When your face is also the face of a true legendary film hero like Princess Leia, odds are you’ll have strong feelings about said character. Carrie Fisher, who plays Leia — now General Leia — for the fourth time in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” has spoken about those strong feelings in a number of interviews ahead of the highly anticipated sequel’s release.
When asked by the LA Times if she feels protective of the character she first played in 1977, Fisher said she feels “so protective, and that has happened over time. [Leia] has become more than a character that’s on the screen. She has melted off-screen into the audience and out into the street and into everybody’s life. Slept in their beds, sat on their walls, [people wear] her as Halloween costumes. That happened over time, and I do feel like the custodian. She’s mine. Of course she’s not mine — she’s George’s [Lucas] — but to a certain extent, she’s mine.”
Fisher admitted that she took on the role of Leia once again because, as she said, it’s hard for women over a certain age to find work in Hollywood. But as she told the LA Times, she would still feel protective of the character even if she hadn’t signed on for the J.J. Abrams-directed sequel.
“I had fun doing those movies and it’s fun being a part of it,” said Fisher. “It’s not always fun, but it’s certainly a life-changing. I have been Princess Leia exclusively. It’s been a part of my life for 40 years. Even if I didn’t do the movie, I would still be Princess Leia. I’m like the diplomat to a country that I haven’t been to yet. I am that country.”
Fisher’s relationship with the character, specifically its origin, will also be the central focus in her new book, “The Princess Diarist,” which pulls from the journals she kept during the filming of the original trilogy.
“Writing is a very calming thing for me,” Fisher told USA Today. “I always kept a diary — not a diary like, ‘Dear Diary, we got up at 5 a.m. and I wore the weird hair again and that white dress! Hi-yeee!’ I’d just write. I also didn’t have any friends to confide in at that point so I’d confide with my hand.” She added after a beat: “That sounds dirty.”
The character she created while writing in that diary has gone on to become one of the most prominent in film history, and that’s something fans rarely let her forget.
“People bring me their kids like I’m going to bless them but they’re like two months old and they’re already in a Princess Leia outfit,” she said in another USA Today interview. “I always think they swallowed the outfit and gave birth to the kid wearing the hairy earphones. The kids are born without hair, and that’s embarrassing, so better get the costume now.”
“The Princess Diarist” hits bookstores on April 26. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens on December 18.
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