‘Star Wars’ Actor Disliked His Lines and Didn’t Know Harrison Ford’s Name

Star Wars is a widely beloved franchise — but that doesn’t mean everyone involved in the creation of the original film liked it. One of the more prominent actors in the film got George Lucas and Harrison Ford’s names wrong in his private writings. However, he had a different reaction to the finished film.

Han Solo putting his hand on C-3PO's mouth
Han Solo with C-3PO | FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

The ‘Star Wars’ actor who was hesitant to act in a science fiction film

Although many actors became famous by acting in the Star Wars franchise, the original film in the saga was not a star-studded affair. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher were not household names when they made the film. The most famous actors in Star Wars were certainly veterans of the screen like Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness. Although he brought warmth and wisdom to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Business Insider reports Guinness said some negative things about Star Wars in a letter to his friend Anne Kaufman before taking the role which was quoted in Alec Guinness: The Authorized Autobiography.

“I have been offered a movie (20th Cent. Fox) which I may accept, if they come up with proper money,” Guinness said. “[The film will be shot in] London and N. Africa, starting in mid-March. Science fiction – which gives me pause – but is to be directed by Paul [sic] Lucas who did American Graffiti, which makes me feel I should. Big part. Fairy-tale rubbish but could be interesting perhaps.”

The trailer for Star Wars: A New Hope

Guinness gives Lucas a bit of a backhanded compliment here. He both implicitly praises Lucas’ first hit film, American Graffiti, and forgets his name. Little did Guinness know that some “fairy-tale rubbish” would become his most famous film. Guinness decried the film more in another letter to Kaufman.

What Alec Guinness said about Harrison Ford

Guinness had some other negative things to say about the movie. “[N]ew 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. “I must off to studio and work with … 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. – Oh, Harrison Ford – ever heard of him?”

Harrison Ford playing Han Solo

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Ford is now one of the most iconic actors alive, having appeared in the Star Wars films, the Indiana Jones franchise, Blade Runner, Apocalypse Now, and many other popular movies. Because of this, it’s hard to imagine someone could get his name wrong –particularly someone who worked with him. However, it’s important to remember that when Guinness and company were making Star Wars, Ford was primarily known for playing secondary roles in American Graffiti and the arthouse thriller The Conversation. With this in mind, it makes sense Guinness would ask if Kaufman had heard of Ford.

Alec Guinness’ later appraisal of ‘Star Wars’

However, Guinness’s experience with Star Wars was not entirely negative. According to Cinema Blend, Guinness greatly enjoyed watching the film in theaters. Perhaps the “fairy-tale rubbish” worked out after all.