Promoting Star Wars in 1977, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher did their best to answer this interviewer...when they could get a word in.
In May of 1977, a movie called Star Wars was released into less than forty theaters. Nobody expected much out of the odd-looking sci-fi movie who’s biggest stars were the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and a 63-year old Alec Guinness. It only took a few days for word of mouth to transform the movie from a galaxy far, far away to become one of the biggest blockbuster movies ever made.
In the days before the world discovering the movie, the cast of soon-to-be celebrities were put on a press tour to pump up interest with Star Wars interviews. In the days before the internet, entertainment interviews were a different animal. No PR people, no edits, and way more candid in a time that you couldn’t go viral for the wrong reasons.
Featured in these interviews are a 19-year old Carrie Fisher and 35-year old Harrison Ford, fresh off playing Princess Leia and Han Solo for the first time. In the interviewer chair is John Lanigan, host of Lanigan At Large, a local entertainment show that ran on the local Cleveland WUAB 43 station. Bedecked in a white leisure suit and enough gold chains to distract several seagulls, Lanigan sits down to talk with Fisher and Ford…and talk and talk and talk.
Lanigan relentlessly motor-mouths his way through his interviews, with Fisher gamely smiling and nodding, when she isn’t deflecting his demands to hear about her teenage love life. Ford is the opposite end of the spectrum, looking like he wants to wants to be anywhere else. (Lanigan pre-emptively tells us that Ford was “nervous” about the interview, and that’s why he’s acting like he wants to hurl himself out a window when asked what “his hobbies are” five times in a row.)
In our era of sound bites and stars who have perfectly crafted quips prepared for every press junket, it’s fascinating to watch these slow-motion train wreck interviews elapse in real time (and to see everyone SO YOUNG). So enjoy this look back at some truly cringe-worthy Star Wars interviews, and remember; if you meet Harrison Ford, don’t ask him if he has a boat. He doesn’t have a boat!