Death Star Trooper (A New Hope)
How did you get cast for A New Hope?
In 1976 I had been in the biz for ten years as an extra and bit player. All the folks in the biz used to get their work from agents and a place called Central Casting.
They would phone you up to ask you if you would be free to work on a certain show say the following week or just a day or two. I had just finished a job on a couple of Doctor Who’s when Central Casting phoned me up to see if I was free to work for seven days on a new film being made called Star Wars.
Know no one had ever heard of this film and the thought of seven days work sounded good so I said yes and turned up at EMI studios on the Monday to start work.
I knew most of the guys there as we had worked together many times over the years. Some of the guys were picked out to be Stormtroopers and some with masks on and strange make-up. Me and my mate Ron Conrad were picked to be Death Star Troopers. They said we didn’t need makeup we looked rough enough.
In which scenes can we see you?
Ron and I worked mainly on the lead up to the Death Star Chamber scene with Carrie Fisher which included some corridor scenes and some real back of the set stuff guarding doors like a couple of ‘minders’
In the scenes in the Death Star Chamber with Carrie all we had to do was look nasty but in between set ups Carrie would come over and chat with Ron and I and tell jokes. She was a good joke teller. I thought Dave Prowse said his name was ‘Daft Ada’ Dave has got a strong Bristol accent.
Did you meet ‘the big 4’ (Hamill, Ford, Fisher, Lucas) on the set? How were they back then when they were not yet famous?
Of course I met George Lucas, after all he was directing the film, and he explained what he wanted us to do in the scene. I did see Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill walking about the studio but they were not in our scenes. I did get to work with Harrison on other projects.
Mark Hamill once said that during the shooting of A New Hope the British cast was mocking the main cast. Have you noticed this?
Every actor should take work seriously, that’s why they’re actors.
I did over eight hundred jobs and even in my small roll I did the best I could. I was getting paid after all.
Your nickname is ‘Aitch’. Where does this come from?
I was born in London, in the East End, and cockney people always called anyone with the name Harry, Henry, Harold, Herbert: H. So what I did with H. was to spell it, and it’s spelt Aitch.
According to your website you worked with Harrison Ford twice. What was the other movie?
I got to work again with Harrison on the film Force Ten From Navarone in 1979 where I played a German, but only did a couple of days.
You got paid 77 GBP for your work in A New Hope. Suppose you could do it over again for the same paycheck, would you do it?
I didn’t earn a lot of money on Star Wars but it was a good week’s money thirty years ago.
Of course I’d do it all again to be in one of the biggest films ever.
What is your opinion on conventions and meeting fans and fellow actors?
It is great to meet some Star Wars fans and to say hello. Some of these guys came a long way and I thank them all. Who thought this poor kid from London’s East End would end up signing pics from a job that he loved. I thank you again.
It was nice to meet up with the others from thirty years ago.
If someone wants an autographed photo of you, what should he/she do?
If a fan wants a signed pic he/she can grab one off my website and send it to me.
HARRY “AITCH” FIELDER
C/O EQUITY ACTOR’S UNION
UPPER ST MARTINS LANE
LONDON WC2H 9EG
If there is anything you want to say to the readers…here’s your chance!
When I was young, I used to go to the cinema and watch films and I thought to myself I’d like to be in films. So when I grew up I did just that. It wasn’t an easy ride but I did it.
If you have dreams go out and get it, or at least try. If you don’t try, you don’t get.
Please read my web site to see how it can be done, and don’t give up the dream.
Thank you Dennis for letting me have my say…