July 1, 2017

Darth Vader Speaks ~ David Prowse 1980 interview

“Some fans are curious about certain anatomical questions. They know I’m tall, big in stature, so they figure . . . Well, you get the idea, don't you?”

Darth Vader Speaks 
photo © Lucasfilm 
courtesy 20th Century Fox
detail photo of article by Styrous®

Today, July 1, is the birthday of David Prowse. In case you don't know who that is, he portrayed the physical Darth Vader in the film Star Wars.  

In my life I have had many fictional heroes, Superman, Batman, Flash Gordon, James Bond, The Flash, etc. Not actually a hero, but still in this Pantheon, Darth Vader is one of them. My admiration extended to portraying Vader in my Love Act on Broadway (link below). Vader, also known by his birth name, Anakin Skywalker, is a fictional character from the Star Wars film series (link below).    

Originally a Jedi prophesied to bring balance to the Force, he falls to the dark side of the Force and serves the evil Galactic Empire at the right hand of his Sith master, Emperor Palpatine (also known as Darth Sidious). He is also the father of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa, grandfather of Kylo Ren, and secret husband of Padmé Amidala.          

Darth Vader was physically portrayed by David Prowse, MBE, in the original Star Wars prequel trilogy. The stunt performer Bob Anderson filled in as Vader in the lightsaber fight scenes, whereas James Earl Jones provided the voice for Vader (link below). Prowse claims he was originally told that he would be seen and heard at the end of Return of the Jedi when Vader's mask was removed. Instead, actor Sebastian Shaw was used.      

Prowse was born on July 1, 1935, and is an English bodybuilder, weightlifter and character actor in British film and television. He had a role as Julian, the bodyguard of F. Alexander (Patrick Magee), in the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange. It was this film in which he was noticed by director George Lucas. His greatest fame, however, is portraying Darth Vader.  

The David Prowse Interview
by George Haddad-Garcia 

Darth Vader Speaks
photo © Lucasfilm
courtesy 20th Century Fox
photo of article by Styrous®

Lurking behind this sinister mask of super-villain, Darth Vader, who made a welcome reappearance in the Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, is a 6 foot, 7 inch one time British heavyweight weightlifting champion, now intent on recognition as an actor and not just a strong man.  
David Prowse, who prefers to be called Dave, is a sort of mild-mannered monolith, the original gentle giant. “the trouble is,’ he said, “because of my size I get to play all sorts of weird parts, including two different monsters in two Frankenstein movies. Producers just don't think I can play an ordinary individual, even though I am married with three children. 
Dave admits that the tall mysterious Darth Vader has his share of gay fans, and that several bars in London have featured a space-night during which patrons like to dress up in capes, leather and masks resembling the Vader mask. “It's what they call hi camp,” he smiles. “some gay fans write that Darth Vader is their ideal dream man, the Tall, Dark One. I guess that's because he's very powerful and forceful. 

Darth Vader Speaks article detail
photo © Lucasfilm
courtesy 20th Century Fox
detail photo by Styrous®

Darth Vader has become one of the most iconic villains in popular culture, and has been listed among the greatest villains and fictional characters ever. The American Film Institute listed him as the third greatest movie villain in cinema history on 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains, behind Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates. However, other critics consider him a tragic hero, citing his original motivations for the greater good before his fall to the dark side.

In 2008, Prowse was one of the cast members featured in Bring Back...Star Wars by Justin Lee Collins. In the film, Prowse commented that he had a dispute with George Lucas after he allegedly leaked reports of Darth Vader's death to the press. Prowse had previously suggested that Darth Vader could be Luke Skywalker’s father in a speech he gave to UC Berkeley in 1978. However, this was shortly after the release of Star Wars and nearly two years before The Empire Strikes Back (which he considers to be his favourite of the trilogy) was released, and the script had not even been written at the time. Gary Kurtz, the producer of The Empire Strikes Back, said in the 2015 documentary I Am Your Father that Prowse's apparent plot spoiler was simply "a good guess."

Prowse claims his contract for Return of the Jedi included a share of profits on the film, and although it grossed $475 million on a $32 million budget, Prowse explained in an interview in 2009 that he has never received residuals for his performance. Due to "Hollywood accounting", the actual profits are sent as "distribution fees" to the studio, leaving nothing to distribute to others.

In July 2010, Prowse was banned by George Lucas from attending official Star Wars fan conventions. Lucas has reportedly given Prowse no reason, other than stating that Prowse "burnt too many bridges" between LucasFilm and himself. This is the subject of the mockumentary, Behind the Mask (link below).      

A 2015 Spanish documentary, by filmmaker Marcos Cabotá, entitled I Am Your Father (link below), details Prowse's current life and his blackballing by LucasFilm, which the documentary suggests is unjustified. The leaks featured in the documentary originated from a technician working on the films.
Since 2002 Prowse has been an Honorary Member / Honorary Leader of the 501st Legion, a fan group dedicated to Star Wars costuming.        

Viewfinder links:   
The Love Act           
All things Star Wars        
Net links:         
David Prowse Official website                  
David Prowse roles       
YouTube links:   
Darth Vaders Voice Before Voice Over            
I Am Your Father movie trailer           
Behind the Mask - The Feud Between Prowse and Lucas     
Happy birthday, David
The Force is with you

Styrous® ~ Saturday, July 1, 2017     

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