Oscar Isaac made a surprise appearance at an event in London in Sunday, where he read a letter from one of the original stars in the Star Wars galaxy.
The man who plays Poe Dameron read a note from Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi, at the Letters Live event. The correspondence, from Guinness to his friend Anne Kauffman and sent in 1976, talks about the original Star Wars film’s “rubbish dialogue” and costars like Harrison Ford.
“Can’t say I’m enjoying the film, new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper – and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable,” Guinness wrote in the letter, which was provided to EW by Letters Live, the live celebration of written correspondence.
Guinness added that working with the Star Wars cast made him feel very old.
“Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can’t be right) Ford – Ellison (? – No!*) – well, a rangy, languid young man who is probably intelligent and amusing,” he wrote. “But Oh, God, God, they make me feel ninety – and treat me as if I was 106.” The asterisk on “no” leads to a postscript of sorts. “Harrison Ford – ever heard of him?” Guinness wrote.
Others who took part in the Letters Live event included Benedict Cumberbatch, who read a letter from Mark Twain to poet Walt Whitman reflecting on all the changes he had witnessed over the course of his life. Cumberbatch and his Sherlock costar Louise Brealey (who plays Molly Hooper) also read letters from Bessie Moore and Chris Barker, two sweethearts separated by World War II.
The event is held at Freemasons’ Hall in London through March 15 (head to letterslive.com for more info). Read Guinness’ full letter below.
My dear Anne,
The sun has shone all over Easter and that has meant out-of-door life; bees humming in the cherry blossom; Walter on guard against birds having it off in hedges; daffodils wilting; balsam poplars scenting the air; baby ants on the march into the grubby kitchen; good wine to drink, and all fairly idyllic except for the presence of my provoking, irritating and unbalanced daughter-in-law. And her squabbling children. The children are more or less alright, I suppose, except for their foul manners and nasal cockney accents. Merula has now got them for the next ten days and I bet that once their parents have gone on their (separate) holidays the children will prove angelic. That has been the pattern before. I have returned to London this evening for my stint at the studio for the rest of the week. Can’t say I’m enjoying the film, – new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper – and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable. I just think, thankfully, of the lovely bread, which will help me keep going until next April even if ‘Yahoo’ collapses in a week.
Thank you for you your card about that. Strachan and I have tried to probe where it is ‘arch’ – and I have decided either that Queen’s English and U.S. usage of the word are at variances, or that you (forgivably) misread the tone of some of it – which is somewhat belligerent and harsh and far from coy. I do think the first half is a bit cool, and I’m not sure how to remedy that, except by possibly throwing in some coarse stuff and hitting up the ironies. – Anyway, it was nice of you to read it, and good of you to take it seriously. – We have settled on a youngish designer called Bernard Culshaw – I’ve only seen one set of his, and that about six years ago, but think he’s got the right style and understanding. Eileen Atkins has expressed enthusiasm for it and promises to play Vanessa (et al) if a possible film she’s keen on doesn’t materialise. We shall know in two weeks. If she does it I’ll feel more confident than with the alternative, who is good on T.V. but something of an unknown quantity in the theatre. My chum Mark Kingston will play the other man. Stella is still a blank in our minds – but the casting of Vanessa must be done first.
Dined a week ago with your little mum, who was looking better and in better spirits than I’ve known her in years. Bright but not brittle, and in full command – so it seemed – of her life. Gavin was present (with broken foot) and a garrulous French woman with Islamic leanings. A friend of the Shit of Persia.
The Ehrenpreis Swift volumes (1 & 2) arrived safely and I’m in to them. Rather dry and too academic but full of useful information. I can’t remember what you said about Vol 3, and can’t put my hand on your letter. It doesn’t exist? It’s out of print? It was never written? But what the Hell do I owe you anyway? Please! – I have a lot of dollars dwindling slowly in L.A. – You are welcome to some of them. And who knows what my next demand may be! Probably toilet paper.
Another bright day has dawned. A letter from Nancy Green in the post. – A nightmarish night going round and round in my head my invitation with [unknown name] (a-in-law). Isn’t it wretched how difficult unpleasant thoughts are to shake off. I had to sit up and read for ½ hour at 2. am. to exorcise myself. – Garson Kanin plagues me about ‘Mr. Maugham’ but ‘Yahoo’, if it does nothing else, has enabled me to side-step that one.
I must off to studio and work with a dwarf (very sweet, – and he has to wash in a bidet) and your fellow countrymen Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can’t be right) Ford – Ellison (? – No!*) – well, a rangy, languid young man who is probably intelligent and amusing. But Oh, God, God, they make me feel ninety – and treat me as if I was 106.
* Harrison Ford – ever heard of him?