Femi Taylor (Oola)

Femi Taylor
Oola (Return of the Jedi)
Interview: May 2007

You were in both the original version and the special edition of Return of the Jedi. How was it to play the exact same role with 14 years in between?

It’s hard to explain. When you think about it, it’s quite amazing doing a role so many years later, in the original costume, with the same make-up. Having said that, it was amazing, to be the only person to do that, go back and play the same role.

The magic question: how did you manage to look exactly the same?

I don’t know. (laughs)

You haven’t aged a bit!

Well, I didn’t have kids back then, so my body didn’t really change. I just about fitted my costume.

Do you think the movie got better with the extra scenes?

Some parts were really better, like my part. The part with the three dancers in the new music sequence wasn’t really better I think. But maybe I am biased. It was nice to see my death scene. Back in 1983 everybody asked me what happened to me after I fell in the pit. It was good to see that now.

Are you still acting right now?

No, I had kids and I decided to spend time with hem at least for some years. I am going for something different than acting: interior design. I am following lessons for that.

Now, that really is totally different.

Yes, you know, the business has changed. There aren’t that many good films right now. In the 70s and 80s the film industry was very good. There is not much good work anymore. It’s more reality shows on TV nowadays. I don’t have the passion to work in that industry anymore.

Your brother, Benedict Taylor, was in Episode I: the Phantom Menace. Did you have anything to do with him getting that part?

No, I didn’t have anything to do with this, but his friend Nick Gillard (the stunt coordinator for Episode I) said he should mention his name, so that’s how he got it. He also worked with producer Rick McCallum before. Still, it really isn’t a big part, just a two day job.

I heard that it was Rick McCallum who called you and asked you to return for the Special Edition.

No, maybe it was him who said that they should try to find me. It was the casting director Robin Gurland who called me and asked me to return.

Can you tell about your experiences on the set back in 1982?

It could be quite boring. When you do a film like this it is a lot of waiting. I had to be in make-up at 4 o’clock in the morning and then had to wait until they called me on the set to test the lighting. Then I could go back to my room and wait for another three hours before the scenes were filmed. It was fine. Mark Hamill would come up to me to talk and so did Billy Dee Williams. It was pleasant. Back then it was a job, no matter that Star Wars was a phenomenon. For me it was just an acting job and I behaved like that.

Wasn’t it strange to be among so many strange creatures and puppets?

No, it was my job and if you would be intimidated by that it would be wrong.
You are part of the scene and you just get on with it.

Were you a fan of the movies before you were cast?

No, not at all.

You did see the movies?

Yes, I did. They were ok. I’m a girl! (laughs) It’s probably because of that.

Did you snatch some items from the set as a souvenir?

No, if I would have had my original costume they couldn’t have measured me up again. They keep it in their archives and you are not allowed to touch anything.

Maybe after this interview they offer you something?

They might!

I will send this to George.

(laughing) I will not take anything George! I promise!