Last year I had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful actor Robert Englund about his work. The magazine didn’t run the entire interview, and this amazing story was left off the table. Considering there’s a new STAR WARS movie with Luke Skywalker, I figured it was high time that folks heard Robert’s story, and putting to rest a lot of speculation and rumors about what really happened. Here’s the man himself:
“That story . . . that’s that internet shit with lazy reporting. The story is that Mark Hamill and I go way back. Mark was always hanging around. I had a really cool apartment in Laurel Canyon–a Schindler apartment–the famous architect. I was living with my girlfriend, Jan Fischer, who wrote Lost Boys, and Mark was always over there because he was working at the Mary Tyler Moore studios, which is where CBS is in the Valley, so Mark was always over at my house, and he’d always come over in the afternoon with a 6-pack of Heineken, and we’d sit around and wait for our agents to call. And we’d hang out in my cool apartment and we’d watch old episodes of Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart. They were on in the afternoon, and we’d drink some beers, and we’d watch them, and wait for the phone to ring. I’d been on an interview for Apocalypse Now, for the surfer, because I’m a surfer. That was the part that went to one of the famous Bottoms brothers. I didn’t get the part–I was too old–and I wanted to be up for the cook–the part that Frederick Forest played, but I didn’t get that part because I was too young. I had long, blonde curly hair. I was all tan and buff. I was in a pair of tight green Levis, with a pair of old combat boots, and a thrift shop military shirt on, with the sleeves rolled up, and they sent me over at the Star Wars office, which was right across the hall. They sent me over for Han Solo. They just looked at me for Han Solo for twenty minutes. They put me on film for Han Solo, but they told me they thought I was too young, because originally they wanted him to look a lot older than Luke Skywalker. I think it was originally Tom Selleck they were considering. I was too young for Han Solo, but I was over there, and saw the sides, and I went home, and there was Mark on the couch, cracking a Heineken, watching Mary Tyler Moore. I sat down and told Mark all about it. Mark got on the phone with his agent, and I think he went out the next day for Luke Skywalker. That’s the story.
And what happens is, the lazy internet reporters tell this shit wrong. They just truncate it. I was never up for Luke Skywalker. But I told Mark about it, and he went in and got it, and nailed it.
We were all hanging out back then, and Mark was working on a TV series with Gary Busey and a great old cowboy actor, Jack Elam, who had a cockeye…a funny eye that alwys looked to the side.
We were into the Mary Tyler Moore/Grant Tinker stable. We loved William Sanderson, the toymaker in Blade Runner. I knew Gary back then. We all knew each other. We were all aquaintences and friends. That’s the Star Wars story. I got in the office first, and I wasn’t right for anything, and I told Mark to get over there. Mark nailed it down.
When Mark came back from London after finished STAR WARS, we were the first to see him. He told us all the stories about Tunisia and Alec Guiness and Kenny Baker, and having a crush on Carrie Fisher. Mark is a fanboy. Mark actually had letters printed in FAMOUS MONSTERS magazine and Mark knew it was going to be huge. He knew how big it was going to be. Mark knew STAR WARS was going to be the biggest thing in the world. That was everything Mark ever wanted to be was STAR WARS. In real like, Mark is one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. He’s like Monty Python-he’s very funny. And no one’s cast him to be really funny yet. He was very good in the national tour of AMADEUS. I’d love for someone for someone to have him play some obnoxious agent, like Jeremy Piven did in Entourage. I think he’d be great doing that.”
And that’s that! Quite an enjoyable story. I’ve been a huge fan of Robert’s work since I was a kid with ‘V’. My folks brought me to a Star Trek convention in Boston as a kid and Robert even made a nice comment about my brother and my cat mask. It’s so cool to have spoke to him about this and his amazing career.