JJ Abrams is all wrong about women and ‘Star Wars’

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A New Look At Carrie Fisher’s Leia In Latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens TV Spots.

On “Good Morning America,” “The Force Awakens” director J.J. The Daily Beast sat down with Princess Leia herself—and her celebrity dog, Gary Fisher—for a wildly entertaining chat about the ‘Star Wars’ films.The first is actually another extended Disney Channel promo, which mixes shots from the original trilogy with some snippets from the new film – the most interesting of which sees General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) share a smile with Daisy Ridley’s Rey.

She could have been framed by the tail of slobbering Jabba the Hutt, still the 2nd Carrie Fisher appeared with in that gold bikini suit & headset hair-do, she became one of Hollywood’s most hailed beauties of all time.In her recent interview with Good Morning America, below, Fisher was asked about the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in which she reprises her role as Princess—now General—Leia. Abrams touted the fact that his movie has a female main character (Daisy Ridley) and declared that “ ‘Star Wars’ was always a boys’ thing and a movie that dads take their sons to, and though that’s still very much the case, I was really hoping this could be a movie that mothers could take their daughters to as well.” I’m absolutely all for a push to make the “Star Wars” franchise reflect the diversity of the huge galaxy it purports to explore. I’m on my third glass of ice water—poured by a terribly attentive waiter—in a cordoned-off area at the rear of The Carlyle Restaurant, a moneyed Madison Avenue haunt fit for a Don Draper and Roger Sterling six-martini lunch.

It’s not the only thing that Carrie Fisher wears in the original Star Wars trilogy, but it’s certainly the most visible, spawning Halloween costumes and figurines and lingering in the collective pop culture memory far more than the draped, toga-inspired garb she wears nearly every other scene. But there’s something a bit odd about a drive for “Star Wars” to fulfill its potential that ignores the female fans and female characters who have always been there and the very real ways in which “Star Wars” has historically been influenced by genres that are oriented toward women. Today, as Carrie returns to the role virtually 40 years of time of time on – now as the mature General Leia – she shows she feels far from a fantasy figure, & all the time did. So gone is the bikini, and in its place is not only a newly empowered General Leia, but also Star Wars’ newest heroine Rey, played by newcomer Daisy Ridley.

It’s not just that Princess Leia is one of the greatest female science fiction or fantasy characters of all time, whether she’s standing up to torture and genocide, brushing off the illusions of her rescuers so she can get down to business, falling in love or choking out a criminal overlord with the very chains he has used to enslave her. It’s been rumored for a long time that Rey will turn out to either Han and Leia’s, or Luke’s daughter – which means she’s kin to the former Princess one way or the other.

I would do everything yet have serious surgery for it and look like a weird fish with gills.” Now 59, the Hollywood pin-up states she’s been dogged by an emphasis on appearance all through her profession. … In between coordinating a major political and military movement, Leia, the worthy female character audiences are meant to identify with, spends a fair amount of her time trying to choose between two suitors for her hand. The second spot, meanwhile, is fairly standard, and features several exciting new glimpses of action as Finn and Rey get to grips with flying the Millennium Falcon.

I think in my mouth, so I don’t lie.” Fisher, noting that Gary’s tongue hanging out of his mouth, said, “The tongue wasn’t out of his mouth before his movie. There’s Luke, the young seeker who is quick to adopt Leia’s political ideals — in part because they fulfill his craving for a special destiny — and Han (Harrison Ford), a more mature, experienced operator, but one who’s more skeptical of the Rebellion that is Leia’s life’s work and that has cost her so much. This is a durable storytelling model, one that has animated stories as revered as “Pride and Prejudice” and as derided as “Twilight.” It’s also a structure oriented toward the drama of emotions and domestic life. In an October interview between Fisher and Ridley, Fisher asserted that her character was not a sex symbol, and advised Ridley, “You should fight for your outfit. Don’t be a slave like I was.” But though the gold bikini — known as the “Slave Leia” outfit — remains the best-known costume among women in Star Wars, it was a small part of a series that has actually empowered its female characters (though their numbers have been few), from Leia to Natalie Portman’s Padme Amidala to Ridley’s Rey.

But even if the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy galaxy, the original “Star Wars” movies consistently make time for Han to plant a smooch on Leia in the middle of an asteroid field or for him to tell Leia that he just wants her to be happy even if that means she’ll be with Luke rather than with him. The film, set 30 years after the events of 1983’s Return of the Jedi, is the seventh installment of the space opera set in a galaxy far, far away, and the first under the Disney banner. And given the movie’s omertà, with a plot that’s proven more difficult to penetrate than the Death Star—journalists weren’t even allowed to screen the film prior to conducting interviews—we’re relegated to discussing Fisher’s past escapades.

As the daughter of screen icon Debbie Reynolds, she’s Hollywood royalty, and ever since her debut in Warren Beatty’s Shampoo, she’s lit up the screen in films like The Blues Brothers, Hannah and Her Sisters, The ‘burbs, When Harry Met Sally…, the list goes on. First, I ask her about the rumor that she beat out Meryl Streep for the role of Princess Leia—a question that causes her to scream, “Bullshit!” She laughs. “I’ve never heard that one. Circle skirts and headdresses are not conducive to swordplay, or lightsaber-play, though both women still took down more than a few stormtroopers in their time.

But if the romance between her and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen, saddled with deeply horrendous dialogue) doesn’t have the crackle that animated Leia’s relationships with Han and Luke, the prequels are still balanced between the public and private spheres. His public obligations as a Jedi-in-training conflict with his private attachment to Padmé, and after they’re married, his anxieties about her pregnancy nudge Anakin closer toward forbidden exercises of his powers; he hopes to prevent her, and anyone else he loves, from ever dying.

The very mention of this causes Fisher to smile widely. “Yes, that one’s true,” she says. “I was renting Eric Idle’s house for five months, and he was doing Monty Python down in Tunisia, and they had a drink that they would give to the extras to make them more ‘compliant.’ And they called it ‘The Tunisian Death Drink.’” “We had an early call, and Eric called down and said, ‘The Rolling Stones are here!’ and I came down and it was all of them,” she continues. “I called Harrison and said, ‘Get over here! From what we’ve seen of Rey’s attire so far, it’s more pragmatic than the flowing skirts of the first six films, allowing her to jet around on a Mad Max-looking hoverbike and battle enemies with a lightsaber inherited from Han Solo. But Abrams and the other directors who contribute to the franchise really ought to acknowledge that if they do these things, they’re hardly the first “Star Wars” storytellers to do so. We don’t really smile a lot in the movie, but there we’re smiling.” Apparently, Fisher had a really good time while filming Empire—which she says is her favorite Star Wars film by a mile.

Young girls can look at her and know that they can wear trousers if they want to.” That might be the most important legacy of the new costumes: Ridley’s loose pants are more functional than aesthetic, and they force observers to reckon with her skill as an actress and her character’s assets aside from her looks. I didn’t inform him, but I always thought that if Boba Fett were of a mind, he could see all the way to Florida.” “There’s so much bullshit about that,” she says. “There was this thing on Fox News about this father not being able to explain to his daughter what the outfit was. What, that my character was forced to put on that outfit against my will, and I took it off as soon as I could kill the guy who picked out the outfit? I really wanted to kill him.” There’s also the matter of the kiss—you know, the strange kiss between Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in Empire to make Han jealous.

In it, he complains about the movie’s dialogue, writing, “…new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper—and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable.” “None of us knew what we were saying,” she says of Guinness’s complaint. “There was a line in the new one I had to say where I didn’t know what the fuck I was saying. It’s under ‘weirdness.’” She also concedes to working as a script doctor on the Star Wars prequels, and says she even helped craft a “short story” to help Guinness get into character on the original film. “George had me come and talk to him. I would help George doing certain things,” she recalls. “He had me write a short story thing for Sir Alec, so I helped him write that, but I wasn’t really writing until I was in my early 30s. George would come and say, ‘Look at this,’ so I would come and help.” In her memoir Wishful Drinking, Fisher jokes that George Lucas “ruined” her life by casting her as Princess Leia.

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