To celebrate Carrie Fisher 60th anniversary on this October 21, here are 20 things you didn’t know about Carrie Fisher and Star Wars.
1. She had a love-hate relationship with George Lucas.
In her bestselling memoir and one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, Fisher tells her readers, “George Lucas ruined my life.”
2. She hated the costumes she had to wear.
She hated the white dress from A New Hope, but it was the famed metal bikini in Return of the Jedi, which she despised most of all. “When I laid down, the metal bikini stayed up,” she once said. “So Boba Fett could see all the way to Florida.”
3. She has drugs named after her.
Fisher discovered there is a marijuana called Princess Leia after her daughter’s boyfriend tried to get a discount.
4. She beat some big names to land the role of Princess Leia.
More than two dozen actresses auditioned for the role. These included Sissy Spacek, Farrah Fawcett, Glenn Close, Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Cybill Shepherd, Jane Seymour, Anjelica Huston, Kim Basinger, Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis.
5. She was forced to strap down her boobs.
Her breasts were taped down with gaffer tape, as her costume did not permit any lingerie to be worn underneath. She joked later, “As we all know, there is no underwear in space.”
6. She didn’t like her bagel bun hair style.
She disliked the “bagel bun” hairstyle she wore in the original Star Wars, but she didn’t say anything about it because she was afraid that director George Lucas would get angry and fire her.
7. She clashed with her mother about the role.
Due to the limited budget the American cast members and crew flew economy class to England, rather than first class. When Carrie Fisher’s mother, film star Debbie Reynolds, heard about this she called George Lucas to complain. Lucas handed the phone to Carrie who simply said, “Mother, I want to fly coach, will you fuck off?!” and hung up.
8. She thinks she did a bad job playing Leia.
She doesn’t think she’s a very good actress and often quotes her awkward half-British, half-American accent as an example.
9. She did some of her own stunts.
Stunt doubles were not used for the scene in which Luke and Leia swing to safety. She and Mark Hamill performed that stunt themselves, shooting it in just one take.
10. Her role was heavily promoted to attract women viewers.
Initial research from 20th Century Fox using the title and a brief synopsis came back with the results that only males under 25 were interested in seeing the film. Fox then deliberately marketed the film with a view to attracting older and female cinemagoers by pushing images of humans, including Princess Leia, center stage and referring to the film in more mythic tones, rather than science fiction.
11. She loves nerds.
She once sarcastically claimed to have got the role of Princess Leia Organa by sleeping “with some nerd.”
12. She found her dialogue a real challenge.
After one especially difficult scene, she said to Lucas “You can type this stuff, but you can’t say it”.
13. She was nearly cut from the script.
Lucas toyed with the idea of changing Luke Skywalker into a woman and cutting Princess Leia from the script. He also entertained the notion of casting the principal characters as dwarfs.
14. She loved arguing with Han Solo.
When asked what her favorite moment from the Star Wars trilogy are, she replied that her favorite moments were the arguing scenes between her and Harrison Ford.
15. Her character never got to meet Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The closest they get to meeting is when she sees him from a distance during the lightsaber duel.
16. She has a common ancestry with Mark Hamill.
Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are of Swedish and Jewish ancestry, respectively. In the prequels, their parents would be played by Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman, who also have Swedish and Jewish ancestry.
17. In the book, her character is the first to speak.
In George Lucas’ paperback novelization of the film, the book begins with a short prologue recited by Princess Leia. In the prologue, she tells the story of the fall of the “Old Republic”, the rise of the Empire, and the rise of the Rebel Alliance.
18. She wanted to play Han Solo.
Upon receiving the script prior to her audition, Carrie Fisher read it aloud with her friend, actor Miguel Ferrer. They loved it so much both of them wanted to play Han Solo!
19. She was addicted to cocaine while filming.
In an interview in Australia, she revealed that she had a cocaine addiction during filming of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and also survived an overdose. “Slowly, I realized I was doing a bit more drugs than other people and losing my choice in the matter,” she said.
20. She was too short for some scenes.
She stood on a box for many of her scenes with Harrison Ford in the Star Wars trilogy, owing to the fact that she was roughly a foot shorter than him and didn’t fit into the frame.