Star Wars Auditions: A Casting Couch far, far away
Lucas shared a joint-casting session with long-time friend Brian De Palma, who was casting his own film Carrie. As a result, Carrie Fisher and Sissy Spacek auditioned for both films in each other’s respective roles. Lucas favored casting young actors without long-time experience. While reading for Luke Skywalker (then known as “Luke Starkiller”), Hamill found the dialogue to be extremely weird because of its universe-embedded concepts. He chose to simply read it sincerely and was selected instead of William Katt, who was subsequently cast in Carrie.
Lucas initially rejected the idea of using Harrison Ford, as he had previously worked with him on American Graffiti, and instead asked Ford to help out in the auditions by reading lines with the other actors and explaining the concepts and history behind the scenes that they were reading. Lucas was eventually won over by Ford’s portrayal and cast him instead of Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Billy Dee Williams (who would play Lando Calrissian in the sequels), and Perry King, who wound up playing Solo in the radio plays.
Many young actresses in Hollywood auditioned for the role of Princess Leia, including Cindy Williams. Carrie Fisher was cast under the condition that she lose 10 pounds for the role. Aware that the studio disagreed with his refusal to cast big-name stars, Lucas signed veteran stage and screen actor Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Additional casting took place in London, where Mayhew was cast as Chewbacca after he stood up to greet Lucas. Lucas immediately turned to Gary Kurtz, and requested that Mayhew be cast. Daniels auditioned for and was cast as C-3PO; he has said that he wanted the role after he saw a McQuarrie drawing of the character and was struck by the vulnerability in the robot’s face. Awww.
Check out Kurt Russell’s audition for Star Wars below. Poor. Little too relaxed there Mr Russell. Not sure who the other guy is but I’ll pretty sure there’s a McDonalds somewhere in California that is very well run as a result of this audition.