Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Done In 60 Seconds Competition 2015
Guide To Marvel's Infinity War
The Making Of The West Wing
Get 12 Issues For Only £25 Today
The perfect gift this Christmas
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
CLICK FOR MORE EXCLUSIVE STAR WARS FEATURES ›

RELATED INTERVIEWS
Star Wars Archive: Harrison Ford, Solo Artist
Everything you always wanted to ask the master of the universe. But we got there first.
Star Wars Archive: 'We've Just About Learned To Live With Each Other...'
Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker on C-3PO and R2-D2's decades of hilarious high jinks
More Interviews

RELATED REVIEWS
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
Empire Star Rating
EMPIRE ESSAY: A Clockwork Orange
Empire Star Rating
The Horror Of Frankenstein (1970)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Star Wars Archive: 'Rise.... Darth Farmer'
The original Vader, David Prowse, breathes again…

submit to reddit

This article was first published in Empire Magazine Issue #192 (June 2005).

As part of our Star Wars coverage when Revenge Of The Sith hit cinemas in 2005, we spoke to many of the series' original cast and crew. One key, and towering, figure was David Prowse, the Englishman who played Darth Vader. Hidden by a mask and dubbed by James Earl Jones, he may not have seen the stardom that stuck to his castmates, but he remains an essential part of the appeal of the ultimate bad guy. Here he talks us through his experience...

Star Wars Archive: 'Rise.... Darth Farmer'

When you were shooting Star Wars, did you sense the film was going to be so big?
No. You knew you were in a major movie, with the big sets and actors such as Sir Alec Guinness. But we really had no idea of what was going on. I thought it would come out and die a death and that would be it.

Who did you enjoy working with?
I enjoyed working with Alec Guinness - it was a great privilege. On Star Wars I was renewing an association with Carrie Fisher, as I had worked with her mother, Debbie Reynolds, in 1974 at the London Palladium. Carrie came along to sing a song. She was lovely, really nice. I see her now at the conventions, and it's all hugs and kisses. She signed a picture for me not so long ago, "To my real daddy."

What do you think you brought to the role of Vader?
I had years and years of being a bodybuilder, where you have to pose and display your physique. You learn how to use your body, and I think that came over in the Darth Vader role, with the movements and the hand gestures.

Star Wars Archive: 'Rise.... Darth Farmer'
Clockwise from top left: Prowse rehearses with Sir Alec Guinness; Prowse with DP Gilbert Taylor; shooting on the Death Star; helmet-free during an on-set rehearsal

When did you find out your voice was dubbed?
When the film came out in America, I got a cable from Russ Meyer, saying: "Congratulations, you're in the biggest film of all time. By the way, did you know they've overdubbed your voice?" There were all sorts of stories about why they did it, mostly my accent: Harrison Ford even nicknamed me Darth Farmer. But about 20 years later I got a letter explaining that it was because there were too many English accents in there already, and they wanted the film to feel more American.

What effect did playing Darth Vader have on your career?
Well, as far as work is concerned, none whatsoever. At the same time I got Star Wars, I also became the Green Cross Code Man. Those commercials came out over the Christmas of 1976. The film came out in America in 1977, and then all the publicity came over here, and the next thing I knew was the Department Of Transport was going to sack me, as they thought the evil Darth Vader would affect my goodie-goodie GCC image. In the end the reverse was true: the kids paid more attention to me because I was Darth Vader.

Did you have anything to do with the recent films?
I was very disappointed that they didn't ask me to reprise my Vader in the final film. They didn't even discuss it with me.

What do you do these days?
The Star Wars convention scene has become so big that now I do nothing else - I travel round the world on someone else's expense.

This article was first published in Empire Magazine Issue #192 (June 2005). Interview by Steve O'Hagan

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 48% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's Jurassic World Trailer Tour
We guide you, Richard Kiley-style, through the secrets of the new park

Empire's Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies Covers
Five armies. Five covers. The eagles, dwarves, elves, men and orcs prepare for battle in our Peter Jackon guest-edited issue

Empire’s Peter Jackson Issue Subscribers' Cover Arrives
Five Armies, three elves, two heavenly creatures and one giant ape

Empire's Farewell To Middle-Earth Issue:
Guest -Edited By Peter Jackson

The countdown to Empire's stunning new issue begins here...

Josh Hutcherson On The Hunger Games Phenomenon
'I've done my fair share of young adult material now'

What Is A Squidward? A Beginner's Guide To SpongeBob SquarePants
If you aren’t already a massive fan, prepare to become one

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Robert De Niro
The heavyweight champion of character immersion, explosive rage and jawdropping subtleties

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)