Star Wars feud lasted years ‘He was unpleasant, rude and hurtful’ | Films | Entertainment

Forget Darth Vader and his family dramas, they paled beside the vituperative and vicious barbs and attacks between two of the cast. When The Express sat down with C-3PO star Anthony Daniels to discuss his new book, he shared his distress over a feud that lasted until the 2016 death of R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker. The diminutive star said Daniel’s looked down on him like a “piece of sh*t”, calling the 3ft 8′ actor ‘little man’ and dismissing his work. Baker called Daniels “the rudest man I ever met.” In public, Daniels actually once sniffed “it was like “working with a bucket” but never addressed Baker’s personal slurs directly, until recently.

Daniels’ remarkable book I Am C-3PO gives an extraordinary insight into the pleasure and pain of filming every single Star Wars movie – a feat unmatched by any other actor.

When I ask about Baker, Daniels is clearly still hurt after all these years: “Kenny decided that he wanted to say unkind, unpleasant, rude, hurtful things. It got worse and worse. And rather like Mr Trump, if you say it often enough, people believe you.”

As for their work, Daniels bluntly gives his opinion of the differences in their roles and performances. The subtext is that Daniels clearly believes nobody else could take his place in the golden suit, but may not think the same about R2-D2.

He once said about later films, Baker’s name was only on the credits “as a talisman.”

“The fact is we didn’t really appear or interact together. He was in a box he couldn’t do anything with. He couldn’t hear me. He never made a sound. I had to work, frankly, very hard to believe that this object (he taps the glass of water on the table) was my best friend.

“R2-D2 never spoke to me, but I had to believe it was real. I created all his dialogue in my head so C-3PO had something to react to, to bring our conversations alive.”

Daniels reenacts a scene, delightfully giving Artoo a rough, East End accent.

He is momentarily animated, before adding, “I think everyone just took it for granted and didn’t realise what I had created.

These days they have a performer on set for BB8 and I believe the script has his dialogue in English. It is so much better to act against. I wish we’d had that in the early days.”

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Another source of tension throughout the decades was Baker’s desire to capitalise on the fans’ love for the relationship between their characters.

“He really wanted to go on tour and do conventions together. He kept asking and I said, ‘No, I don’t want to.’ He didn’t take it very well.” 

Baker claimed Daniels looked down on conventions, but the actor speaks warmly about fan events and the joy they bring him: “I remember with such joy what it was like meeting with fans at the first-ever Star Wars Celebration.”

Daniels has stayed closely involved with Star Wars events as well as hosting special concerts and presentations. Clearly, it wasn’t the conventions that were the problem.

Decades later, a monumental problem arose as a major part of the fandom rebelled against the final trilogy, especially Episode 8, The Last Jedi. 

Daniels told us: “I do understand why the fans are unhappy… It speaks to a devotion that they care so much that they mind if someone messes with it. I understand people being critical of the films.”

He has remained fairly silent until now, while stars like Mark Hamill have dropped loaded comments online and in interviews.

Daniels added: “I know it has been particularly difficult for him (Hamill) lately because the new movies haven’t given him much to do. I certainly recognise that and can relate to it.

“In these new movies, I have felt like a table decoration. And that is difficult because I recognise this character (C-3PO) is worth so much more. But I understand it is a whole film, not a feature about C-3PO.

“That is just my personal disappointment. I get paid whether or not he does anything but it would be nice for him to have a purpose.”

I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story by Anthony Daniels is published by DK (£18.99). Also on audio.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is on Channel 4 at 8.45pm tonight

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