Tommy Weldin (Gela Yeens)

Tommy Weldin
Gela Yeens (A New Hope)
Interview: 2010

How did you start in the movie business?

My wife’s friend was actress Barbara Shelly. I had a nice Jaguar and was getting fed up with my line of work at the time so she suggested when she got hired for Quatermass and The Pitt that I become her chauffeur… she introduced me to the film crew and the director thought that I would make a good gangster.

Can you tell how you got cast as Gela Yeens and a stormtrooper for Star Wars: A New Hope?

We all stood in line and the director picked me out.

Can you tell something about the shooting of the Hangar Bay 94 scene, in which Jabba confronts Han Solo?

I nearly got killed…. I had done the scene about three times when just as I walked away from my spot when a steel bucket fell from high off the gantry… the director went mad!

Your scene as Gela Yeens was eventually cut from the movie. When did you find out about this?

I was always working and never really had time to go to the movies. So I never knew my scene had been cut.

Originally your character didn’t have a name. Years later the name Gela Yeens was introduced. Did you know this is an anagram of Angel Eyes, the character Lee van Cleef played in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and you got this name because you looked like van Cleef in the movie?

I didn’t know that but I had played Wyatt Earp before in a commercial directed by Ridley Scott in the 1970’s for Ranchero’s Crisps/Potato Chips.

Besides Gela Yeens you also played a stormtrooper. Can you share some memories regarding the shooting of these scenes?

The sweating and pain of wearing the suits… we actually had to take a knife to them and cut them to stop getting hurt.

What expectations did you have of the movie when it was filmed?

None, never thought it would take off.

What is the best memory you have regarding Star Wars?

Being in the Bar.

What are you currently doing? Are you still in the movie business?

Yes, I am playing one of two village drunks in the new Jack Black movie Gulliver’s Travels.

Please finish the following sentence: “When I look back at my work on Star Wars, I…”

Remember the money!