Terry Madden (Assistant Director: A New Hope)

Terry Madden
Assistant Director of Star Wars: A New Hope
Interview: November 2022

As an Assistant Director Terry Madden has worked on no less than 13 James Bond films, starting with For Your Eyes Only in 1980. His big break in the movie business was four years earlier, when he was offered a job for a movie called Star Wars

How did you get started in the movie business?

Even as a small boy I had a fascination with cameras, and knew that this is where my career was taking me, I didn’t know what, but I knew it was in that direction. I left school at 16 and tried to get work in the film industry. However the unions were strong and they had a closed shop rule, which meant, you couldn’t get a job unless you had a union ticket and you couldn’t get a union ticket unless you had a job. A catch 22 situation. However after five years of being a runner in a non-union grade, making endless cups of teas, I eventually got my break.

You were one of the Assistant Directors of the first Star Wars film. How did you get this job?

I was now a union member and getting myself well established as an Assistant Director. I had a call from 1st Assistant Director Tony Waye, to do a film called Galileo with him. However the dates did not work as I was on another production, so I had to pass. So when he was asked to do Star Wars he phoned to see if I was interested in joining him on it.

What were your exact tasks as an AD on Star Wars?

I was the 3rd Assistant Director. My job it is to work alongside the 1st Assistant on the floor. Organizing the background extras in setting them in shot, dealing with the actors in ensuring they were on set when needed, getting them into makeup and wardrobe and communicating with the various departments regarding requirements.

Which scenes did you work on?

I did the whole of the U.K. and Tunisia shoot, which means all the live action you see on the screen. We were not involved in the models, which were shot in the U.S.

Photo credit: Terry Madden

Do you have any favorite anecdotes of things that happened on and off the set?

It was such a long time ago… you forget things. I just remember Harrison, Carrie and Mark being fun and so down to earth and we were all young and got on well together.

On Star Wars you worked with George Lucas, who was at the start of his career. How was he to work with?

George was a gentleman, very quiet considering he had a lot on his plate to get it made. He certainly not fashion conscious. As far as I could see his wardrobe consisted of about four nearly identical shirts and two or three identical pairs of jeans.

Did you have any idea Star Wars was going to be the biggest cinematic success?

No, no one did, perhaps except George. The cast and crew use to joke about things like Carrie’s hair and the Stormtroopers falling over in their suits. However when that space ship flew over the top of camera in the cinema, the joke was on us.

Looking back, what is your fondest memory regarding working on Star Wars?

I am very proud to have worked on Star Wars. However my fondest memory was meeting up with Tony Waye and Gerry Gavigan (the other two assistant directors). A friendship that had lasted up to this very day, which I have Star Wars to thank.

The list of films you have worked on is beyond impressive. So many favorites of mine, many Bond films, Clash of the Titans and even Jim Henson’s The Storyteller and Young Indiana Jones. Which one are you most proud of?

As an Assistant Director, working on Troy was fantastic. Action sequences with a crowd of 1500 people, plus chariots, horses and ships was a dream. But out of all of them my proudest is Bond! Having worked on them over a 35 year period it was part of my life, but also working with such great people and the Broccoli family made it even more enjoyable. There are not many people in the industry, if any, who wouldn’t give their right arm to work on one Bond and here is me with thirteen added to my credits.

Photo credit: Terry Madden

You had a terrible accident on the set of Spectre. How are you doing these days?

I’m doing fine, good days and bad days.

I wish you a fast recovery and good health!