e shooting. "Alec came up to me one day, and said 'Guess
what? I'm going to get killed.' I asked him when, and he looked
quite puzzled and said 'I don't really know.' The whole him
went like that.
Looking back, says Daniels, he's amazed at how well
the film turned out. And, he adds, very proud. "I think
that George did a very difficult thing very well, lie's
certainly earned any laurels he gets from the film."
Daniels says that Lucas arranged for a private
screening of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey
before his troupe left for their first Tunisian
"It seemed to me before, and it was certainly
reinforced by the screening, that the real hero of
that film was Douglas Rain, the Canadian actor
who plays the voice of HAL, the computer. ,
Every time I see a red light flashing in a re
cording studio, signifying that a session is takine
place, I am reminded of that scene where HAL is
finally turned off. It's amazing in that film, all you
have is a light and a voice, and ever since then you've had
people discussing HAL's character. When we were discussing
voices for 3P0, the first reference we had for what a robot sounded
like was Rain.
"Now, if you've seen. Star Wars, you realize that what we've done for
3P0 is turn HAL around. 3P0 is always on the verge of being hyster
ical, and HAL is always very calm everything that happens, no
matter how drastic, he sees it as just another problem that must be
surmounted, and treats it very calmly and wastes no energy. Even at
the end when he's being suffocated, HAL merely suggests that it's
hurting him at the same volume and in the same tone of voice that
he would give any other communication. In the same position, 3P0
would be beating the ground, saying 'I give in, I give in!' He
wouldn't want to be hurt. He wouldn't even like thinking about the
chance of being hurt."
Though Daniels was the C3P0 character through the film's shoot
ing, it became clear that there was a question as to whether his
would be the voice of the robot. "We all knew from the beginning
that all of the voices would have to be dubbed in later. There was no
way that I could be heard clearly through the mouthpiece in the
head. I'd have to shout to get anything across, and even that would
"On the other hand, 3P0 is so much of a character that the body,
voice, and even his attitude are integrated. It would be impossible
for me to do one without the others. So I read all of the lines, in
character, while we were shooting.
"As time wore on, I would ask when we were going to do the
dubbing. And the answers that producer Gary Kurtz gave me
were always very evasive. It wasn't until after the film was released
that I found out that George had auditioned thirty other actors for
their voices before deciding to use mine, after all."
A number of other actors fared less well; many of the lesser char
acters' voices were dubbed by anonymous actors with American
accents, ". . . in order to smooth out the sound. We wound up with
Alec Guiness, Peter Cushing and myself speaking English, if you see
what I mean, and the rest doing whatever you Americans do w ith
the language." Though British actor David Prowse is given screen
credit as the evil war lord Darth Vader, and Prowse docs wear the
suit throughout the picture, the dubbed voice is that of James Ear
Jones one of the worst-kept secrets in cinema history.
Daniels' costume took several months to build; even so, he refers
to it as a "rush job." He was nearly stripped, and then wrapped in
wet plaster from which a life-sized mold was eventually made. Star
Wars' costume designers then built the C3P0 suit to fit him exactly.
Or as exactly as the materials could be made.
The suit itself was something out of The Wizard of Oz- Built for
appearance first, with comfort of only secondary importance, it was
constructed of Fiberglas, aluminum, rubber, cloth, and plastic. The
eye assemblies alone give some idea of the complexity involved: in
front were gold slats, which Daniels describes as "vertical Venetian
blinds." Behind those were three little light bulbs, backed by a
reflecting mirror. Behind that was a colored lens, behind that a
black background, and behind that, Daniels' eye. The entire as
sembly was Vi inches thick, with only a tiny pinpoint for the actor
to see through straight ahead.
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"The result was sometimes quite amusing. It was absolute tunnel
vision. So I would sometimes miss the mark where I was supposed to
stop, and then wander away randomly looking for it. Or talk to
somebody who might have wandered away minutes before."
The rest of 3P()'s body offered little more mobility. The chest and
back pieces were Fiberglas, with aluminum shoulders and arms. I lis
cotton gloves had plastic lucks, steel lingers, and manv decorative
wires. Around his stomach was something that Daniels refers to dis
tastefully as "a sort of rubber corset very good fiir slimming, as it
was always quite hot inside." He wore plastic shorts, and Fiberglas
legs and leet.
"Even after you've gotten over the claustrophobia and have
anted how to move verv slowly there's still the physical pain.
I'he costume was very tight: if I'd gained a pound, I wouldn't have
, been able to fit into it. And. it was very heavy. But it was also
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like knife edges of Fiberglas. The first time 1 put on the
suit took four hours. It was our first location. I was
y only able to walk a lew steps without having to
siop aiiogcincr. 1 lie pain was unhcaramc. i.veu
tually, at least some of those cliscomfiirts were
seen to, though it was still hot, heavy, and
difficult to mov e."
Even the slightest movement became an effort
for Daniels. And so he takes pride in actions that
may slip by any but the most careful viewer.
"Mark asks me to pick upa pair of handcuffs, and
I turn around and pick them up. It's all very neat,
and takes place in a couple of seconds. What
people don't realize is that for half an hour 1 stood
there, moving backwards and forwards, placing
the handcuffs exactly where 1 wanted them to be
when I turned around. ()l course, v iewers aren't
supposed to know how difficult that was. But I
think that it was wonderful."
If C3P0 was difficult for all concerned, his
companion, R'JD2, was all but impossible. Fans
call R2 "an endearing, talking lire plug," and
consider the squat robot to be a Stan Laurel to
C3P0's Oliv er Hardy. To the crew, R2 wasn't all
that cute, and anything but funny.
There were three R2s, says Daniels, each
presenting its own particular set of problems.
The first was, like 3P0, (it to contain a man; in
this case the actor was a midget, Kenny Baker.
But even with a man inside, R2 was less than
completely mobile. "He was able to rock the
robot from side to side," Daniels explains, "or
mov e the head around a bit. Or, be could push an
arm out a bit, alter which a man w ith a hydraulic
arrangement would push it out the rest of the way w hich was
invariably too far."
The second R2D2 was a totally empty shell, pulled by a lengthy
cable. It's the model that is seen early on, when R2 and 3 I'D are
crossing the desert. What is not seen is the cable breaking every so
The third R2 was radio controlled, by an operator standing a lew
lee! away with a remote-control transmitter. "1 think that there must
have been a lot of interference on the set from walkie-talkies that the
crew were using for communication. And they were giving the
remote-control R2 'headaches' that were sending him berserk.
"It was like a lottery, guessing w hat R2 was going to do. Generally,
though, it was the opposite of what it was supposed to. If he was
supposed to go left, R2 would go right and often into me. Other
times, he'd walk into a wall."
To the great relief of all concerned,. SVcer H'ars technicians have since
come up with a fourth R2; one that works accurately by remote
control. This is the model used for personal appearances, ami would
presumably be featured in my Slar Wars sequels.
And what of.SVrtc II 'urs' sequel:1 Daniels says enigmatically that he
"has been approached." But would he be interested in such a project.'
"I can't honestly say that I would be anxious to repeat the physical
hardship that went on throughout the project. On the other hand, it
would probably be possible now to construct a G3PD suit that would
ook like the old one, but which would be more comfortable to wear
and easier to mov e around."
And what about money? Is that a major consideration?
"I was never too good at negotiations; that's why I hav e an agent.
On the other hand, I don't want the producers to think that I'd do the
part for practically nothing ... a second time. But really, the most
)ortant thing for an actor is to be working."
s ... ..'....
Daniels pauses, and smiles with a slightly evil sweetness.
Have I made myself clear?"
AW Porter's Just ofiiaiiancr was in Keynotes, the C.apitul
Record Club mag(izine-calah, back in VMH. He hasn't looked
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