying at the Royal York Hotel in a huge suite. The window was open. On the recording, you can hear traffic outside. There were coffee and snacks in the room - Carrie held danishes up to her ears, but I didn't know what that meant at the time. I thought it was particularly odd. The other two laughed - honestly! I am not kidding! I have since seen this done, but Carrie really did it that day and, maybe, it could have been the first time.
Every once in a while you can also hear a spoon or a cup rattle. At one point someone bumps a service gong. It's all very casual. The studio people left us alone and we just talked. Harrison sat on the couch beside me. Carrie pulled over a chair and Mark sat on the floor in front of me - near the tape recorder. Mark and Harrison were in casual jeans and cotton shirts. Carrie was in a very small cream-coloured satin dressing gown lightly held together by a thin satin belt - she was very hot.
This is a unique moment in time, because the film really changed the world and brought back family entertainment.