Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse ‘not interested’ in The Force Awakens

Dave Prowse who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars movies says he has not even seen the trailer for the new Star Wars movie.

The British Darth Vader actor Prowse (80), told Yahoo! Movies, that he wasn’t “the slightest bit interested” in the new Disney JJ Abrams’ Star Wars:The Force Awakens, or indeed any of the planned new Star Wars movies, unless he got to play Darth Vader once again.

“It depends,” he said. “It depends if I’m playing the part of Darth Vader in it … Yes – then I’d be very interested. But if they’re putting somebody else in Darth Vader’s mask, then I’m not the slightest bit interested.”

 

Prowse 'not interested at all' in new Star Wars
Prowse ‘not interested at all’ in new Star Wars

When asked if Dave Prowse had seen the new trailer, which has been watched a staggering 50 million times on youtube, Prowse said: “I haven’t seen it at all. No. I’ve seen nothing about it whatsoever. No. No.”He added: “The new film, I know absolutely nothing about. I don’t really want to talk about it as I know nothing about it whatsoever … not being involved in it, I really haven’t got much interest. You know … not a lot, no.”

The Darth Vader actor wore the Sith Lord’s costume for most of the characters screen time in Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and The Return Of The Jedi (1983). He even spoke the characters lines during performances, although his west-country accent was dubbed over by James Earl Jones during post-production.

However, this isn’t the first time Prowse has expressed his disinterest in Star Wars, as he also criticized the prequel trilogy.  “I didn’t like Star Wars I, II and III at all,” he told the Hull Daily Mail in 2013. “I think the common opinion now is they were really bad movies. There’s no comparison with the original movies. They had a much more believable story.”

Yet despite this Prowse still talks about Star Wars on Twitter. @isDARTHVADER
Long standing feud

The feud between George Lucas and David Prowse remains mysterious with various possible reasons being explained by Prowse. The Darth Vader actor, says his health, career and marriage have all suffered since playing the famous villain in the original blockbuster movie trilogy.

And he will refuse to watch the new film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when it is released. David also revealed that he preferred playing the Green Cross Code man in the long-running road safety campaign — and no longer even owns a Darth Vader mask.

Car wars ... actor as road safety hero the Green Cross Code man
Darth Vader actor as road safety hero the Green Cross Code man PA

The 6ft 6in actor has been cut from the Star Wars family despite his crucial role in the original films which turned co-stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher into household names.

He has also been snubbed by film bosses ahead of the release of the seventh movie, which is poised to shatter box office records around the globe, having been tipped to make Disney billions.

Instead David, who battles severe memory loss and gets around in a wheelchair after a leg operation, was snapped at a Comic Con fan convention in Wrexham, north Wales, last month earning a living selling autographs for £20 each.

The former bodybuilder and Commonwealth Games weightlifter said:

“I’ve only got one favourite memory of filming Star Wars and that is when my very first cheque arrived. No one bothered to contact me about the new movie and to be honest I don’t care. I don’t even own Darth Vader’s mask anymore. Today I am a shadow of my former self. I can barely walk and struggle to even remember what I did yesterday.

My wife won’t have anything to do with Darth Vader and says Star Wars has been an intrusion into our life. People ask what went wrong with George Lucas but to be honest, I still don’t really know. All I know is that I am one of the film’s best characters. It was Darth Vader people talked about the most, not Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher.

Those behind the film cut me out and have continued to ignore me for years. So do I have any interest in watching the new movie? No, I don’t.”

David fell out with director Lucas, 71, after he was accused of leaking the crucial plot twist that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father before the release of 1980 sequel The Empire Strikes Back.

He still starred in Return Of The Jedi, the final film of the initial Star Wars trilogy, but in 2010 was banned from official Star Wars conventions when their relationship soured further.

Vader to stunned ... Prowse at convention
Prowse at convention

The final straw was believed to be when David appeared in the 2010 anti-Lucas documentary The People vs George Lucas.

He has claimed he did not know what the interview was for. He said: “You have no idea where these interviews are going to go and this one found its way on to the documentary.

“Obviously Lucas didn’t like it.”

The first installment in the new trilogy is one of the most eagerly awaited films in history. Its world premiere is in Los Angeles tomorrow, with the European premiere in London the following day.

It has been claimed David, originally from Bristol but now living in Croydon, South London, was upset because his voice wasn’t used for the original films. The dialogue was spoken by US actor James Earl Jones.

Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia in the movies, has claimed the film’s stars nicknamed him “Darth Farmer” because of his West Country accent.

Another theory on their fall-out was that director Lucas promised David he would remove his mask and be seen at the end of the third movie, Return Of The Jedi, but actor Sebastian Shaw was used instead. David blasted back:

“I can’t remember leaking anything. I definitely upset George Lucas at one stage or other and I do feel disappointed about that. People thought I was upset that my voice was not used. But I did the voice all the way through the movie. It had to be re-recorded as everything was no good.

But they forgot to get me to do the dubbing before they went back to America and it was too expensive to fly me out there for the half-dozen or so lines I had, so they got James Earl Jones, who did a wonderful job. They put the block on me doing the Star Wars convention every year to celebrate the film. It annoys me intensely but there is nothing I can do about it.”

Darth time ... James Earl Jones voiced Vader role
James Earl Jones voiced Vader role

David even revealed Darth Vader was not his favourite role. He preferred dressing as kids’ superhero the Green Cross Code man for the British road safety campaign which ran between 1971 and 1990.

He was awarded an MBE in 2000 for his association with the character and said:

“My best ever job was the Green Cross Code man. I had 14 years of going around schools and giving talks to children. It was the best time of my life.”

After Lucas sold the movie rights to Disney for £2.66billion in 2012, original cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford were all signed up. Even Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 are set for a return.

Although Darth Vader was killed off at the end of the first trilogy, David still believes he could have been involved in some way.

“I have never had a call from anyone to be in the new movie. Nobody even bothered to get in contact to ask me about my association with this movie. There was no way I could come back as Darth Vader, as he was killed off, but it would have been nice to have been offered a part, irrespective of the role. It would have been really nice to continue with the Star Wars association.

When the new film was being made they had a big party to launch it and I never got invited. It is so strange as Darth Vader was the most important character. No matter who you talk to about Star Wars, the one person people want to talk about is Darth Vader.”

Not Vader way ... Sith villain is one of movie's most recognisable characters
Sith villain is one of movie’s most recognisable characters

Dad-of-three David attended the Wrexham Comic Con convention last month, where he set up a stall selling autographs for £20.

He now makes his living attending fan events.

David believed his contract for Return Of The Jedi gave him a share of the film’s profits, but he claims not to have received any cash.

Before Star Wars, he was British champion weightlifter and played a bodyguard in 1971 cult hit A Clockwork Orange, which is where is he said to have been spotted by Lucas.

And while Darth Vader is one of the world’s best-loved baddies, one person who was not enamoured by the character is David’s wife of 52 years, Norma.

The couple have lived in the same house — the only home they have owned — since 1964. But David sometimes has to remind his wife that the living he makes attending conventions and selling autographs and photos through his website is what supports them financially.

“I go to a convention every weekend, it dominates my life. But she doesn’t want to know about it. Then I get annoyed and say, ‘Have a look around this house. You have a car in the drive and we have a lovely garden. Everything in this house has been paid for by f****** Star Wars, so be f****** grateful!’

When I say that she just goes quiet and doesn’t know what to say.”

On his health issues, David added: “I had an operation on both my hips ages ago and although the hip replacement is OK, my right leg won’t straighten properly.

“As a result I can’t walk two yards without crutches. I can’t put any pressure on my leg. If it’s a distance then I have to get wheelchair assistance. My memory is not much better either. I filmed Star Wars nearly 40 years ago and I can’t really remember any of it. I can’t even remember what I did yesterday, let alone last week. I did have prostate cancer and I got the all clear. However, I can’t remember how long ago that was either.

I haven’t been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but it’s very hard for me.”

 

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