I can just imagine the day that David Prowse was told he was going to play Darth Vader in Star Wars. That had to be some pretty awesome news for a body builder/actor whose previous credits included being the bodyguard of an aging writer in “A Clockwork Orange“. This was a leading role in a Hollywood studio-financed feature film! The director, George Lucas, was a promising up-and-comer, after a successful “American Graffiti” debut (not to mention “THX-1138“). I imagine the discussion went something like this:
Studio Exec: So, David, congratulations on the part. This is big stuff!
David Prowse: Yes, I’m very excited.
SE: Yes, it’s a brilliant role, one of the most iconic evil villains ever, I’m sure. But there’s one tiny detail we need to discuss.
DP: Listen, I’m ready to throw all of myself into this role. Between you and me, I just finished working with Stanley Kubrick…he’s kind of a prick.
SE: Yes, yes, brilliant work there. So, Davy, may I call you Davy?
DP: I prefer David.
SE: Sure, sure, brilliant. So Davy, we’re going to have to put you in a costume.
DP: I read the script, so I expected I’ll be wearing some sort of a space suit?
SE: Exactly! Love that we’re already on the same page. Brilliant! So we’ve had some conceptual drawings made up, and it looks like this…
DP: I see. So is this finalized, with the whole mask and everything?
SE: Pretty much. You see, we’re going with the whole “Dark Sith Lord Half-Man-Half-Machine” concept. It’s trending better with the tweens.
DP: I see, so no one will see my face?
SE: Oh, absolutely they will, as long as we get picked up for two more pictures.
DP: Two more pictures?
SE: Well, in episode six, the man behind the mask is revealed. So we’ll get to see your face then. And your voice.
DP: Wait, my voice doesn’t get heard until then either?
SE: We’ve hired another actor to play your voice as well.
DP: So you’re asking me to run around in a plastic suit that covers my face and no one will hear my voice or have any idea I’m inside this bloody thing?
SE: Yes, but in episode six they take off the mask, and…
DP: Episode six? You just said three?
SE: Calm down now, Davy. Star Wars is episode four.
DP: So what happened to episodes one through three?
SE: We haven’t made those yet. Trust me…this just how it works.
DP: So let me get this straight, you want me to sign up for a six picture deal that you’re starting on picture four, where you won’t use my face or my voice except for one scene in the last movie?
SE: Pretty much.
DP: I’m In!