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Cyborg Short-Circuited
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Sep 14, 2004
More Design and Development stories
robotics C-3POCopyright 2004 Nationwide News Pty Limited

In a galaxy far, far away, it’s all over for Anthony Daniels, the actor behind iconic gold android C-3PO.

By Paul Majendie

Bidding goodbye to the gold robot after almost 30 years, Anthony Daniels shed a nostalgic tear for the mechanical manservant who changed his life.

“Oh yes, it was with moisture. This was very much a fond farewell,” Daniels said of his last scene as C-3PO, the android who became an icon in the Star Wars movies.

His last scene in the sixth and final film was hardly the heady stuff of magic for Daniels. Digital effects saw to that.

“I finished filming on the last film last week. For the final shot I walked along a blue corridor with a blue background behind me talking to someone who wasn’t there.” he said.

Revenge of the Sith is due out next May and completes a trilogy of prequels, which tell the back story of the original movie about a battle between good and evil in a distant galaxy.

Daniels makes no secret about his favourite of the six.

“The first film spoke to everyone on the planet. It still works as a funny, bright movie. It still has legs,” he said of the films by US director George Lucas.

When Lucas returned to the prequels, Daniels was not so sure.

“George’s devotion to digital effects over-balanced the films. Too many digital funky characters become a little bit wearing. The storytelling always gets subsumed.”

For the 58-year-old Daniels, playing a fastidious robot who sounds like a prissy English butler transformed his career.

“He (C-3PO) gave me that lead into a strange kind of immortality. People are very fond of him. His image has haunted me around the planet,” he said.

There was also an undeniable sense of achievement from the self-deprecating British actor as he reflected on the discomfort of clunking around the Tunisian desert in searing heat to make film history.

He has been a best friend for me. He is going to live forever in the ether,” he said.

Critics may have admired his on-screen chemistry with fellow robot R2-D2 but Daniels said, “I was talking to myself all the time. It was a very lonely experience. I was locked inside a box and had a friend who didn’t speak to me.”

The English stage actor was reluctant to audition for the part and even risked “losing his voice” to Hollywood star Richard Dreyfuss as Lucas contemplated dubbing him over.

“Now I have the honour of being the only person to have appeared in all of the movies and I have become the principal spokesman for them,” he said.

For there is plenty of life left in the Star Wars phenomenon with the worldwide DVD launch of the first three movies on September 20.

And nothing will erase his treasured memory of the first time he saw a sketch of the android he was to play.

“When I saw the painting by the design artist, the eyes of the character looked deep into my soul. He was a very forlorn figure with an abandoned air.

“He really did look into my soul.”

Copyright 2004 Nationwide News Pty Limited

Copyright © 2002 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

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