Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Echo Base News Interviews Gerald Home

I have recently done an interview with Gerald Home, who played Tessek and a Mon Calamari Officer on Home One. Read on about the actor's Star Wars experience after the jump!

Echo Base News: What was being in the Mon Cal/Tessek suits like and did you have any difficulty moving around in them?
Gerald Home: Both costumes were very comfortable to wear and move around in until the masks were put on. The real difficulty arose when we were wearing the masks, because it was very difficult to see out of both of them. Sometimes I'd count the steps I had to take, like a blind person would: "2 steps to the left, then 3 steps straight ahead" etc - that type of thing. It was also extremely hot inside the masks, though we had helpers who used hair dryers to cool us down between shots.

EBN: What is your fondest memory from being on set?
GH: The biggest thrill about being on set in 1982 was that we all knew we were part of Star Wars and cinema history: the first 2 Star Wars films had been huge international successes, and we were sure REVENGE of the Jedi would be a big hit too. It was fantastic to be on set with all these iconic characters we had seen on screen in the first 2 films - and now we were part of it all!

EBN: Did you keep anything from the film once it wrapped?
GH: The only things I was able to keep were my call sheets and the 2 pages of additional scenes I had as the Mon Calamari Officer, in which I had some experimental dialogue as an "Aid" to Ackbar.
EBN: Do have a Star Wars collection and if so what's your favorite item in it?
GH: I'm not a collector myself, but of course I have my 3 action figures, as you see here!
I also have a small collection of things that have been given to me by Star Wars fans, including certificates from various fan groups and drawings they have made for me. I treasure things that fans make for me, such as these 2 fantastic Mon Calamari drawings. The black and white one was drawn by Pablo Bellver Martin in Spain and the colour one by Jacinthe Massey in Canada.
And I mustn't forget my Imperial character (sorry Rebels!) so here's a photo of me with the superb Tessek-Squid Head mask which was made for me and given to me by Carsten Sacher in Germany last year.
My other Tessek treasure is the statue given to me by Cezary on behalf of Star Wars fans in Poland.
EBN: What was it like behind the scenes?
GH: Sometimes there were at least 150 people on set. Add to that the heat from the lights and smoke from the smoke guns, and you can imagine how hot and airless it was. That's my main memory of the atmosphere on set: it was extremely hot and sticky. Other than that, everything was very well organised and we performers were very well taken care of. As this was the third Star Wars film, the production team were prepared for anything, and so everything ran very smoothly.

EBN: Was filming hard with a blue screen?
GH: I've heard some actors complain about working with blue screen, but I never had any problem with it. An actor's job is to use his imagination, and if there's nothing to see or to react to in the blue screens, then the actor has to imagine what's there. For example, during the Battle of Endor, we had to imagine spacecraft and explosions in the blue screens. It's very easy to imagine such things - that's what we actors are paid for!By the way, well done saying "blue" screen, because it was blue screen in 1982, whereas today green screen is used.

EBN: Are you going to be at Star Wars Celebration VI?
GH: Celebration VI is still a year away from now, so I've no idea whether I'll be there or not. I'll be there if I'm invited and if I'm available. I'm still a busy working actor so I have to turn down a lot of invitations, but I'd love to go to CVI. I've been to several events in the US, including CIII and CIV, but I know there are still many American fans I haven't met yet. I hope the day comes when as many fans in America know me as here in Europe. By the way, regarding work: I had an audition a couple of days ago for a small part in Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadows. The film has wrapped but they want to add some new scenes. I was told the scene I auditioned for hasn't been written yet, so I'll be very surprised if I get a part, but fingers crossed!

EBN: What do you think of the action figures of your characters?
GH: I love my action figures, as you see in the photo above. I think all 3 of them are brilliant. I just wish there were more versions of my characters, such as 12" figures, or Galactic Heroes, for example. We performers from Jabba's Palace and Home One can't understand why our characters are so neglected! Other characters get used in all kinds of merchandise, so why not us?! I talked about this at an event in Chicago last year, as you can see in this wide-ranging interview on YouTube:

EBN: I read your rebelscum.com thread on autograph collecting and I never knew people falsified autographs by signing pictures they're not in. What was it that originally motivated you to speak out on that?
GH: I spoke out about this very unpleasant subject because several Star Wars fans asked me to. Since I started meeting Star Wars fans about 7 years ago, I have often been asked which performers were in the creature costumes in Return of the Jedi. My replies sometimes shocked fans because other people had signed their photos of those characters - not the actual people who were really inside the costumes. Such behaviour makes my blood boil. First of all, it's unfair and disrespectful to the performer who really is inside the costume, and, equally importantly, it's unfair to the Star Wars fans who pay to have their photos signed by the people who they believe are in the costumes. It just isn't right that this situation should be allowed to continue. Star Wars fans who know me know that I'm passionate about truth and historical accuracy in the Star Wars universe, and they also know that I'll watch out for them and their interests as best I can. When I was asked to write about my information online, I decided I should, even though it was a very difficult and awkward thing for me to do: as I've said before, I'm not Lucasfilm's or OPX's policeman, but I do think it's time to put an end to people signing photographs they're not in, and I'll be very happy if I can help stop that happening. I didn't actually name anyone who does this sort of thing, it would be wrong of me to name names - but by identifying the people who really are in the photos, Star Wars fans can work out the rest for themselves!
For those of you who haven't seen the article on Rebelscum, here's the link:

EBN: Out of the six Star Wars films which is your favorite and why?
GH: I guess I should say Return of the Jedi is my favourite Star Wars film as that's the one I worked on! But in fact my favourite is still the first one, the original Star Wars (A New Hope). Why? Because when it came out in 1977, there had never been another film like it. Many younger readers have seen many sci-fi films and TV programmes, but in 1977, they were still quite rare. Yes of course, there had been other sci-fi films before Star Wars, but Star Wars wasn't really like a sci-fi film at all! It was more like a Cowboy and Indian film, which happened to be set in space! Something else that younger people who haven't seen the original Star Wars in a cinema don't realise is what it was like to be sitting in a cinema in 1977, not knowing what to expect from the film: there we were, looking at the screen in front of us, the film had just begun and this incredible noise started coming from behind us. Everyone in the cinema turned around and looked behind them, then above them, as a deep, rumbling sound passed over our heads. It got louder and went on for a long time - but of course "the noise" was the huge space ship on screen. The excellent sound system made it feel like that space ship really did pass over our heads. It was a wonderful moment and I still remember that magical feeling today. From then on, the world was hooked on Star Wars!

EBN: Do you watch the Clone Wars tv series?
GH: No, I don't watch the TV series, though I did see the first 2 episodes when they were shown in the cinema as a film. I thought it was excellent. I'm amazed at the number of really young children I meet these days who have discovered Star Wars via the Clone Wars TV series.

EBN: Have you kept in touch with the cast and crew from the film?
GH: I knew some of the cast before filming started, and I saw them afterwards, and there were others I worked with in 1986 on Little Shop of Horrors. Of course I meet many of them these days at conventions and events all over the world.Dave Prowse lives near me so I've visited him a couple of times this year. I saw him last week and I'm happy to tell you he's much improved after his latest operation, and is on his feet again. He hopes to travel to events abroad again next year. You can see how well he looks in this photo of us taken a few days ago.

EBN: What do you think of Star Wars in concert?
GH: I've met a lot of Star Wars fans around the world who have seen Star Wars in Concert and they all loved it. I've never seen it because I wasn't invited to it when it was here in London. I think only 2 or 3 actors were invited, but there are many of us Star Wars actors who live in London and we couldn't understand why we weren't invited! Only the organisers know the answer to that.
GH: I have actually narrated a concert of Star Wars music myself - in Valencia, Spain, in 2007, for the 30th anniversary. It was a charity concert, organised by the Rebel Legion Spanish Base, with the participation of the Spanish Garrison, and I narrated in Spanish. In fact, I'm the only Star Wars actor besides Anthony Daniels to narrate a concert of Star Wars music, and I'm the only one to have done so in Spanish! It was a fantastic occasion and raised a lot of money for Spanish charities. (My ambition is to do the same in French and German.)
EBN: How is The CalamariMen Club doing and what can you tell us about it?
GH: What a great question! Thanks for asking it.
The CalamariMen Club was formed at the suggestion of a member of Holored Estelar in Seville, Spain. He said there should be a club to celebrate Tessek-Squid Head and the Mon Calamari Officer, who both come from Mon Calamari and are therefore CalamariMen! That's why I started the club. There is only one rule for members: Don't eat Calamari! Here's the membership card.
There are about 30 members, and lots more people wanted to join,but it was becoming too much to handle, so I kept it to just this group in Spain, and invited other people to join SWORA - the Star Wars Outer Rim Alliance. This was an alliance of Star Wars fan groups from all around the world that I helped set up in 2008. It was a huge success and many other groups wanted to join. Unfortunately, it folded after about a year. A lot of good things happened because of SWORA and I'm still totally committed to it, and to the Star Wars fans I met through it. You never know, it might start up again one day.
Finally, I've tried to say new things in this interview, but I have given a lot of other information in other interviews, which you might like to see. As well as the 3-part interview on my website, you'll find links to 3 excellent interviews at the bottom of my Wikipedia page. In fact, here they are. You'll find info and pictures in these interviews not seen anywhere else, including more of my "collection":
Thanks to Echo Base News and Jim Slowes for asking the questions. Long live the Rebels - and May the Force be with you all!
Update: Gerald has passed along word that he appears in a recently release U.S. film called London Boulevard in a cameo role. Gerald plays an undertaker in a short cemetery scene with Colin Farrell. We encourage you to check it out!

No comments:

Post a Comment