Original Star Wars Props

BigBadDaddyVader




ADDITION:
For those of you who have enjoyed this interview and Brian's outstanding contribution to the art of cinema he has now released his autobiography:

"An amazing insight into the life and career of Brian Muir who famously sculpted the iconic Darth Vader at the young age of 23.
With over 40 years experience working on 60 major films, Brian gives us a window into the mysterious world behind the scenes.
His life's work reveals his unseen talent that is 'In the Shadow of Vader'.
 
 
Brian Muir's autobiography is available on Amazon.co.uk or directly from Brian at vadersculptor@googlemail.com
 
Visit his website http://www.brianmuirvadersculptor.com to see some of his work spanning 40 years."

This is an amazing read covering Brian's long and illustrious career in cinema and some really fascinating pictures of his work.I highly recommend this!

INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN MUIR

I am now very pleased to bring this interview with the very talented sculptor Brian Muir to my site.Brian was responsible,during his career in film,for sculpting the iconic armour and helmet for Darth Vader and also the equally iconic armour for the Imperial Stormtroopers.

Brian Muir  was born in 1952 in London and his parents moved to a little known village called Borehamwood in Hertfordshire the home of Elstree Studios.
At 16 Brian Muir was offered a 4 year apprenticeship as a sculptor/modeller by his careers officer. As well as being assigned practical work for films at the studios Brian also attended Sir John Cass Art College in  Aldgate and then onto Kennington Art College a year later.
 Brian left the studios when he completed his apprenticeship and worked for a company Bradfords for 3 years.Brian worked on many prestigeous commissions including a plaque for the Stock Exchange (unveiled by the Queen).
 Then in 1976 Brian returned to Elstree Studios to work on Star Wars - A New Hope.
 Brian continues to work in the film industry, and  has just finished on the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince currently being filmed at Leavesden Studios. During Brian's distinguished 40 year career he has worked on over 60 films.
 Brian lives in Iver, Bucks with his wife and has 3 grown up children.



Brian working on the coat of arms for the Crown Court,1974

Bigbaddaddyvader.com:How did you come to be involved in the production of Star Wars?

Brian Muir: I was asked by Arthur Healey, the old guy I served my apprenticeship under, if I would like a start on a film called ‘Star Wars’ and I jumped at the chance.

BBDV:What was your original briefing for the work you would carry out?

BM:.I was told it was for a Science Fiction film and that I would be sculpting some type of futuristic characters. I was given drawings for each project as required.

BBDV:What were your first thoughts when you saw Ralph McQuarrie's concept art?

BM: The first Ralph McQuarrie painting I saw was of the Stormtroopers. My thoughts were that they were very detailed and good reference to work from.

BBDV:After seeing the concept work did you have any immediate thoughts about how to approach the characters?

BM: Having seen the concept work I realized that I would need a full plaster figure to be able to sculpt the armour and head on in clay. I also realized the Stormtrooper armour would have to be sculpted in separate sections for fitting purposes.

BBDV:Which piece did you start work on first and did you have a specific reason for this?

BM: I started on the Stormtrooper armour initially because the suits were needed in Tunisia for filming by 26th March 76 and they had to be sculpted, moulded,cast in plaster, carved to sharpen lines, remolded and recast in fiberglass to be used as tools in the the vacuum forming process. At least 50 suits were required for the film.

BBDV:What Were the challenges you found about realising the concepts?

BM:There were no technical challenges as the sculpting side came easily but like anything artistic it’s subjective and with the input of John Barry (designer) and George Lucas changes were made.

BBDV:What was your first impression on how to accomplish Darth Vader and how to make the result both practical and effective to the character?

BM: I needed a plaster cast of Dave Prowse’s body and head to know that the finished helmet and armour would fit him.
From the practical side I knew that to have a minimum thickness of ¼ inch of clay to ensure there would be a casting thickness in fiberglass from the mould. Darth Vader’s character and menacing look evolved in the sculpt.



Brian Muir-from 1978 to present working on the" Death Star droid" and with his creations.

BBDV:Which aspect of Darth Vader did you feel was the most immediately important and striking

BM: The eyes being open and reflective made them appear piercing and with the addition of the helmet’s widow’s peak the menacing look was accentuated.

BBDV:
How did you come to the look of the armour and how was this accomplished?

BM:Although the mask and helmet were sculpted from a sketch by John Mollo, wardrobe designer, the armour was true to the Ralph McQuarrie Painting with a few changes in the 3 dimensional process.

BBDV:What was your input on C-3PO after Liz Moore left the production?

BM: I carved the oblong recesses in C3P0’s helmet, sharpened the plaster cast of the helmet and armour. I sculpted the hands on the back of Anthony Daniel’s hands in clay. This is not usual practice but they were required in a rush.
Although they were sufficient for A New Hope they were sculpted properly by Roy Rogers for Empire Strikes Back.

BBDV:In light of the recent much publicised dispute between Lucasfilm and SDS can you now state what your part and input and work on the Stormtrooper helmet and armour was?Who was responsible for the final look of the helmet in particular?

BM: As is now known, Liz Moore sculpted the Stormtrooper helmet and is responsible for the final look. She left Elstree Studios to go to Holland where she sculpted the helmet. I was unaware of this until recently and am glad that she has now been credited with such an admired piece of work. It appears that the ears were added at a later date, possibly to hide the joints,but it is not known who sculpted them.
I was responsible for all the armour on the Stormtrooper. Pieces were added: ammunition belt,shoulder straps,knee plate and knee boxes. These were made from wood for vacuum forming and probably made by the carpenters shop.

BBDV:What did you feel were the most important aspects of the design for the stormtrooper helmets and armour?

BM: The armour was made to look as if it was a complete suit but with the movement it opens up and each part mirrors the next. Unfortunately during the process of being replicated it has lost its original form. It is a well balanced concept which is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The armour gave the actors freedom of movement so they did not look robotic.Ralph McQuarrie’s concept of the helmet was also aesthetically correct and a good balance with the armour and in my opinion Liz Moore achieved everything Ralph McQuarrie portrayed in his concept.

BBDV:Can you share some more detail about your work methods and how you move from general concept to reality?

BM:The main thing with sculpting is not just to get the drawing right but to get the form right so it looks correct from every angle. From the very start of the sculpt you are moving from concept to 3 dimensional  reality.

BBDV:Although you worked on Star Wars for a relatively short time your work has become iconic and timeless.When you first saw Star Wars on the big screen what was your impression of your work?

BM: The rest of the crew and I were extremely impressed with the film on completion. I was very proud of the work I had done and it was fantastic to see it come to life on the screen.
Seeing Darth Vader on screen was one thing but with the addition of the sound of the breathing apparatus and the voice of James Earl Jones it was a masterpiece.The helmet, mask and armour all worked well but the cloak was a work of genius. Darth Vader’s overall presence was phenomenal - he was the total focus of attention when he appeared on screen.



Darth Vader,Star Wars:Episode IV:A New Hope,1977

BBDV:What are your thoughts on the redesigned Darth Vader helmet for episode III?

BM: I think it was very professionally sculpted but somehow lacked the character of the original Darth Vader - although some would say that I’m obviously biased.

BBDV:What are your best memories of working on the film?

BM: My best memories are of enjoying the challenge of a new project. I was pleased to be back in the film industry and had great pleasure in working with Liz Moore, John Mollo and many others.

BBDV:Do you have any negative memories of your time on the film?

BM: My negative memories are of having completed 2 weeks of evening overtime was then told that I was not entitled to payment - only weekend overtime was paid. I worked 76 days straight and felt extremely tired at the finish.

BBDV:How do you feel your work has contributed to cinema overall?

BM: Although I am proud of so many of my sculpts that have appeared on screen I have to acknowledge that I am only a small part of a large team of very skilled workers in the film industry. I do hope that my work has enhanced the visual impact on each film I’ve worked on.
 Ironically with all the lavish work I have accomplished both in and out of the film industry in the last 30 years it appears that I will be remembered for Darth Vader.

BBDV:You still have a very close relationship with the fans.What would be the message you would have for them about your work and their appreciation for it?

BM: Until recently (30 years on) I was totally unaware of the impact my work on Star Wars, particularly Darth Vader, had on peoples’ lives. It’s only now having contact with the fan base and receiving so many complimentary remarks and how inspired some say they have been to try sculpting for themselves that I have come to realise the influence my Darth Vader sculpt had on them. I’m amazed and flattered that they attribute this to my work all those years ago.
I’ve been lucky in my life to have had the opportunity to pursue a very satisfying career and to be appreciated for it is such a bonus.

I would like to draw attention to the following Facebook links for both Brian and his wife Lindsay:

The Dark Side of SDS:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/367062635069/

The Original Stormtrooper:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Original-Stormtrooper/308958205795601

Both these links are important to draw attention to the TRUE facts regarding the genesis of the stormtroopers and the real facts regarding their creation.I would particularly like to draw attention to the tireless work carried out by Lindsay on both her husband and Liz Moore's behalf.



Brian signing for me at Celebration Europe,London,2007

I would like to express my thanks to Brian for taking the time to speak with me and to say what a pleasure it has been talking with him.I wish Brian and his family all the very best in the future and to thank him for his fantastic work.

UPDATE
FEBRUARY 18TH,BELFAST,ODYSSEY ARENA:

Brian with myself and my sons Lucas (on the left) and Gabriel.






AN INTERVIEW WITH LIGHTNING BEAR

I am very pleased to present this interview with the renowned stuntman and director Dr.Lightning bear.Dr.Bear has worked in the industry for over forty years with a career that has encompassed television,film,direction and stunt co-ordination.His work has included televison such as Star Trek and The Six Million Dollar man.His extensive film career has included work on Diamonds Are Forever,The Towering Inferno,Planet Of The Apes,Saturday Night Fever,Black Rain,the first three Star Trek motion pictures and of course all three original trilogy Star Wars films.He has recently made the move into direction with his own film "Bad Blood".I am delighted to bring this interview with such a distinguished member of the film community to my site and wish to extend my sincere thanks to Dr.Bear and his personal assistant.
For more information on Dr.Bear,his career,future appearances and for personalised merchandise please visit his site at:
http://www.lightningbear.co.uk/index.html

 
Dr.Lightning Bear

www.bigbaddaddyvader.com: Firstly Dr. Bear let me sincerely thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview as it is a great privilege for me.

Lightning Bear: You are very welcome. It is an honor for me that you have asked and feel that my career is worthy.


BBDV.com: Can you tell me about your background and early life?

LB:I am Native American, but this was a difficult time being young. When I was young there was still a lot of prejudice, I spent much of my time as a loner. I was always interested in the performing art in all capacities. I start singing in school at a very young age. Though out school, I did plays, both dramatic and musicals, like Westside Story. I would later do this in Summer Stock. Then much to the disproval of my parents, I went into film work.

 
BBDV.com: Who have been the most important and influential people in your life?

LB:This is a hard question to answer as there has been so many. Relating to the Industry, I guess it would be Spanky Mc Farland who gave me my start and later Dick Shane who trained me in Stunts.

Lightning Bear in "Diamonds Are Forever",1971

BBDV.com: How did you come to decide on stunt work as a career?

LB:Spanky wanted to make an actor out of me and I actually went to LA to go to school. I ended up telling him that I just wanted to be able to work and go to school. He suggested doing stunts and got me my first job on the Virginian. Here I met Dick Shane and as the old saying goes the rest is history.

Lightning bear in "The towering Inferno",1974
 
BBDV.com:What would you consider to be your first major break in the business?

LB: My first major break was Spanky and a Casting Director by the name of Carl Ambrosia. As I said before they got me into the Industry.

 
BBDV.com: Is there anyone you particularly enjoyed working for and with in a production?

LB:I have been very lucky in my Career having worked with many top people on both sides of the Camera. I would guess the most I enjoyed was working with Richard Harris. One of the top highlights of my life was being asked by his sons to speak at the Memorial Tribute they did for their Dad after he died.

Richard harris in "A Man Called Horse",1970
 
BBDV.com: How did you come to be involved in the production of Star Wars?

LB: It was because of Richard Harris that I got on the films. I was in London for production meeting on one of the Man Called Horse films. A close friend was working at Elstree Studios and took me out there.

 
BBDV.com: What was your personal experience of working with George Lucas?

LB:I always worked with the Stunt Coordinator or fight arrangers mostly. Since many had multiple roles or extra work, we did not have much direct connection with Mr. Lucas. I can tell you he was a man under great pressure, but was always nice to the people that worked for him. I have always respected him in his vision. He kept working on his dream, even though at one point Star Wars came very close to be canceled.

 

Lightning Bear in "The Empire Strikes Back",1980

BBDV.com What was your initial impression upon arriving on set?

LB:It was all very professional. Mr. Lucas knew what he wanted and had things set for him to be able to accomplish them.

 
BBDV.com: Where there are any specific challenges to working on Star Wars?

LB: Not many as each set and each location was different. Each had different things to take into consideration as to how things were setup and scenes accomplished.

 
BBDV.com: Was it problematic working in the amour and were there constrictions to its design and construction?

LB:Yes it was difficult. They were hot and difficult to see out of and move in.It took a longer time than usual to set it up and get a decent take for the film. How many times we do something depends mainly on the director. It took longer for these as we also had to hide our protective gear as well. In setting up a stunt, it is a collective effort between the stunt person, the stunt coordinator, the director and DOP.

Lightning Bear in "Star Wars Episode VI:Return Of The Jedi",1983
 
BBDV.com What were your thoughts and reactions upon the release and success of the film?

LB:I think most of us knew we were working on something special when we did Star Wars. I do not think that anyone could have guessed it would become as big as it has. It is hard even after all these years to remember the reaction and all the giant lines when it was first released. I am grateful and honored to have been a part of it. It is always great for me to be able to attend the conventions and meet the fans that come, even though what I did was only a small part of the films.

 
BBDV.com:How did the experiences vary between working on each of the three films with the different directors and style of action required?

LB:Each was unique but all were positive. Again different places required different setups and preps.

 
BBDV.com: What are your fondest memories of your time on the Star Wars trilogy?

LB:Mr. Lucas based a lot of the films stories on the work of Joseph Campbell. These are based in the teaching of the indigenous cultures around the world and the Native American Culture. In watching the stories unfold, I enjoyed seeing how our stories and beliefs can fit into life no matter what time period it is set in. I am also a teacher of Native American Culture and I can tell you there are many forces that we work with that many do not understand.

 
BBDV.com Do you have any unpleasant memories of your work on the films?

LB: Not really.

 
BBDV.com: What would you consider to be the most challenging production you have worked on in your career?

LB:Probably the Hindenburg. Mainly because of all the fire work that was required. But again, each film had its own challenges. This is mainly from the aspect of safety. Most of our time is spent making sure all stunts and action can be done as safely as possible.

Scene from "The Hindenburg",1975
 
BBDV.com: How have you found the transition from acting and stunt work into direction on your film "Bad Blood"?

LB: They are each different. Each is also similar. When directing, you have more to take care of and look out for. You learn (or at least I did), that you never turn away ideas or suggestions from the crew or actors. You have the final choice. The director is like the captain of the ship. You need to be open to your crew for ideas, but in the end the decision is yours.Making film is a collective effort. Each department, each person is important to the production. The whole process can at times be overwhelming.
The transition is not that big a jump really. As a Stunt Coordinator, you are involved in the shooting process of a particular sequence. On a lot of films, the Stunt Coordinator is also the 2nd Unit Director. Bad Blood came to me at first for me being the Stunt Coordinator on the film. The director of the film was new to the Industry and had only a limited idea on directing. After many consultations about the script he asked me to co-direct with him. So actually I am a co-director on the project.

 

BBDV.com Looking back over your hugely varied career what are your personal standouts and what do you feel you contributed to the business?

LB: How lucky I have been having met and worked with some of the greats of the Industry. As to what I have contributed to the Industry, it is difficult to say. Probably not very much. My hope is that some of my work has helped make the films I have worked in, has brought some enjoyment to those who have watch them by making them a bit more believable and realistic

Once again I would like to personally thank Dr.Bear for taking the time to speak with me and I wish him all success in his future endeavours.

AN INTERVIEW WITH JEREMY BULLOCH

I am very pleased to now bring my interview with actor Jeremy Bulloch to my site.Jeremy is a true gentleman with a real appreciation for the fans and I must thank him for his time in speaking with me.Born in Leicester, England, Jeremy Bulloch entered the Corona Academy Drama School and quickly succeeded as a child actor, appearing in film and television. Bulloch's big break came at 17, when played the part of Edwin in the successful British film Summer Holiday (1963) starring pop idol Cliff Richards.

Bulloch later joined the cast of the BBC soap opera "The Newcomers" (1965), which made him a household name in the United Kingdom. Best known for playing the role of Boba Fett in the Star Wars original trilogy, Bulloch also appears in The Empire Strikes Back a second time, sans helmet and armor, as one of Darth Vader's Imperial officers.

In addition to his work in the Star Wars original trilogy, Bulloch stars in three of the James Bond films (as Smithers -- the assistant to the ever-present Q); and in a variety of films including Hoffman (1970) starring Peter Sellers, The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970), Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) starring Vanessa Redgrave and O Lucky Man (1973) starring Malcolm McDowell.

On the small screen, Bulloch appeared in several TV episodes of the legendary "Doctor Who" (1963) and as Edward of Wickham in the TV series "Robin of Sherwood" (1984).

Bulloch lives in London with his wife Maureen; he also has three grown children.



www.BigBadDaddyVader.com:Can you tell me about your background and early life?

Jeremy Bulloch:I was born in market Harborough, Leicester and attended school in Dorset,Somerset and Littlehampton before
going to drama School.I loved sport and wanted to be a footballer and cricketer.I sort of fell into acting as I failed my 11+ exam.

BBDV.com:Who have been the most important and influential people in your life?

JB:I think my mother in the early years as my father was dead against me having a career in showbiz.My godmother was also influential as she suggested that I went to drama school after failing my exams.


BBDV.com:How did you come to first work in film?

JB:I had my first audition at twelve years old and it just went from there.

BBDV.comWhat would you consider to be your first major break in the business?

JB:I suppose the film "Summer Holiday" and then the soap opera "The Newcomers"

BBDV.com:Is there anyone you particularly enjoyed working for and with in a production?

JB:I enjoyed working with Cliff Richard in Summer Holiday and Roger Moore in the Bond films

Summer Holiday,1963

BBDV.com:How did you come to be involved in the production of Empire Strikes Back?

JB:My half brother Robert Watts was on the production side of the Star Wars films and suggested that my agent call to get an interview.
If I hadn't fitted the suit I wouldn't have played the part of Boba Fett.


Jeremy Bulloch as Boba Fett in "The Empire Strikes Back",1980

BBDV.com:What was your personal experience of working with Irvin Kershner?

JB:Great fun and a very good director

BBDV.com:What was your initial impression upon arriving on set?

JB:My impression was amazing as I was in the costume with the helmet on.I noticed everyone looking at me.I knew I didn't have much to do in the films but my children would think
I was cool.

BBDV.com:Where there are any specific challenges to working on Star Wars?

JB:Just extremely hot all the time.

BBDV.com:Was it problematic working in the armour and helmet and were there constrcitions to it's design and construction?

JB:It was never easy working in the outfit as it was heavy but I got used to it. I was better off than most of thr actors.

BBDV.com:What were your thoughts and reactions upon the release of the Empire Strikes Back and it's striking differences to the original film?

JB:I was nervous that the Empire Strikes Back wouldn't be as good as A New Hope but once I saw the finished film I then knew it was as good as the first film.


Jeremy Bulloch as Boba Fett in "Return Of The Jedi",1983

BBDV.com:How did the experiences vary between working on Empire and Jedi with the different directors and style of action required?

JB:There is always a difference with a new director.As I had been in Empire I was told that I should keep the character the same.

BBDV.com:What are your fondest memories of your time on the Star Wars trilogy?

JB:Just going in to work every day.I had many friends playing parts in the films.We were all like little children dressing up in funny costumes.

BBDV.com:Do you have any unpleasant memories of your work on the films?

JB:None at all



BBDV.com:What would you consider to be the most challenging production you have worked on in your career?

JB:A stage play called Dangerous Obsession.There were just 3 actors on stage and I had to break down and plead for my life 8 times
a week for two years.It was exhausting.

BBDV.com:What are your personal standouts and what do you feel you have contributed to the business?

JB:I am celebrating 50 years as an actor so I think I have contibuted a lot to the business.I always believe you have to have luck in this tricky profession.


Courtesy of Ben Broomfield - www.benbroomfield.com

Once again I would like to thank Jeremy for taking the time to speak with me.You can visit Jeremy's site for updates on his appearances and experiences at:
http://www.jeremybulloch.com/