In 1976, Daniels had only been acting for two years when he took the part of C-3PO
in Star Wars
. He originally refused to see the director George Lucas
and had to be strong-armed into a meeting by his agent.
"Just call me stupid," he suggests.
Daniels, who lives in London, was a late arrival at the show-biz ball. In an era where the safe jobs were in the professions, parental influences made sure that a career in law won over his real desire to be an actor. It was at the age of twenty-four that he finally made the leap. His "...growing frustration and a tiny bequest from a dead person," made drama-college a reality. Three years of training were coming to a conclusion when an inspiring voice coach helped Daniels to win the BBC Radio Drama Award. It gave him six-month contract and a priceless union ticket. From the BBC he moved to out-of-town theater.
When that contract ended he added his name to the unemployment register. Two hours later he was called to join Britain's National Theater, young Vic Company. The next eighteen months were taken up with touring Shakespeare productions in Europe and appearing at the theater's home base in London. It was whilst he was playing Guildenstern in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in London's West End that he got the call.
"At the time robots were mainly clumsy, Dalek-types -- boxes on wheels armed with a sink plunger -- not exactly an acting challenge. Why would I want to meet a man about a box? And in a sci-fi movie? I'd asked for my money back when I saw 2001." But he did meet George Lucas and was impressed, especially by a conceptual painting by Ralph McQuarrie hanging on the office wall. It was a plaintive picture of two rather lonely metal figures in a moonscape.
After receiving the script for Adventures of Luke Starkiller, he realized he loved the character of C-3PO. "He didn't have a sink plunger and he wasn't a box at all." He again met with the man whose ideas would change filmmaking forever and eventually asked if he could play the part. "Sure," said Lucas. That one word immediately took Daniels to Elstree studios in England to be heaped with indignities.
"Having a total body cast is an extremely unlovely experience. The plaster gets everywhere." The resulting statue was the basis for the robot's design. "So no, I didn't get the part because I fitted the costume!"
A surprising result of Daniels being locked in a gold suit on set, surrounded by technicians, was his developing interest in special effects. He now enjoys a secondary career in the exhibition and conference industry, where he has worked as producer/creative designer on The Westminster Experience, The Guinness Taste Sensation, Singapore's Volcanoland, Dubai's Encounter Zone, and The London Dungeon.
Star Wars always seems to be somewhere in Daniel's background. He writes many articles about his sci-fi experiences especially in his 'New Improved Wonder Column' in The Star Wars Insider. He regularly contributes to Star Wars Titan magazine. His first comic book for Dark Horse, The Protocol Offensive, is a further, darker adventure of his golden alter ego. Recently his writing skills as well as his peculiarly detailed knowledge of the character's personality were harnessed when C-3PO was chosen to host the Monopoly Star Wars CD ROM.
The re-release of the Special Edition created an enormous new audience of fans who had only seen the original Star Wars trilogy on video. The arrival of Episode I The Phantom Menace will increase that momentum of good will. "As Threepio would say, 'Here we go again.' I was surprised when I found out just where Threepio comes from. I think the audience might be shocked too. As you will see, filming was much easier for me this time and it was a lot of fun to be a part of the whole show once again. I'm not sure what it will all mean but I'll go on answering the fan mail."
, The Empire Strikes Back
, Return of the Jedi
, The Making of Star Wars
, I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle
, The Phantom Menace
She Stoops To Conquer, Forget-Me-Not Lane, Much Ado About Nothing, The Boyfriend, Macbeth, P.S. Your Cat is Dead, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Streets of London, Dangerous Corner.
The Famous Five, Singles, The World of Eddy Weary, Three Up Two Down, Square Deal, Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, Prime Suspect IV, Prime Suspect V, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
Vlad The Drac, Vlad The Drac Returns, Vlad Superstar, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Christmas in the Stars, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command.
(Visit his official site at anthonydaniels.com)