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Sunday, December 10, 2023
Dec. 10, 2023

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Neeson reflects on ‘Star Wars’

Actor admits he struggled working with CGI figures


Zzzzrr. Zzzzrr. Wom. Wom. Cut?

Liam Neeson recently revealed that he and his “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” co-star Ewan McGregor were scolded on the set of the 1999 film by director and “Star Wars” universe creator George Lucas for making lightsaber noises while filming fight scenes.

“The first time we actually had to use the lightsaber to start a little fight … we both automatically (made the noises),” Neeson said in an episode of “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” — which was recorded before the actors’ strike. “George said, ‘Let’s cut there. Boys, we can add that in later.’ ”

Neeson played the Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn and McGregor played his young apprentice — known as a padawan in “Star Wars”-speak — Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Neeson also had trouble with other effects that were set to be added in post-production. The actor admitted he had a hard time visualizing and interacting with some of his on-screen CGI counterparts.

“I was supposed to being doing this scene with (Watto), a little flying monster. I didn’t know what this thing was going to look like. It was a green tennis ball that was eventually going to be this flying monster,” Neeson said. “I’m in the makeup chair, and the lady says, ‘I did see a mock-up of the monster, and you could be a monkey smoking a pipe and no one is going to be looking at you.’ ”

Later in the interview, the “Taken” star remarked that he felt the stream of “Star Wars” content had cheapened the franchise.

“There’s so many movies and spinoffs, and … you’re diluting the whole thing, I think. That’s my personal thing,” he said.

Neeson also talked about being approached by the “Star Wars” fan base — which he referred to as a “cult” — for autographs.

“Occasionally, there’s kids after a ‘Star Wars’ autograph and I don’t want to give autographs at the airport,” Neeson noted. “Oh, but it’s not the kid, it’s the grandfather, there he is, or the dad. They become 11-year-olds.”

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