Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Could the Frosty Relationship Between Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker Cause Problems on Star Wars: Episode 7?


When you think of Star Wars you can’t help but think about the lovable, laughable droids R2-D2 and C-3P0. In fact the two actors who’ve brought our favorite misfit droids to life are the only two actors to appear in all six Star Wars films to date. However, it appears that streak may be coming to an unfortunate end . . .

Last week I reported that Kenny Baker may be bowing-out of Star Wars Episode VII due to health reasons. As you’ll recall David Prowse, the body of Darth Vader during the OT and one of Kenny’s close friends, spoke to Movie Cricket:
“Kenny Baker is really ill. How he is going to reprise his role, I do not know.”

“I can’t see it. He is in such a terrible state with his terrible chest. I can’t honestly see it… though I mean, they could put him in the unit and he doesn’t have to do it all.”
Gonk!
It seems logical that if Mr. Baker is in poor health there is no necessity for him to reprise his role as R2. After all the man is 79 years old and getting stuffed into a mechanically cumbersome costume can’t be all that much fun anymore. Also, with today’s technology a remote controlled R2 is much more feasible as is CGI for those really daring rocket shots. Recall one of Viral Hide’s great articles from last year about the new R2 units:
The final improvement for Celebration Europe is a dome automation controller. Usually, we control the dome with our remotes, but in certain situations, it is good to have your mind and your hands free to drive the droid, while the dome turns on its own in a random pattern. This is achieved by a very small electronic gadget called a “servo controller” that consists of an Arduino microcontroller with a C++ software program. A switch on my remote enables me to select between auto mode (dome turns on its own) or manual mode (I control the rotation).

Together with the “beeping” the random dome movement makes Artoo look so much more “alive.” And that’s what we strive for; getting Artoo to become alive at Celebration Europe.

With all this excellent, new technology for building R2 units conducted by super-fans Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples it seems highly unlikely that Kenny Baker could even fit inside anymore. It just might be too impractical to begin with.

So why then did Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd. announce him with the cast, knowing his current health issues? Could it have been a symbolic gesture? Could it have been to reassure fans that they’re going “old school?” Well, we probably will never know why they Officially Announced his participation with the movie on April 29th if he’s physically unable to appear.

However, it could be that it’s not a physical issue at all, but a personality issue as Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels have had a long-standing, and well-known feud, dating back to the original Star Wars of 1977. Perhaps, at age 79, Kenny no longer has the patience to deal with the “prissy one???”

Yahoo! Movies recently posted an article describing the feud between the two actors, citing such anecdotes:
“I remember one day, [Kenny] was in the costume, and I said to him ‘when I say the line, can you turn the head to look at me?’, but he hadn’t read the script,” Daniels mused on ‘Bring Back Star Wars’. 

“I was doing a typical stage actor thing, but he had no idea what I was talking about. So I just stopped, I didn’t bother.”
Artoo where are you?
Apparently the feud grew so bad that the two actors refuse to make public appearances together:
“The last time I spoke to him was in Boston and he was in front of me. I said ‘Did you have a nice weekend Tony?’ He said ‘I’m having a conversation,’ and walked away. He wasn’t talking to anybody. I could have hit him.” he added on ‘Bring Back Star Wars’.
The two regularly appear at fan conventions, but never together. On the Channel 4 documentary, Collins asks Baker to appear at a cast reunion. The pint-sized actor agreed, but on one condition.

“It depends. If you invite his lordship, the one with the golden balls. If he comes, I won’t be there.” 
Kenny claims that the feud has been blown out of proportions on one hand, yet continues to stoke the fire himself:
“I thought it was just me he didn’t get on with but recently I’ve found out he doesn’t get on with anyone,” Baker told the Metro. “He’s rude to everyone though, including the fans [...] Daniels has no time for any of the other actors not just me, and none of them have a good word to say about him. However I maintain that I don’t hate Daniels, in fact I don’t hate anyone as it just isn’t in my nature.”

Whatever the reasons may be as to why the two actors can’t be friends we know that they’re both professionals and have never let their personal feelings get in the way of the job, moreover, the performance. If anything, their feud informs their performances as even the droid duo don’t always see eye-to-eye. It goes without saying, though, that Kenny Baker would be sorely missed if he can’t, or won’t, reprise his role for whatever reason.

Of course we’ll all stay tuned for further developments, but here’s hoping their long, successful streak continues!

38 comments

  1. Tony Daniels can be rude there’s no deneying that – I’ve seen it myself several times.

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    1. So can Kenny Baker. Also saw it myself.

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    2. Talk about a poite protocol droid :) I’ve met them both, while Tony was polite, Kenny was a real cool down to earth guy.

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    3. Kenny Baker is only half as rude as Tony Daniels.

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    4. ^ This comment was not short on wit.

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  2. Here’s hoping it holds.

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  3. I would hope they’ll just let Kenny control the r/c R2 and not try to stuff him inside of one again. So long as he’s involved. Maybe it’s not necessary but it would be a grand gesture and a historical thing to have them all back for at least this first installment of the new trilogy.

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    1. They should let Kenny control the R2 unit remotely and play the human bartender at the Cantina Bar.

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  4. Honestly, I think you must be a pretty hard-core “fan” to give a damn about who’s inside the R2 prop — if anyone. Today they can use remote control of an actual robot, as noted in the article. Why on earth stick an ailing 79-year-old in there? Sounds like torture.

    I don’t even care who’s inside 3PO, as long as Daniels does the voice.

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    1. God forbid they place him inside that droid and his health suffers as a result – or worse.

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    2. As in “they killed Kenny — the bastards”?

      Yes, I guess it would be bad PR if Artoo suddenly goes disturbingly still in the middle of a take. Then they remove the dome to find that … well … uhm … a recast is necessary.

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    3. A South Park reference – I love it!

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  5. I don’t think Mr Baker appeared in all six movies … wasn’t he credited for RotS as a respectful gesture, but wasn’t actively employed during its making?

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    1. I think the reason was that they used stock footage from AOTC. So while he wasn’t hired for ROTS, he was in the movie. Anyway, that is what I recall. Don’t know how accurate my recollection is. ;)

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  6. I’ve had a number of dealings with Anthony Daniels over the years at various fan events. I’ve always found him to be quite nice and generous with his time. The only time I ever remember him having a “difficult” moment was at a convention in Philadelphia mere hours after Princess Diana had been killed. One fan during his Q&A asked him about his feelings on it, and he very politely said he would not comment on it and please don’t ask any follow-up questions on the matter. He was clearly very emotional about it, which is understandable considering his country of origin and the immediacy of the moment

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    1. At Star Wars celebrations in Essen Mr Daniels made a real effort to entertain the fans while they qued outside. I suspect that some people think he is being “rude” when he is actually being sarcastically witty, some people just dont get the jokes he makes.

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  7. I’d love Kenny to show up somewhere, even if it’s not as R2. He’s part of the family and the first SW celeb I ever met.

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  8. As long as daniels does the voice of 3po i’m good

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  9. link to mtv.com
    rumor Adam Driver is “Jacen Solo-esque” character.

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  10. oh no . problems

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  11. Kenny could be playing someone else or controlling the remote of the R2 unit they’ve built like some people have suggested.

    Some have suggested “as long as Daniels is the voice of C3PO”” they’re fine. I disagree on 3PO. Part of 3PO’s personality is from body language and Daniels is where that’s coming from.

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    1. Why would Kenny control the remote? It’s not a trivial matter and I’m pretty sure he has no experience with that sort of thing

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    2. I was just repeating what someone else posted up in the thread. I don’t know why I didn’t make that clear.

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  12. One thing Kenny Baker can do inside the R2 unit that a remotely controlled R2 can’t is do that little R2 shuffle. He did it in ” A New Hope”….when the jawas were sneaking up on R2.
    As far as I know, a remote R2 can’t shuffle.

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  13. Well, I met both these gentlemen in SW conventions. While Daniels was all smiles, high-energy all the time, Baker was quite the opposite; grumpy, not talkative at all.

    He was supposed to be “under the weather”, but why do the convention if he wasn’t physically or emotionally up to it?

    I think I’m starting to see a pattern here…

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    1. I had a group dinner with Kenny Baker once many years back and he was a little touchy (no pun) with the fans, I think that coudl be as he has far less to discuss about the movies. He is way more comfortable talking about his extensive life on the stage then what were a few months work sitting in a tin can doing very little.

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  14. I’m glad Kenny Baker ain’t doing it.
    I mean, you simply can’t put a 80 year old in a can.
    I bet he would’ve liked it, for the fans.
    But thats the problem of Hollywood. They could’ve made more Star Wars movies decades ago, and other franchises. But they simply discarded them and then they keep crawling back to all those classic franchises because they are out of ideas and realized what great stuff they had back then (Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters and many more) it just sickens the heart.

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  15. A Very interesting article Echo-07, I think it would be nice for Kenny to do a few r2 shuffle scenes and do then they can use the remote for the more difficult scenes.

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  16. I see no reason to have Kenny do R2. It’s not like with Peter as Chewbacca.

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    1. It has more to do with stunt casting to make the fans excited then any actual relvance to the performance. Personally as it just about his name being linked to the movie I would like them to give him some involvment but they dont need to put him in the R2 unit, fly him out to the set for one day and give him a credit as a consultant on the performance.

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  17. you’ve basically just materialized a random theory out of thin air. even though he’s been announced as in the cast … just my two cents, but I like when this site focuses on news and rumors and not invented gossip.

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  18. People are acting like if Kenny baker doesn’t get in the R2 unit the film will be ruined. C3Po is far more important, and speaking of which, don’t buy into this BS that an actor is an a-hole, I hear this all the time and have met people that were the complete opposite. I know a guy who met Anthony and told him C3Po was his girlfriends favorite character, he took his cell and called her, and left a voice message with his C3Po voice.

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  19. Its a shame about Daniels and Baker. Maybe they’ll get Kenny in ‘the can’ for just one scene, like the final medal scene in ‘Star Wars’..

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  20. personally, i hope this last get together involves everyone, including Lando, one more time…then, we will have to get over it as newer movies get released and the original cast is either retired or not interested or able to do these parts anymore, but one more, just one more time i hope they all get together…

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    1. Would be great if they had made a spin off movie dragging up as many of the old cast as they could for the fans. Now that they are making the new trilogy so focused on the core old charachters I doubt that spin off will get made though.

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  21. Worst case scenario and Kenny can’t do it, I’d like to see Warwick Davis don the silver and blue dome…

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  22. lol. who seriously thinks daniels will be in the suit…. He will be voice or close ups only. Just like Mayhew.

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    1. I seriously think he will be in the suit .. his build is still very similar and his physical performance is key to the charachter. I am not saying that if he cant do it a mime artist will not be able to replicate his motions, only that if he can then he will and that is the best way to get the peformance right.

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