It’s hard to remember that under that scary black mask, there was a real guy in there doing all the acting. That man’s name is David Prowse, and he will forever be known as the one and only Darth Vader from the original Star Wars trilogy. We recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Mr. Prowse to talk to him about Star Wars, sci fi, and everything geeky in-between!
Mindhut: Where are you from originally?
David Prowse: Well, England, of course. But Bristol, in the West Country. I left there when I was about 14.
MH: You actually had quite a career before Star Wars. What were some of the movies you did prior to the Star Wars movies?
DP: I did The Horror of Frankenstein. I did a film called Vampire Circus, and I did another one called Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell. And then probably the most notable film I did prior to Star Wars was Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
MH: What do you think it was that George Lucas saw in the character you played in A Clockwork Orange that made him think “This guy could play the most powerful bad guy in the universe?”
DP: I don’t think he thought that at all. Nobody had any idea that Darth Vader was going to capture the imagination of the fans like he did. I mean, the whole film was built around Mark Hamill and Princess Leia and Harrison Ford. But no one expected Darth Vader to usurp all of them and become recognized as the ultimate screen villain of all time… which I’m immensely proud of. And I’m first to appreciate the bit that James Earl Jones added to it. I did the voice all the way through the movie and I fully expected to go into the sound studio and rerecord all the dialogue at the end. But they chased back to America when they couldn’t get all the special effects they wanted in the UK. Then, when they were in America, it wasn’t economical to fly me all the way over to America just to overdub a few lines like that. And they got James Earl Jones who is possibly one of the best voice-over artists in the world, which enhanced Darth Vader immediately.
MH: What are some of your personal favorite bad guy performances from other sci fi movies?
DP: To be honest, I’m not a sci fi fan. I’ve never seen an episode of Star Trek. I’ve never seen it on TV, I’ve never seen it on film. Sci fi films don’t interest me. I never thought Star Wars was really a sci fi film. I just thought of it as a very interesting adventure movie. Like cowboys and Indians, but set in space. Good guys and bad guys.
MH: Did you see any of the prequel trilogy?
DP: Yeah. I saw them and didn’t like them. I don’t go to the cinema all that much. Even with the original Star Wars movies, I think I’ve only seen them in the cinema once or twice at the very most. And then I’ve seen them on television only occasionally. But if someone said “Oh, Star Wars is on TV tomorrow night,” I wouldn’t stay up to watch it.
MH: What are your favorite kinds of movies?
DP: Well, my favorite movie of all time is Dances With Wolves with Kevin Costner. I thought that was a great, great, great movie. Loved it. I don’t enjoy the Bond movies all that much, but I love the Bourne Identity movies. The Bourne films… I thought those were nice.
MH: If you were to get into the mind of Darth Vader as the character he was in Episodes 4-6, and he came across Jar Jar Binks, do you think Darth Vader would kill Jar Jar Binks?
DP: I can’t even remember what Jar Jar Binks did.
MH: He was the computer animated character with the dreadlocks.
DP: (Laughing) No comment!
MH: I think that says it all!