Mark Hamill AMA: Talks Star Wars, Luke With A Beard, Vs. Batman, Joker & More
created 01/23/2014 - 12:34am, updated 01/23/2014 - 12:55am
Mark Hamill participated in a fan QnA AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit where the actor talked about Star Wars, Luke vs. Batman, The Joker and whether or not Luke will have a beard in Star Wars: Episode VII.
Hamill did the AMA to bring awareness to the Make-A-Wish Foundation as fans can enter for a chance to visit the Skywalker Ranch and meet George Lucas and Mark Hamill.
Below are some of the more interesting questions and answers. Check out Omaze.com to enter to win the Skywalker Ranch visit and meet and greet.
Mr. Hamill, when I was six, all I wanted to be was you (Luke) and save the galaxy in my starfighter. Who was your hero when you were six?
I used to watch superman on TV, and i loved the idea of flying. i used to wonder if i wanted to fly like superman or peter pan. Peter Pan looked like it was more fun, superman was so bolt straight. And i loved Zorro, the old Disney Zorro. What is it with guys with secret identities who go out and fight crime? And James bond. I loved all that stuff.
Older Luke Skywalker: beard or no beard?
Well based on what has gone before, I have a feeling it's beard, but I have no confirmation of that. My wife said if you grow a beard, you'll cover up your cleft chin. That's not something that occurred to me. But I can only guess. I've never read any of the novelizations or anything but someone said to me, 'you're married, you have children.' Based on Obi-Wan I would have guessed I'd be living in an igloo or something. He was more spiritual, he didn't have a wife or children. And when you find out one of the only eligible women in the galaxy is your sister, it really cuts down on your odds of hooking up with anyone. But that's not what these movies are about. The charm of the trilogy is it appeals to the child in all of us. It goes back to playing in your backyard. It's very primal, it's good versus evil, a high sense of adventure.
This is an intensely personal question I've often thought about asking you. You are going to be immortal, man. Long after all of us are dead, the image of you as Luke Skywalker will be like Superman, or Harry Potter, or Gandalf, or Jesus. Even if the films are remade, your depiction of Luke will always be a spectre over whomever is playing him. Are you humbled by this? Terrified? Typecast? Would you rather be known as a fictional character or the person portraying him?
Great question. Well, I'm all those things. I'm certainly humbled. But's hard to really wrap one's head around. I didn't get into this business to be famous, I got in because I really like communicating. I wasn't even sure I was going to be an actor. So I look at that as Luke, not really as me. Luke is immortal and I'm just an actor who got the honor to play him. You just have to just stay focused on what challenges you and what inspires you. And that's why I went to Broadway because I thought I'd get to explore new things. I'm not really somehow who goes back and re-watches old stuff I've done. I haven't seen any of the films since they were in the theater - originals or prequels. I thought the prequels are amazing by the way. If we were a garage band, they were a philharmonic. As George said, Star Wars is the most expensive small low movie ever made. Sorry, I think I got off on a tangent on this question.
Hi Mark! Possibly stupid question: Do you find yourself at home trying to move things with the force? Example: TV remote across the room. I ask this because I have done this many times hoping it would finally move. It hasn't. Yet.
That's the thing, that's what fairy tales are made of. You wish you could do all these things, fly like Peter Pan, telekineses i think it's called. You should always believe. Don't go through life being skeptical. One thing that makes the films distinct is how optimistic they are. The philosophy is very uplifting and very positive. it was a way to approach the subject of spirituality without knocking you over the head with it. The force could be religion, science, magic. I love that people can make what they want of it, and that they could find courage in their life. I've heard so many stories about what a positive thing it's been for people. Keep trying to make that remote lift, never give up. One day it will happen.
What is your favorite thing about working with the Make A Wish Foundation?
I love the feeling that you can give something back, bc you've been so fortunate in your own life. Working with MAW you feel like, gee, my real career feels so trivial in comparison. It makes you wish you could do that charitable activity all the time. I love this organization. I've helped them over the years, but they’ll never be able to top Batkid, that was the most amazing feel good story. The way the community turned out. it’s something you can go to when you’re feeling particularly depressed about how rotten people are, usually when your’e watching politics. Then Batkid comes along. The mayor, the sports icons, rescuing the lady that was tied up, it was just too much. It was amazing. That kid couldn’t have been cuter if it was a cartoon that Disney drew. If you'd like to help me support Make A Wish, and win a chance to tour Skywalker Ranch and hang out with me in LA, you can enter here: http://www.omaze.com/experiences/starwars. It only takes $10.
Hi Mark. I am a wish grantor for make-a-wish. Thank you for what you are doing for the org and kids. If you could change one scene from the original trilogy what would you change and why?
There was a scene at the beginning of the first movie that was cut out. When you're first introduced to [Luke] he's on the farm and he sees the Robots, when R2 and C3PO eject he races to the club, and you see what his life is like on Tataouine. This beautiful actress calls him wormy. I loved it bc you saw that he wasn't well liked by his peers, and he bumps into Garrick Hagon, and Luke is really excited bc he has joined the empire, and Luke is so anxious to get off the farm and find his lot in life. He's thrilled that Biggs has joined the Empire, and feels as soon as he'd get the chance he'd join the rebel alliance. this shows that Luke is apolitical, and joining the empire is even attractive to him. They changed to get to the plot faster, so now it goes straight to the 4th scene. The only place you can see it is the novelization of the screen play. With all the tweaking and adaptations, why not put it in to add detail to the story that's not there?
The age old question. Who would win in a fight: Batman, Luke Skywalker, or Skips?
Well you know Batman is physically much more formidable, but Luke has that Jedi magic, maybe he'd use mind tricks. I hope it would never come to that, because I think I'd have a hard time beating someone like Batman. My only hope would be mind tricks or running and hiding.
Question: Was Yoda just as wierd IRL? ;)
I never thought of him as weird, he was unexpected, because the audience and Luke both thought a Jedi Master must be 6'5" with a formidable physical presence. But that was the whole point, he was a little toad like creature. Frank Oz and the people who imbued him with life were spectacular, I loved that whole experience. I could tell it was a monumental character to be introducing in the 2nd installment, I loved it. The minute I looked at him, he was real to me. You notice that with small children, the puppeteer isn’t hiding what he's doing but the kids are zeroed in on Oscar or Grover or whoever, again its that childlike ability to believe and I never want to feel like I lose that. I was marveling at what a breakthrough puppet it was with the movement and the way they could build something like this, but if it hadn’t been for Frank Oz and Larry Kasdan writing that script it would have been a much different story. And I loved Yoda and still do.
Did you get to keep any props or memorabilia from filming Star Wars?
I kept something from each film. From the first I kept my boots. I had to ask for them, I didn’t just take them! I kept the stormtrooper helmet that I rescued Princess Leia in. The ones that were commercially made last much longer. I have little bits and pieces from each of the movies. I would never think of selling these things. I saw they were auctioning my pants from the first film for $44,000! They were just bleached out levis with the pockets ripped out. There were multiples made for me and my stunt double. That seemed like a really steep price.
Are you still upset that you weren't able to pick up those power converters?
I get ribbed for that line because it was so whiney. And I remember at the time, I had to make it as juvenile as possible so that I can show how Luke matures later. So it should be embarrassing. It should be whiney and childish. But boy, has it come back to haunt me. I don't think I ever got the chance to finally pick them up.
Apparently Carrie Fisher let it slip that you guys will be in Episode 7, any response?
How much are you allowed to tell us about your involvement in the upcoming starwars movies?
waves hand "You do not want to ask me any more Episode 7 questions."
Haha. I’m not being coy, really. When I find something out, I’ll let everybody know. But nothing has been decided yet.
I loved you as Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender. In your voice acting, do you prefer to play villains or heroes?
I just look for really good scripts, and I thought Avatar was so good that it was sure to be canceled. It seems a little too deep, a little too intelligent for the kind of cartoon I was used to. So I was really delighted when it found an audience and it showed that parents watch what their kids watch, and that a serious show that dealt with important issues could find an audience. Villains are more fun to play. When i first read Star Wars I wondered who was playing Darth, it sounded so fun to play. I loved playing the Joker because he's used sparingly, you never get too much of him. And he creates havoc and then shows up 12 episodes later. I just hope its a good script. Not that i have a good eye for what's popular. When i read the first script for The Regular Show i thought it was too weird for young people, it's surreal. I didn't think it had a chance but now it's on its sixth season.
Hey Mark, welcome to Reddit, I'm a huge fan! Was it hard to keep the secret that Darth Vader was Luke's father? I read you were one of the few people who actually knew this before the premier. Also, another question because it is my cake-day. Do you enjoy episodes 1-3? EDIT: Best Cakeday Ever!
Irvin Kirshner brought me aside, and said "I know this, George knows this, and you'll be the third person who knows. If it goes out we'll know you leaked it." So i was terrified of being the one to ruin it. I remember when they screened it, Harrison turned around and said "I didn't know that! Why the f*&^ didn't you tell me?!" Im good at keeping secrets. Especially when the goal it to maximize the enjoyment of the audience. That's why I'm worried about episode 7, they're going after casting sheets! I'm someone who doesn't want to know what I'm getting for my birthday. My sisters would go through the closets at xmas, and i hated that. Im trying to keep the surprises for the movies, not for the internet. I hate spoilers, I like being surprised. There's a natural curiosity, and a competition to see who can reveal the most. I beg people, please lets keep it a surprise! Don't you want to be surprised? I know I do.
How proud are you of the Star Wars Holiday Special? Did you know at the time of shooting it that it would turn out the way it did?
Oh yeah. I thought it was a mistake from the beginning. It was just unlike anything else in the Star Wars universe. And I initially said that I didn't want to do it, but George said it would help keep Star Wars in the consciousness and I wanted to be a team player so I did it. And I also said that I didn't think Luke should sing, so they cut that number. And now, I think we shouldn't be ashamed of it. They should put on the extra of the DVD's - it shows how incredibly fallible we are! At that same time, it did introduce Boba Fett in an animated sequence, so it's significant in that respect. Plus Art Carney was in it, who is one of my favorite comedic actors of all time.
What's the story behind how you got the role of voicing The Joker or how you got into voice acting in general?
Well I'd heard that they were going to do and the model for the campaigns would be the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons of the 40's, and I'm a huge animation fan it knew it would be a much more sophisticated version. The gave me the part of Ferris Boyle in the first Mr. Freeze episode "Heart of Ice." What I loved about it, I thought it was so melancholy and so deep. Paul Dini wrote it and later got nominated for an Emmy. So I did it and I think what happened was that they were surprised what a fan boy I was, and how much I knew about Batman. I asked all these specific questions referencing the early comics. So when they were doing the Joker auditions I think that played a big part as they asked me to audition. I thought no way would they have the person that played Luke Skywalker cast as the Joker - they are the quintessential extremes of good and evil. So I just assumed they wouldn't hire me so I went in with no apprehension. And I had been doing Amadeus on Broadway for the year. And so I was experimenting with that laugh for Amadeus and I brought it to the Joker audition and it player really well. And I felt cocky when I left and thought "That's the best Joker they are every going to hear - too bad they can't hire me." And then two weeks later when they called and said I got the job I immediately lost my confidence. And then my friend told me you're pretty brave. And I said why is that? And he said I wouldn't want to follow Jack Nicholson on anything. And then I got even more scared. But fear is a great motivator.