Arts

New Documentary: ELSTREE 1976 reveals the lives of actors and extras in ‘Star Wars’

Not since we contemplated the stories of those who played Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz

ELSTREE 1976 explores the lives of the actors and extras behind one of the most celebrated Science Fiction films in cinematic history, Star Wars. It is an entertaining, affectionate tribute to a previously ignored aspect of one of the cinema’s greatest successes.

From the man behind film’s most iconic villain, to the actor whose character was completely cut from the final film, the documentary delves into the eccentric community these individuals have formed and how the Star Wars franchise – which spans five decades from A New Hope to The Force Awakens – continues to impact their lives decades later.

Many of the minor characters were merely part of the set design, but eventually gained recognition as the Star Wars universe expanded into books, comics, etc. Fans learned the history of masked characters like Boba Fett and Greedo, but the sci-fi blockbuster also had a lasting impact on the people inside the costumes.

Not all of the interviewees had minor roles in the series however. For example, David Prowse, whose six-foot-eight bulk filled out Darth Vader’s suit and provided the menacing movements of film’s most iconic villain, wouldn’t be recognized on the street by all but the most ardent Star Wars fans. In the final cut of the movie, his face and voice were replaced by Sebastian Shaw and James Earl Jones, respectively. Others got to work on what would become the biggest movie of all time, but saw their characters cut entirely from the finished film.

The movie will play in select cities including Los Angeles and New York City. For the full list of theaters and ticket information, check here.

It can also be purchased here.

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