The making of a princess
Though an accomplished performer across multiple genres, to many people today, Carrie Fisher is best known for her work in the Star Wars franchise.
Who could forget the mysterious woman in white we see fleeing Imperial forces, imparting crucial information to two droids before facing her own inevitable capture? Of course, this woman turns out to be more than just your standard princess trope from fiction: She is a warrior, a Rebel leader, and a fighter every step of the way.
Following her sudden and unexpected death on December 27, it feels as though the entire world has been in mourning, but none more than her family, former co-stars, and Star Wars fans everywhere.
Now we’re looking back to the happier moments to reflect on the incredible life and work of an extraordinarily talented actress, performer, and advocate. Carrie Fisher’s original audition tapes for Star Wars are living proof that she was destined for the role.
Before ‘Star Wars’
Born to a family of entertainers, Fisher was destined for greatness.
Although a bookworm in her youth, Fisher dropped out of high school in 1973 to join the chorus of the hit Broadway show Irene, which starred her mother. That same year, she started training at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
In 1975, Carrie made her film debut in Shampoo starring Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn. Just several years later, however, her film career would take off and launch her to international fame.
Carrie Fisher was just 19 while filming the first Star Wars movie.
The daughter of the inimitable Debbie Reynolds, Fisher had big shoes to fill. Little did she know that it would come through taking a risk on a sci-fi movie.
Though few actors involved in the project thought Star Wars would go on to be successful, it would be her role as Leia that launched Fisher into the limelight, making her a Hollywood favorite for years to come.
After her death, Mark Hamill recalled one of the first moments they realized that the first film was taking off:
“We had no idea the impact Star Wars would have on the world. I remember we were out on tour right before the movie opened. By the time we got to Chicago, there was a crowd at the airport. I said, ‘Hey look, you guys, there must be somebody famous on the plane.’ I was looking around to see who it might be. And then in the crowd, I saw a kid dressed in a Han Solo vest. Then I saw a girl dressed like Princess Leia. I said, ‘Oh my God, look, Carrie, there’s somebody dressed just like you. She’s got the buns on her head!'”
The rest, as they say, is history.
The Audition Tapes
Watching the tapes and seeing Fisher audition alongside Harrison Ford, it’s no surprise that she landed the role.
What’s most fascinating is seeing how cool—almost blasé—Ford reads his part. Fans of the original films will even notice how toned down Fisher is in her audition, whereas Leia would ultimately take on more attitude and force. Regardless, she seems much older and wiser than her 19 years.
It’s hard not to nerd out watching the similarities and differences between how the actors approach their future roles as well as changes in the script. After weeks of tragedy, it’s refreshing to reflect upon the beginnings of Fisher’s career.
If you’re still in mourning over Carrie Fisher’s sudden death, keep reading to hear the emotional words Mark Hamill had to share about his late friend and co-star.