Alec Guinness only made Star Wars for the money
As Obi-Wan Kenobi, Alec Guinness originated one of the franchise’s most famous Star Wars characters – but letters the Star Wars actor wrote to his friend Anne Kaufman suggest that it wasn’t exactly the Force that compelled him to take on the iconic role — but rather the promise of financial compensation.
He says he was offered to join the cast of Star Wars in a letter dated December 1975, where he awkwardly mistakes the name of George Lucas: “I was offered a film that I could accept, if they find the necessary money. London and North Africa from mid-March. Science fiction – which makes me think – but it has to be directed by Paul Lucas who did American Graffiti, which makes me want to do it. Big piece. Fairy tale trash but could be interesting maybe.”
He then wrote a second letter in March 1976, when they were in the middle of filming the science fiction film. “I returned to London this evening for my time in the studio for the rest of the week. I can’t say I’m enjoying the film – new rubbish dialogue comes to me every other day on sheaves of pink paper – and none of that makes my character clear or even bearable. I’m just thinking, thankfully, of the beautiful bread, which will keep me going until next April even if Yahoo crashes in a week…”
He then went on to ask his friend if he had ever heard of Harrison Ford – who in the years since starred in classics such as the Indiana Jones films.
“Another bright day has dawned. . . I have to go into the studio and work with a dwarf (very nice – and he has to wash in a bidet) and your compatriots Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can’t be true) Ford – Ellison (? – No!*) – eh well, a lanky, languid young man who’s probably smart and fun. But Oh, my God, my God, they make me feel ninety – and treat me like I’m 106 – Oh Harrison Ford – never heard of him?
We all love to go for that bread – at least Alec was honest about it. You can see the final chapter of Obi-Wan’s story in the Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which is currently streaming on Disney Plus.