ON SET: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
April 3rd, 1979
George had come down with a bad cold and for three day’s straight he’d been existing on a diet of malt liquor and Night Nurse. He’d never been much of a drinker and I was a little worried about his mental state, so I told him to take the afternoon off and go get some shut eye.
The next morning I was on set bright and early and asked where George was at but nobody had seen him hide nor hair of him since yesterday. I poured myself a cognac and prepared to send out a search party when I got a call from NASA mission control at Cape Canaveral. They said they had George in custody and could I get over there right away and collect him.
Five hours later I’m escorted to a holding room on the base and find George wrapped in a sheet surrounded by Star Wars action figures. He’d arranged them all into various sexual positions and was currently ramming C-3PO into the back of Princess Leia and making lewd noises.
The officer in charge told me they’d caught him trying to board a rocket with a sackful of toys and, when they asked him what the hell he was doing, he said he wanted to release his little children into outer space. Then he started crying and begging forgiveness for destroying some place called Alderaan.
I explained to the officer that George had been self-medicating and he’d been under a lot of pressure lately. He said he understood and this wasn’t the first time he’d had to stop a director from attempting to commandeer a space shuttle. Apparently 12 years earlier Stanley Kubrick had got as far as initiating the launch sequence before he was apprehended.
I said I’d send everyone on the base a ticket to the premiere and get Carrie Fisher to come over and play a benefit concert if they would release George and keep what happened under wraps. The officer said no problem and so I gathered up the toys, took George by the hand and made a hasty exit.
After that day I never saw Lucas with a drink in his hand again. As for me, well, that was the day I started taking three valium before breakfast instead of two.
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