I read that you got the part of Quiggold thanks to a friend who forwarded you an email. Could you tell in short how it all went?
Yes, he’d sent a group email encouraging us to register with a casting agency who were looking for amputees. Maybe I was the only one to do it, but within a week of registering I received an email asking me to go to a job at Pinewood Studios. They couldn’t say what it was for, so I rocked up having no idea what I was there for!
I really think many people with a physical disability will look up to you. I mean, you’re in Star Wars, the most popular franchise ever! How do you feel about this?
I’m not sure how many people realised that Quiggold was played by a real amputee and not CGI’d. I did see a post on a forum saying that Simon Pegg played him “a peg leg, it’s obvious!” It made me laugh.
Were you a Star Wars fan before you got cast? What was the first time you saw a Star Wars movie?
Star Wars fans are going to hate this, but I saw the original in 1977 when I was 6 year old, and that’s it! Until I went to the preview of The Force Awakens.
Your big scene is with Finn in Maz Kanata’s castle. How was John Boyega to work with?
Obviously I realised that he was a main character, but because everything was so secret I had no idea who he or Daisy was when we were on set together. We did speak, but to be honest I really had no idea who they were. Blissfully ignorant!
Could you share some funny, remarkable, weird stories regarding the filming of your scenes?
Whilst the crew were adjusting the set, I was stood next to John. He asked me, “So what have they had done with your leg? Have they strapped it to your arse or something?” I looked at him confused, realised that he meant it, and replied, “Err, no. I’m an amputee mate.” He looked horrified and said “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realise!” It was hilarious!
Could you describe an average day on the set of The Force Awakens?
Bloody hot! It was the middle of summer and the temperature inside the fat suit and head was incredible. In between takes a leaf blower was thrust into the mouth of Quiggold’s head to cool me down.
You have your own Quiggold action figure! How great is that! What was your reaction when you found out?
Yeah, that is smart! I found out when a friend in America posted a picture of it on Facebook, after he saw it in a toy store over there. I have quite a few of them, they make great presents at Christmas!
The big question: will we see Quiggold return in Episode VIII?
It’s probably the most asked question I get at conventions, am I in the next film. It would be brilliant to feature in another film, but we’ll have to see…
In daily life you work as a development manager for Pace Rehabilitation, a rehabilitation company for people with limb loss, or serious limb injury. Do you have ambitions to work more in the movie business?
Being an amputee gives you a bit of a USP (unique selling point), so I expect any future opportunities would be centered around that fact, which is fine. I was one of a several amputees in the forthcoming Wonder Woman film recently, which was also great to do.
My final question: please finish the following sentence: “Looking back at working on Star Wars: The Force Awakens…”
I realise that I was VERY fortunate to be involved. It is something to tell the grandchildren and anyone else who will listen!