We sat down with Mark Hamill – Jedi, Joker and Twitter master.
Mark Hamill has balanced the pop-culture scales perfectly – his performance as the good-natured Luke Skywalker in Star Wars is countered by his maniacal vocal performances as The Joker in DC Comics’ various animated films. While the principal photography for Star Wars: The Last Jedi wrapped in July 2016, Hamill fondly discusses the cult franchise, Ireland and his love of Twitter.
GQ: What is the one question you’re sick of answering?
Mark Hamill: I’m never really sick of anything, but the most-often-asked question is, ‘Did you expect it to be as big a success as it was?’ And of course the answer is ‘no’. The humour appealed to me so strongly and I thought, ‘Even if it gets terrible reviews, this is going to be a midnight cult classic, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show.’
I thought this thing would easily make $30 million and it was important, because if a movie made enough money, we were required to do the second and the third parts. I said to George while we were filming, ‘Can you put me on a comp list for any merchandising?’ because I thought there’d be a soundtrack, a T-shirt, a poster.
But when you read the script you think, ‘This is like a toy box’ – he’s got a floating car, a lightning sword, and robots and all these things, but I had no idea when I asked him for that… But boxes started arriving at the house, and they just didn’t stop coming.
GQ: You spent a month shooting on the coast of Ireland. How did this environment influence your characterisation?
MH: I had this feeling that rushed over me when I was at the top of Skellig Island, because the first thing we did on the original Star Wars, before Carrie and Harrison came over, was film the desert scenes in Tunisia. And we were on the salt flats, which is 360˚of horizon, because nothing grows there. In between shots, I could look out at this unearthly terrain, with the robots by my side and the floating car on a stand, and it was very easy to feel like you were in a galaxy far, far away. I got the chills.
At Skellig, you’re up at the top, and I didn’t expect this to happen, but I was off by myself and it was sunset and I had that same feeling – it’s like being in another world.
GQ: Many fans are excited that the new films are more female-centred. What was your response?
MH: I saw early production art that Ralph McQuarrie had done where Obi-Wan and Han Solo were combined; he was an ex-Jedi Knight who had become a smuggler, and in the foreground is a teenage girl with a lightsabre. So that wasn’t something new when The Force Awakens came around. And also Leia, back in the seventies, was fierce! I mean here we come to rescue her and she realises what a couple of boneheads we are. ‘Give me that gun! You call this a plan?’ The girls loved that! She wasn’t cowering, ‘Oh save me!’
Carrie was a trailblazer in terms of making us look like chumps! It melts my heart to see young girls come to your door for trick or treat dressed
GQ: On Twitter, you don’t seem to be a big @RealDonaldTrump fan.
MH: That’s fair to say. America is such a divided country right now and I’m very forthcoming on my social media. I feel like it’s a combination of a diary, a chat room and electronic fan mail in a way, and I just like to express myself in public.
I’m in the escapism business, and I want everyone to enjoy the film, regardless of their political persuasion and I’m
not trying to convince anybody; if they think that’s someone who was right for the job, that’s their right. I disagree that’s all.
People say to me, ‘Oh, you think you’re so important?’ And I say, ‘No, I’m just another crank on the internet’. When I see a really brutal hate tweet, I ‘like’ it, just to bewilder them, because what they want is to really hurt you. So I thought if I ‘like’ it, at least it’ll befuddle them, and maybe annoy them a little more. But I’m just having fun.
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