by Iñaki Oñate
A long time ago, when I was a teenager I set out to shoot a short film entitled “Carry The Fisher”. It was about a young clerk bored with his existence and the world around him and whose only joy came from a psychotic obsession with Princess Leia in Return of The Jedi (1983). That and smoked salmon.
One day, while he is riding the morning bus to work, he spots a girl that is identical to his object of extreme desire, unleashing some strange and dark ideas in his mind.
I laid out the idea for the short film on a couple of storyboards and immediately thought of the perfect person to portray the look-a-like Leia girl on the bus. The next day, in the afternoon, I went to see my girlfriend at the time and showed her the idea for the film and expressed my interest in asking her younger sister if she was interest in playing the part. “Sure… I’ll tell her,” said my ex, forcing a smile. Along with the storyboard for the movie I had brought a picture of Princess Leia in her emblematic slave metallic bikini. That didn’t help much either.
Her sister was overjoyed and excited to participate but the project was obviously aborted. Back then the priorities were to keep the hearts happy and try to not mess up a good thing.
Years later, with that girlfriend long gone and the adult angst above my shoulders I came to realize what had happened that afternoon. Two things: 1) I had given away in a silly manner that I had the hots for the ex girlfriend’s sister and 2) that my childhood love for Princess Leia had remained intact through out the years.
It was love, true love. I wanted to be Han Solo or Jake Blues just to know how it felt to own the heart of the galactic princess. Not only was she beautiful and sweet but also strong and brave. She had another name: Carrie Fisher, and she was Hollywood royalty all right. Daughter of successful pop singer Eddie Fisher and American actress Debbie Reynolds. Carrie grew very close to her mother after Fisher father fell for a pair of purple stunning eyes and abandoned Carrie and Debbie to marry someone who was actually Debbie Reynolds’s best friend, Liz Taylor.
Carrie was a teenager when this happened and she resolved the pain by devouring literature and writing poetry. Soon enough her mother would introduce her daughter to her given destiny by inviting Carrie to participate in the broadway revival of Irene. She was 15 years old and after that the ride towards stardom started. She debuted in the film Shampoo (1975), directed by Hal Ashby and written by Robert Towne and Warren Beatty; two years later, in 1977, she would become an universal icon by playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars saga.
Fame, fortune, a shampoo with the cap in the shape of her head, all these achievements would gradually frustrate the heart and the mind of the princess. Drugs and alcohol appeared in the landscape of glory and power.
After the Star Wars rush ended, she seeked shelter in the very thing that had helped her when she was a broken teenager, literature. Fueled by despair and confusion she wrote her first novel: “Postcards From The Edge” a satirical account of her own life experiences. The book was a smash hit. Not only could she control the force and fight the empire but she could speak from the scarred bowels of her soul and that can be the most scary thing to do.
A film adaptation of the movie would follow as well as other succesful books.
In 2015, The Force Awakens was released and everybody went to the movie theaters to re-encounter the original myths. It had been a wait of three decades and I remember it clearly. An old Harrison Ford standing in front a ship that’s just landed and out of it she comes. Our Princess (or General I must correct) Leia. I remember some people in the audience gasping. Shocked that time had taken its toll upon her. But there she was, radiant and sweet, despite the years and the struggles, with the musical love theme that had accompanied them in The Empire Strikes Back (1981). The myth was unbroken.
There I was back in my childhood falling in love with her. She died relatively young, 60 years old. She could’ve stayed a little longer. The whole world said goodbye to her, all of us who dreamed about rescuing a princess so particular.
On the other hand, Disney is making 50 million dollars on her death. Business as usual.
Days ago I went to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and I was completely mesmerized when the young CGI baby fat face Leia appeared at the end of the film. I totally overcame the uncanny valley. Maybe because her death was so recent and the idea of seeing her Young a fresh was stronger. “Hope” she said. Rebellions are built on hope and she will always be a reminder of courage and tenderness. She will encourage us to have hope.
My dear princess, I hope you are up there in the black sky dancing among other stars. I know you are. Along side your mother and others. Looking upon our planet and guiding us through the darkness of this world.
Iñaki Oñate / Writer (Quito, Ecuador – 1988) Iñaki resides in Buenos Aires, where he studied film directing at Universidad del Cine. His short films have been part of the official selection at the New York, La Habana and Cannes festivals. He’s currently developing his first feature film with his own independent production company, Undergofilms. He also works in music and art illustration.