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Why Alec Guinness Hated George Lucas’ Star Wars: ‘Bloody awful’ script

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Why Alec Guinness Hated George Lucas’ Star Wars: ‘Bloody awful’ script


While the original Star Wars is one of George Lucas’ most popular films, Sir Alec Guinness didn’t fancy it. Fans of the original trilogy will recall that the man behind Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi was a harsh critic of the films. Of course, Alec comes from a different generation and a different medium than Star Wars. As a result, there was a considerable amount of elitism at work. But Alec’s reasons for eventually despising the flicks are even more complicated.

The characters Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader were not well-known when filmmaker George Lucas produced Star Wars in 1977. As a result, there was a lot of skepticism about the big-budget science-fiction picture about an ancient religion and masked bad guys. Sir Alec Guinness, the man behind Obi-Wan Kenobi, was one of the film’s most vocal critics.

Guinness’ wide and distinguished career helped give the concept some early credibility. Guinness had already won an Academy Award for his portrayal in The Bridge on the River Kwai, been nominated for his work in The Lavender Hill Mob, and even been recognized as a writer for The Horse’s Mouth at this stage in his career. Lawrence of Arabia also featured him in a key part. In many respects, his appearance in the picture aided in the creation of this new mythology constructed by Lucas, but Guinness was not a fan.

He only accepted the position once his increased wage requests were satisfied. However, his doubled income did not keep him happy during the filming procedure. Guinness despised working on the picture, as mentioned in the newest Screen Rant video, and his main gripe was Lucas’ dialogue. He called the work “rubbish” and complained that “none of it makes my character clear or even bearable” in a letter that was later published.

“I just think, thankfully, of the lovely bread, which will help me keep going until next April even if Yahoo collapses in a week.”

He added: “I must off to studio and work with a dwarf (very sweet – and he has to wash in a bidet) and your fellow countrymen Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can’t be right) Ford. Ellison (? – No!) – well, a rangy, languid young man who is probably intelligent and amusing. But Oh, God, God, they make me feel ninety – and treat me as if I was 106. – Oh, Harrison Ford – ever heard of him?”

According to The Guardian, Guinness felt misgivings about his role in the production of Star Wars. He subsequently stated, “Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it’s not an acting job, the dialogue — which is lamentable — keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young.”

Sir Alec Guinness described how he was initially invited to do Star Wars by George Lucas personally during a 1977 appearance on the Parkinson Talk program. The account explains why he was first apprehensive about making the picture, as well as why he felt resentful of it in later years.

“[Star Wars] arrived as a script, I was just finishing a picture in Hollywood, and a script arrived on my dressing table and I heard that it had been delivered by George Lucas. And I thought, ‘Well, that’s rather impressive because he’s an up-and-coming and very respect-worthy young director’. And then when I owned it and found out it was science fiction I went, ‘Oh, crumbs! This is not for me.'”

Sir Alec Guinness appears to have disliked Star Wars because of his genuine disdain for science fiction. Alec did, after all, wind up reading the screenplay. While he despised the conversation, he stated that he was fixated on it and continued to flip the page. His first interest in the screenplay stemmed from a desire to understand more about what had occurred. And he was certain that he could persuade George to alter some of the dreadful dialogue. No one can suggest, however, that this was sufficient for the Academy Award-winning actor to play the wise old Jedi knight.

Guinness wrote to his friend Anne Kaufman in a letter: “I have been offered a movie (20th Cent Fox) which I may accept, if they come up with proper money. London and N Africa, starting in mid-March.”

“Science fiction – which gives me pause – but is to be directed by Paul [George] Lucas who did American Graffiti, which makes me feel I should,” he said.

The legendary actor continued: “Big part. Fairy-tale rubbish but could be interesting perhaps.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Oscar and BAFTA winner deliberately sought to keep people from seeing the movie.

Guinness described an event in his memoirs A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, which was published by Mental Floss, in which a fan approached him for an autograph and revealed that he had seen Star Wars more than a hundred times. The iconic actor eventually granted the fan’s wish, but only on the condition that they pledge never to watch it again.

In another letter, he complained about the filming conditions, calling them “tedious to a degree – hot, boring, and indecisive.”

Guinness had trouble connecting with his considerably younger co-stars as well. Despite his disappointment with A New Hope, Guinness did not allow it stop him from giving his finest performance. In 1978, he was nominated for another Academy Award, this time for his performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi.


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