Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Stand-In Wookie

As I was going through my box of scraps, trying to put a scrapbook together, I came across this old photo, circa 1976. It was taken during the time I was trying to break into the movies. Even though I was determined to make it as a gorilla actor, I was willing to branch out into other areas just in case the perfect role came along. That was how early on, I got to be the stand-in for Chewbacca in the film "Star Wars." The guy who played Chewbacca and I were on pretty good terms (the rumors that he kept threatening to rip my arms out of my sockets were overly exaggerated) but there was always some part of me that hoped he'd need to take a long nap, and then I'd actually get to star in the film.

One day, Chewbacca accidentally let the cranberry juice ferment in his sippy-bottle. Consequentially, he was royally ill for several days. They called me to come in and do his scenes. I was thrilled, but I had just put a pie in the oven. All throughout the shoot, I couldn't help but think about that pie and worry that someone was going to let it burn. I asked one of the tusken raiders to take the pie out in 45 minutes, but he or she must have been called to do another scene, because just as the cameras began rolling for the big shoot-out on Tatooine, one of the robots came running onto the set, flailing his arms and yelling, "Pie on fire! Pie on fire!"

George Lucas, the director, was furious with me. "I had been looking forward to that pie all day, and now you've ruined it. You've ruined my pie." He stormed off in a huff. I could understand, because it was, after all, a rhubarb-strawberry pie.

In short: I was "let go." They didn't pay me, but they said that if the movie ever made any money, I would get a free lunchbox. As it turned out, the movie did make some money. I got my lunchbox, and a few action figures besides. George Lucas never did get his rhubarb-strawberry pie, though. Poor guy. He should have stuck with the gorilla.

11 comments:

Monkey said...

Brad... you've lived such an interesting life. In fact, it is safe to say that you have had NINE lives. Are you sure you are not part feline?

you look fetching in your wookie costume. Simply fetching I tell you!

Ulric said...

I think they got the rumor backwards. I thought the rumor was that YOU threatened to pull the the-actor-who-played-Chewbacca's arms out of their sockets, or at least throw a fit, because you didn't get cast for the lead role of Chewbacca. Anyway, you should have gotten the lead role.

Monkey said...

I like your business card! I'll have to post photos of mine. They are a little different, but similar. You need a better photo of YOU on your cards though.

Brad the Gorilla said...

Thank you, Monkey and Ulric. I do get a pang every time I watch the Star Wars movies, knowing that I could have been the wookie in some scenes had it not been for the pie.

I was wondering about the photo on the business card, and was actually thinking of having a drawing instead. We shall see. I look forward to viewing your business cards, Monkey!

HitManJ said...

Brad, tell me more about rhubarb. What does it taste like? How is it mixed with strawberries in a pie? Looks like you used a crumbled crust in that photo...Cardamon?

Lady K said...

I'm SO sorry you didn't get the part, Brad. AND sorry your pie caught fire. Strawberry-rhubarb pie is YUMMY! Will you make another? This time in an Elvis-shaped pie pan? There are better parts out there for a gruff gorilla like you!

Nonny said...

The weird part, I just watched "A New Hope" last night. I thought I recognized you but then since you had never mentioned it I thought I must be imagining it.

Brad the Gorilla said...

Nonny: I am touched that you recognized in Chewbacca what would have been the perfect part for me. Unfortunatly, all the footage they took of me went onto the cutting room floor. The next time you watch the film, look closely at the scene where Han, Luke, Kenobi, and Chewbacca are in the cockpit fleeing from the stormtroopers on Tatooine. That was supposed to be my scene.

Ladyheart: I will always make another rhubarb pie. I need to get ahold of some rhubarb, though. In fact, the mere thought of rhubarb pie makes me swoon.

Hitman J: Rhubarb, also referred to as "pie plant" is a rhyzome that is shaped like celery (only dark red with green streaks), has large leaves (don't eat the leaves! They're poisonous), and is very, very tough and sour. Once you chop it up and cook it with sugar, it becomes soft, juicy and yummy. It's great to freeze rhubarb in the summer and then have pie in the winter. (Or pie all the time!) The strawberries complement the rhubarb, but raspberries are also good. I like to put ginger in, as well. Ohhhhh. Swoon, swoon. Ask for it, yea, demand it, from your local greengrocer. Send me some, too. Here, also, is a link to information about rhubarb

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Hitman J,
Unlike Brad, I have a thing for making "healthier" (but still tasty!) versions of decadent desserts. Most rhubarb pie recipes have way too much sugar in them for my comfort level. Not too long ago, I posted a bit about Rhubarb crisp on Saints and Spinners. (The ginger was my idea, Brad! Give credit where credit is due.) Once you have the rhubarb, it's quite easy to make.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

When creating a scrapbook are you able to use human scissors or do you have to use special gorilla scissors with enormous fingerholes?

Brad the Gorilla said...

No scissors, Mr. Pudding! No scissors. Everything is done with the flick of a mouse, the touch of a keypad, and voila, all is contained on one letter-sized piece of paper. It's a good question, though. If I had to cut anything, I'd probably just use a kitchen knife.