Mark Hamill leaves Luke Skywalker to join the dark side in new crime film | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Mark Hamill leaves Luke Skywalker to join the dark side in new crime film

MONTREAL - "Star Wars" could have been a lot different if Mark Hamill had picked his role.

"I remember reading "Star Wars" and thinking, 'boy, I wish I could be playing Darth Vader — that's the part,' " Hamill said with relish in an interview Friday.

There was never any question of that, however, and he went on to become a pop culture icon as plucky Luke Skywalker, the intrepid space adventurer who helps derail the evil Vader's plans for galactic domination in three "Star Wars" films.

Hamill's latest role is a galaxy away from the earnest Skywalker. In "Sushi Girl," a crime noir flick having its international premiere at Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival, he plays Crow, a sadistic robber who inflicts pain with all the nonchalance of a chat between Skywalker and his robot pal R2D2.

"Every actor wants to push the envelope and explore the extremes on both sides," Hamill said, calling Skywalker "an icon of virtue."

But playing villains has proven lucrative for him too, with one of the most notable being his over-the-top vocal interpretation of The Joker in the animated Batman TV series and video games.

"It was a great kick to be cast as The Joker because he's an icon 180 degrees away from Luke," Hamill said, agreeing it's often more enjoyable to play the villain than the hero.

"You're messing up the chance for good to succeed and that's a lot of fun."

In "Sushi Girl," Hamill teams with a roster of horror and action movie stars including James Duval from "Donnie Darko," serial heavy Andy Mackenzie ("Shoot 'Em Up"), Michael Biehn, who duked it out with Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator," and Tony Todd, who chilled filmgoers in "The Candyman" and has appeared on various TV shows including "24."

Todd said the script for "Sushi Girl" reminded him of other prominent genre films such as "Asphalt Jungle" and "The Killing," which Hamill calls his favourite Stanley Kubrick movie.

"I just wanted to get away from the career wearing prosthetics and hooks on my hands and have a role that was 100 per cent," said Todd, adding he saw the crime flick as a chance to "take things to another level."

Hamill appreciated director Kern Saxton's interest in giving him such a dark role, saying a few years ago he probably would have been picked for a more innocent character.

"It's just creepy," he said of the quirky Crow, who has a pair of particular shoes he likes to wear when torturing people. "He kind of whistles while he works."

Hamill's eyes popped and he cried "Yikes!" when he was reminded "Star Wars" is marking its 35th anniversary as he moves into darker roles.

"It just proves you can have fun regardless of the material," he said, remembering there was a lot of laughter on the "Star Wars" sets.

"It just seemed so incongruous to have Sir Alec Guinness sitting next to this eight-foot dog man with headphones flying a space ship. It was absurd."

Saxton, who was keen to get Hamill and Todd, pointed out that one of the fun parts of the production was hearing Hamill hold court at day's end.

"Now that I've entered the elderly recluse period of my career, these young whipper-snappers want to hear stories about Wookies and robots and working with all those toys," Hamill said with a smile.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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