Leesub Sirln (A New Hope)
Interview: May 2010
How did you get started in the movie business?
I started being interested in TV when I was 17. I was a farmers daughter from a very rural part of the UK and moved nearer to London when I was 14 and had my picture in the local papers, I was a cute kid, but very naive.
At my local disco I was friends with a local pop group and they were invited to appear on a TV pop program, called Ready Steady Go. I went with them as a supporter and I was noticed by the director and invited back every week, so here starts the story. This was in 1966.
I did some modeling, but due to family circumstances I had to have a permanent income and this led to me having many jobs all over the world.
I used to work in a casino and moved to a town called Brighton, where Richard Attenborough came to make a film called Oh! What a Lovely War. I went and was accepted doing crowd, standing in and doubling and ended up doing three months on it. I was then accepted as a full time member of the Union and agency. I returned to London and was lucky to get plenty of work.
How did you get cast as Leesub Sirln in A New Hope?
How I got the job on Star Wars, I can’t really remember, but the agency probably sent me for an audition and that’s what I ended up as.
I was very happy to get the part, I had to then go to make up for a full headcast, probably the most frightening thing I have ever done, it was like being buried alive.
The make up took two hours to put on and one hour to remove.
What do you recall of the shooting of your scenes? I know it’s over 30 years ago, but anything you remember I’d like to hear.
I was teased on set as it was near Easter and I was called egghead and dildo; very flattering. I did five days shooting in the cantina, never realizing how successful it would be all these years later.
Everyone was happy and nothing like it had been done in the UK. So varied and crazy costumes. The little people were very cheeky and as my bottom was on display you can imagine what I endured. I was allowed to take two Polaroid photos to show my dad, as by now he was very sick and died in 1979 aged 58.
I went in and out of the business, as I said before I always needed an income.
When A New Hope was shot your part was known as ‘Weird Girl’. In the mid nineties your character finally got a name: Leesub Sirln. When and how did you find out your character got this name and how was your reaction?
I retired from full time work in 2005 and joined one of my old agents. She received fan mail, and that’s how I knew that my pics and autographs were collectable.
I had no idea my character had changed names, I didn’t have access to the internet at that time. So many people have sent me pics and sketches I’ve never seen. It was very exciting to have my collectable come out in 2009.
Over the years you have attended various conventions where you had the chance to meet the fans. What do you think of these events and how is it to meet all those fans who want you to sign photos, posters etcetera?
It’s been wonderful meeting fans and old work colleagues at show and conventions.
What are you up to right now? Do you have new projects coming up?
I’ve been in and worked on about 300 different films TV and commercials.
I qualified as a chef when I left school, then modeling, an air hostess, casino management…I have been lucky to have a very varied career. I still can’t swim though.
Im now back doing filming, conventions and fun casinos for parties and weddings and also corprate events.
My summing up would be Viva La Star Wars.