The droid was rigged to explode, but they realized on set that filling its head with explosives meant there was no space for the mechanisms that made it move. Since the Screen Actors Guild might have balked at putting little people or child actors in there with the explosives, they ended up simply pulling R5-D4's backup droid on a rope. They had similar problems when they came back to Tatooine in Return Of The Jedi and R2-D2 would go wherever he wanted, no doubt rebelling against director Richard Marquand because he wasn't his real dad.
That Time Harrison Ford Got Shitfaced On A Snowplow Train
Because alien planets apparently only ever have one type of weather, The Empire Strikes Back features scenes set on the ice planet, Hoth. At one point during production, they needed Harrison Ford to hurry to Norway and shoot some of those scenes, because there was an actual blizzard there and that's always cheaper than paying for a fake one. Unfortunately, the trains were blocked due to no fewer than three avalanches. Ford managed to take a train to a ski resort, and then somehow he found two taxis to take him even closer, but he was only able to get as close as 23 miles away -- well outside the scope of even the most advanced film camera of the time.
So they decided to send a snowplow train (yes, it's exactly what it sounds like) to him, but the only way they could convince the snowplow train guy to go was if they sent a producer and (more importantly) a bottle of vodka to wait for him.
Finally, at about midnight, the snowplow train rolled in, and Ford, the driver, and the producer all rolled off "completely drunk," having finished off the giant bottle of vodka. The next morning, Ford was going to be forced to shoot scenes with no preparation while wearing a costume which had been made for stage conditions in blizzard conditions. No wonder he's not particularly nostalgic about these films.
George Lucas Was A Hilariously Vague Director
George Lucas may have made a bunch of universally beloved movies, but he's not exactly known for being a warm, open guy. And that's coming from his friends. Lucas isn't really, it seems, what you'd call an "actor's director" in the traditional sense -- as in, he wouldn't direct them for shit. Mark Hamill talks about how Lucas would refuse to discuss character motivations with him, instead postponing the discussion until it was too late. One time, Lucas' direction was simply the phrase "Uh ... let's do it again, only this time ... do it better." By his own admission, his directions basically consist of "action," "cut," "faster," and "more intense," which aren't particularly helpful unless you're a car.
Lucasfilm"Can you do the same thing, but also more different?"
Lucas was otherwise pretty quiet. Fisher claimed that he once lost his voice and they didn't realize it for a few days. Here's Ben Burtt saying that he received absolutely no feedback about his iconic lightsaber sound, only later realizing that this meant he'd done a good job. Or we hope so, at least, because it's been 40 years and it's a little late to redub it.
But it's not as if Lucas were cool as a space cucumber while stressing out all of his subordinates. He himself was incredibly frazzled, because he was running an over-budget project which hardly anyone believed in or gave a crap about. It didn't help that a year into production, ILM had barely completed any usable special effects footage -- kind of important for a sci-fi movie. The resulting stress led to a hospital trip for Lucas, where he was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion, leading him to swear off directing -- at least, until Jar Jar Binks set his imagination on fire in the '90s.
The stress wasn't even confined to the first Star Wars. The Shining nearly derailed The Empire Strikes Back when the classic horror flick's sets burned down and Kubrick used it as an excuse to "rethink" his movie, hogging sets which Lucasfilm needed for production. Here he is finding Lucas' tears delicious:
LucasfilmThis explains that scene with an Ewok blowing an Overlook Hotel guest.
Are you a fancy Hollywood agent? Nimby Smith can be reached at Nimby (dot) Writer (at) Gmail (dot) Com.
Why not double down on the nostalgia and play Bop It! on R2D2?
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