Luke Skywalker might have been the reluctant hero in the intergalactic parable "Star Wars," but it was the actor who portrayed the lovable but annoying robot C3PO who had reservations about joining George Lucas's team.
Three decades later, British actor Anthony Daniels represents not just the voice but the face of the franchise as he serves as narrator for "Star Wars: In Concert." The multimedia spectacular featuring an orchestral performance of John Williams' score along with projected scenes from all six of the iconic films plays Sunday at the Erwin Center. We spoke with Daniels last week.
Austin American-Statesman: Do you remember the first time you heard John Williams' score?
Anthony Daniels: I certainly do, because I had seen a lot of the movie with no music on at all. When I put my voice on there, it was just me working on a blank copy. And I was astounded at the difference. The scenes suddenly had meaning and emotion and excitement. And I feel very much that his music is as huge a character as Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker.
Speaking of acting alone, I understand you were hesitant to get on board with 'Star Wars' originally ...
I'd been acting a couple of years and I was doing rather well - I was on stage in the West End in London, acting real people in real clothes. And I was reluctant because back then robots weren't very interesting things. And, fortunately my agent made me go and meet (George Lucas) . And of course it leads me to today, where I'm doing "Star Wars: In Concert." And all actors say their latest project is the best thing they ever did ... but I love doing this concert. For the first time, I get the story of "Star Wars."
How does your role as narrator work in the production in terms of your interaction with the multimedia presentation and the audience?
I come out on stage dressed as myself ... and I tell the story of "Star Wars" from beginning to end ... "Star Wars" in two hours. What they've done at LucasFilm is to edit 14 pieces woven out of all six "Star Wars" movies. And you can hear (the audience's) reaction, and I work with them. Sometimes it's sad, sometimes exciting and sometimes very funny.
It's mildly ironic, isn't it, that the man behind the stammering C3PO is now the voice of the franchise on stage?
It's more than mildly ironic. And for someone who didn't want to be in it, it's outrageous that I've reached this point. And, you know, I didn't always feel great about my role. I thought maybe I should, you know, go get a job at some point. And then something took over and said, "Shut up, and just get on with it." And now, I feel I've slightly become "Star Wars" mad, I think, and hugely proud of it. And to share this giant rock show of a musical experience ... it's a joy.
It sounds like the whole process has been mildly cathartic in that you've been able to reconcile your relationship with the franchise.
It's an epiphany. It has shown me an experience that I never thought to have. And I'm very glad to have it and to be able to share it joyfully. And every night is different because I feel the story differently, and the audience is different every night.
'Star Wars: In Concert'
When: 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, June 6
Where: Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St.
Cost: $25-$65 at all Texas Box Office outlets or by phone at 512-477-6060 and online at TexasBoxOffice.com .