On Sunday, August 27th, I had dinner with David Prowse. Naturally this just made my week (month? More?) so I had to come up with a web page just so I could crow properly.
Pictures are at the bottom of the page
All this came about from a contest that Collector's World in Knoxville, TN ran. They had David Prowse come in for a signing session and had a random drawing for someone to go for dinner with Prowse (and about 8 other people, as it turned out.) I got a call Saturday saying I won. Whee! So I called Andy Cowell (I could take a guest) and we went.
I have to say right at the start that David Prowse was as nice a guy as you could ask for. He talked to us, answered all our questions, and even taught me how to use chopsticks. It was great. (Darth taught me to use chopsticks!)
Remember the ESB scene with the nice dinner table and Vader at the head? Han Solo takes one look and opens fire. That was his mistake. Vader was obviously just looking for a nice dinner, some company, maybe a movie and some dancing later. Our heros should have just gone in and had a nice meal with the man. Thy could have gotten some chinese food, Vader could show them all how to use chopsticks, they would have had a great time. But no, Solo has to open fire so of course Vader has no choice but to torture him and then turn him into a big ice cube for Jabba's next cocktail party.
So anyway, we got to the store and had him sign some stuff for us there. We then went to this Japanese restaurant with everyone that was going. The table was C-shaped, with a cooking surface in the middle - the chef came out and cooked right in front of us. I slipped in right behind Prowse as he walked to the table, so I sat right next to him, with Andy on my right. (Prowse on my left.) This meant I hogged him the whole night. I was gonna feel guilty, but only one could sit next to him so it might as well be ME! (There can be only one!)
I asked him a bunch of stuff, and wrote down everything I could remember later. Forgive the disjointed style, but hey.
First off, this is pretty well known, the writing on Vader's chestplate is upside-down hebrew. He offered that one himself.
I asked him when he first found out that Vader was Luke's father, and he said not until ESB was released. He was given false lines during the ESB filming, and had no clue that they were even false. He went on to say that during the filming of Star Wars, he did not know his voice was going to be dubbed over. He did a Vader voice all the way through (he said there is a THX ad that has a few seconds of his Vader voice) and didn't find out it was dubbed until Star Wars was released, and his agent called and said, "Congratulations - it's a huge hit! Did you know your voice was dubbed over?" Prowse said he thought they did it since there were no black people in the movie and they wanted to add one.
He then continued to talk about ROTJ for a bit. Evidently Lucas and/or Lucasfilm accused him of script leaks during the shooting of ESB. As a result, they froze him out of a lot of stuff during ROTJ. He said his stunt double did about as much filming in the Vader suit as he did. He made a point of telling us that ROTJ had the worst environment to work in of any film he had done. At the start of the day they were given a few pages of script and would have to do it with no idea what the rest of the scene was, the story was, or anything. He seemed quite bitter toward Lucas and Lucasfilm.
We asked him about fans, etc, he said that he has the best of both worlds. He quite likes the attention and fans, and remains grateful for the Star Wars trilogy for having a positive effect on his life. Since his face was masked, though, he is anonymous unless he wants not to be - such as at a con or something.
Of all his acting jobs, he is most proud of being the Green Cross Man - the spokesman for a large safety program in the UK.
We finally jokingly asked him who would win - the USS Enterprise or a Star Destroyer. I was expecting a clearcut, fist thumping the table, Star Wars biased answer. Heck no. Turns out David Prowse has never in his life seen Star Trek. Not one episode. Nothing. He said he has worked with some of the Star Trek actors and likes them, but has never watched the show. He said it is part that he doesn't like Sci-Fi, and partly because by now it is just a thing not to watch Star Trek. And you heard right. One of the leading actors in the best Sci-Fi movie of all time (no, I'm not biased, why?) does not like Sci-Fi. Ironic, no? So I asked him what he did like - he said true life things, such as murder stories and right now he is reading a book on a girl with split personalities. He reads a lot, usually about 6 books at a time.
He is writing a book! It will be out around Christmas 1996. It will be called _Anecdotes_, though his publishers and what not all like _Darth Vader Unmasked_. It is basically a bunch of anecdotes, etc, of stuff that has happened to him during his life. It was originally 150 pages of text and 150 pages of pictures, but the publishers/ agent noticed that he had only 16 pages of Star Wars material. (It really isn't that important to him, just another acting job.) So they asked him to beef it up to half Star Wars, half other stuff (Thank god!) So he went and consulted his diary - he's kept one since Dec. 1979 - and now it is 250 pages text and 150 pages of pictures.
He has just been filmed as Vader for the first time since Jedi - he has made 90 minutes of Vader footage for a CD game. He didn't know what game or anything about it though. (However, someone e-mailed me and said it was for "Rebel Assault II." Cool!) Prowse didn't know anything about the new movies either. At all. Oh well...
Lessee...that's me leaning over Prowse's shoulder while he signs something for me, Prowse signing my ESB soundtrack, Prowse at dinner, and (from left to right) me, David Prowse, and Andy Cowell.
Andy came up with the idea of running our pics to a one-hour place, then taking them back for Prowse to sign. So here are two pics of Prowse that he autographed.
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