Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace
is back on the big screen in 3D on Friday, and we're putting the spotlight on the man behind C-3PO, Anthony Daniels.
The British actor has seen the entire Star Wars series through, from 1977's A New Hope to the sixth and final film produced, Revenge of the Sith, not to mention countless TV movies, specials and animated series. In our 1997 interview, Daniels shares war stories of filming George Lucas' saga from the point of view of a man in a claustrophobic, golden 'droid suit.
"It was like deprivation torture," says Daniels of his initial fitting on the set, pointing out that when the crew would break, they'd abandon him, often forgetting that there was an actual human inside the Threepio costume. "It was kind of a lonely experience."
Daniels details the limited range of movement and visibility in the tight-fitting arrangement, laughing, "If an Ewok was in the scene, if a Tusken Raider was in the scene, they had to be where we've rehearsed, otherwise I would tread on them -- and I was heavy."
But despite the physical hardships of the C-3PO suit, Daniels beams, "The impact when people see you wearing this is amazing. When I first walked out in the desert sun … it was like being some amazing deity."
The tenacious star also recalls that he initially didn't want to be in a "cheap, low-budget sci-fi movie," but credits Lucas' "charm, personality [and] enthusiasm" for getting him excited about the role. Who knew he'd still be a crucial part of the Star Wars franchise 35 years later?