A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

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HMDYK About Gina Carano

About Gina CaranoI know I’m probably taking a rather large risk here talking about Gina Carano. She is in some hot water recently and there are many who are fairly upset with her right now. I will not be offended if you chose not to read this post, however I assure you that I will not take a side. More on that later.

Be that as it may I still really like her character in the Star Wars Universe. Therefore I have no shame writing about her career and demonstrating that you’ve probably seen her more frequently then you thought.

From Fighting in the Cage to Fighting On Screen

Gina Carano was born in Dallas, Texas; she is the daughter of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Glen Carano. When she was 7 her parents divorced and she was raised by her mother in Las Vegas. In 2006 she began her MMA career in the Featherweight division. In 2009 she left Mixed Martial Arts, with a record of 7-1-0, to begin acting.

If I had to compare Gina Carano to another television and movie actor, it would be Chuck Norris. Coincidentally she received the first Chuck Norris Award for best female action star for her role in “Haywire”. By the way, if you haven’t checked out Haywire, I highly recommend it. Carano stars along side fellow Star Wars alum Ewan McGregor as well as Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Michael Fassbender. She stars in a few other movies I plan to check out such as Scorched Earth and Heist.

You will also spot her in a couple of other more popular films. She is Riley in Fast & Furious 6 and Angel Dust in the Deadpool movie.

Social Media and Lucasfilm Controversy

In February of 2021 Lucasfilm released Gina Carano from further Star Wars projects as a result of some controversial social media posts. Again, I won’t take sides on this subject but I will say that I am upset this happened; I’m upset with both parties involved. I admire Gina Carano for sticking to her guns and standing up for what she believes, especially in the face of the intolerant liberal Hollywood. However, I do not agree with the manner in which she expressed her belief; she should have chosen a different metaphor. This is especially true given she’s had a target on her back since late last year. I think Lucasfilm was just waiting for the right time and, unfortunately, she gave it to them.

Lucasfilm’s response is exactly the action I expected so as to save face in an industry that is predominately left wing. However their response has made Gina Carano a martyr. It’s been over a month and I still see her and/or news about her popping up on social media. The content is often in support of her and, as a result, her martyrdom has further cemented Cara Dune’s legacy in the Star Wars Universe.

Whether you love her or you hate her, she is permanently part of the Star Wars family, whether her character lives or dies. Personally, the biggest disappointment in all of this is that it is extremely unlikely she will make any appearances at any Celebrations and/or Comic Cons. It’s a real shame because I’ve heard she is a very nice person. I hope for the best for her and I pray that her and Lucasfilm will, one day, reconcile and she makes a triumphant return to Star Wars.

I am open to comments and thoughts, however, any comment I deem rude and/or intolerant will be denied/removed.

Visit ginacarano.net

Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out.

HMDYK About Keira Knightley

Until Rey came along women were really under represented in Star Wars. Be that as it may, the female characters it does have are strong, fierce and amazing characters. I could have picked one of those women like Leia, Amidala or Jyn Erso but I like focusing on the underdogs. The actors in much smaller roles that deserve some attention. Which is why we are going to look at an underrated female character. How much do you know about Keira Knightley?

So not only is she the first female but, at 35, she’s also the youngest actor I’ve written about. While she has a minor role in Star Wars, her repertoire is far from obscure. She’s most frequently known as Elizabeth Swann in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. However, before we get too far into her filmography let’s talk about her role in Star Wars; specifically The Phantom Menace.

“This is my decoy, my protection, my loyal bodyguard”

Keira Knightley played Sabé, the handmaiden that was also the Queen’s decoy. I remember feeling confused when I first saw the movie; I went in knowing that Natalie Portman was playing the queen. Then you see Padme for the first time and you know that is Natalie Portman so either she’s playing two characters or the rumors lied and she’s the handmaiden. Coincidentally that is exactly what George Lucas was hoping to accomplish.

Keira Knightley was selected to play the decoy because of her striking resemblance to Natalie Portman. In fact there were times during filming that even their own mothers couldn’t tell them apart. I have watched the movie dozens of times now and sometimes I still play the “Is that Natalie or Is that Keira” game. While the past 20 years have been kind to both of them, I don’t think they look as much alike anymore. Either way we thank you Sabé for protecting our queen and I’m glad it was Cordé instead of you at the beginning of Attack of the Clones.

More Than Decoys and Pirates

Over the span of her career she has been ranked in at least 14 sexist/hottest/glamourous women lists, and rightfully so as she is very attractive. In 2006 she said she plans to live exclusively in London and won’t move to L.A. to further her career in American films. She is married (in 2013) with two kids.

She has nearly 60 acting credits to her name and has been in some fairly iconic roles (other than Pirates of the Caribbean). She’s been in The Nutcracker and she is an excellent Elizabeth Bennett in Pride & Prejudice. I also really enjoyed her role as Guinevere in King Arthur; in which she endured a seven month training session in preparation for the film. She is also brilliant in The Imitation Game.

She’s also done a couple of TV-series you might recognize. She was Lara in Doctor Zhivago, Rose in Oliver Twist and Tinkerbell in a series entitled Neverland. Despite having been in Star Wars and TV-series like Oliver Twist, it wasn’t until 2002 when she made her breakthrough in Bend It Like Beckham.

Is there anything about Keira Knightley that you fine interesting that I didn’t mention?

/MTFBWY

Confronting fear is the destiny of the Jedi.

HMDYK About Voice Dubbing in Star Wars

My motivation behind these posts is to shine a light on some of the unsung, underrated and/or under appreciated actors in the Star Wars universe. I feel like, somewhere in the mire of sequel trilogy discontent, so-called fans were whining about voice dubbing. Actually it might be The Mandalorian. While Pedro Pascal is credited as playing the Mandalorian, he isn’t always the man in the costume. It’s really quite hilarious to be critical of voice dubbing in Star Wars. If you’ve seen a picture of James Earl Jones then you know damn well that man did not squeeze his husky ass into that Darth Vader costume. Then it was during my previous post about Denis Lawson that I thought more about voice dubbing. Perhaps, instead of focusing on one individual for this topic, we take a look at a couple of these voice talents.

First A Few Exclusions

I’m going to exclude James Earl Jones. If you didn’t know he was the voice of Darth Vader then you don’t really know much about Star Wars. If you don’t know who he is, then go educate yourself. I’d start with Field of Dreams, The Sandlot and Patriot Games. David Prowse was the man in the suit during the original series. I’m also going to exclude Pedro Pascal. While he is somewhat of a new comer to the Star Wars universe, the attention The Mandalorian is getting will make him as big of a house hold name as Mark Hamill and … James Earl Jones 🙂

Lastly, I’m also going to exclude the animated series. While the voice talents of those in The Clones Wars, Rebels and Star Wars Resistance definitely deserve their 15 minutes, that is outside the scope of this post. I want to specifically focus on voice dubbing in live action film.

David Ankrum/Wedge Antilles

David AnkrumI figure I might as well start with the one I’ve already mentioned in HMDYK About Denis Lawson. This guy is pretty much a nobody. He had bit roles for 5 years prior to Star Wars. His recurring bit roles continued all through the 80’s. In fact, while looking into his roles I learned that there was an attempt at a Bewitched spin-off series called Tabitha. It only lasted for one season.

David wasn’t completely forgotten about though. In 2016, 40 years after voice dubbing Wedge in Star Wars, he was called back to do it again for Rogue One. He even gets to utter the phrase “May the Force Be With You”.

Jason Wingreen/Boba Fett

Jason Wingreen

There were many men to don the Mandalorian armor of Boba Fett but Jeremy Bulloch did it first. However it was Jason Wingreen that gave us his voice in Empire Strikes Back. While I’m sure nobody has heard of this guy but he has quite an extensive career. I almost feel like I should have given him an entire HMDYK post. His first credit, based on IMDB, was in 1955 but his notable roles, to me, were Harry Snowden from All In The Family and Judge Arthur Beaumont in Matlock. Sadly, Jason Wingreen passed away in 2015 at 95 years old.

Peter Serafinowicz/Darth Maul

Pretty much everyone knows that Darth Maul was portrayed by martial artist and Wushu master Ray Park. However, if you’ve ever heard Ray Park speak you know that Maul did not have that distinctive cockney accent. That’s because the voice of Darth Maul was provided by Peter Serafinowicz. Depending on your movie IQ that name may not ring any bells however I’m sure his face does. In fact I probably could have written an entire post for him as well.

You might know him as The Tick or perhaps as the pretentious Denarian Saal in Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s had his own comedy sketch series named after himself and written by his brother James. He’s also popped up in a few other places such as Parks and Recreation, Doctor Who, and the IT Crowd. I’m actually a fairly big fan of his work.

That’s about all I could find. Lucas is pretty big on using voice dubbing to get the right sound. Everyone knows I’m a big advocate and supporter for the prequel trilogy but IF I had to nitpick I’d say Hayden Christensen’s dialog is a little cringe-worthy. However his facial expressions, especially in Revenge of the Sith, are great as Anakin becomes Vader. In typical Lucas fashion, he should have chosen a voice dubbing for Hayden. Perhaps even Matt Lanter; but I digress.

/MTFBWY

Confronting fear is the destiny of the Jedi.

HMDYK About Denis Lawson

About Denis Lawson

Wedge in ROTJ (left); Wedge in TROS (right)

How much do you know about Denis Lawson? This guy is a much lesser known actor compared to the previous three I covered. In fact Denis Lawson does not have nearly as prolific of a career as Cushing, Lee or Guinness. However, while he isn’t as distinguished as the others, he is a fan favorite of the Star Wars universe. He is known for his role as Wedge Antilles, the ace Rebel pilot. In fact his role in Star Wars is about the only thing Denis Lawson is known for among his 98 credits.

Despite all the criticism of Disney for turning the Extended Universe canon into mythology, I’m glad they kept Wedge alive. To my knowledge, Wedge was never killed in any of the EU comics and books. So to see him alive, and survive, in Rise of Skywalker is awesome.

An interesting bit of behind-the-scenes trivia about Wedge, during the Rebel briefing in A New Hope, Luke is sitting next to “Wedge”, but it isn’t Denis Lawson. The actor we see is Collin Higgins, but he constantly struggled with his lines and he was ultimately fired. Lawson was brought in to film the remainder of the scenes. Collin Higgins’ “Wedge” would colloquially become known as “Fake Wedge” among fans. Coincidentally both actors voices were overdubbed by David Ankrum, a common practice in Star Wars.

The Force Is Strong In His Family

Denis Lawson was born in 1947 in Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland. He has one child, Jaime Lawson, and a sister. His sister was born Carol Lawson but would marry a man names James McGregor. They would have two children, Ewan and Colin. Whether its a little known fact, or just esoterically known by Star Wars fans, Denis Lawson is the maternal uncle of Ewan McGregor, the man that would play Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels. In fact his role as a pilot in Star Wars was inspiration for this nephews; Ewan to become an actor (ultimately in Star Wars) and Colin to join the Royal Air Force. If you ever listen to any of his interviews, he sounds a lot like Ewan McGregor.

I don’t want to say that Denis Lawson in unremarkable because his legacy is cemented in Star Wars canon. However, among his 98 credits, I can’t find anything that really stands out. He hasn’t portrayed any iconic characters. He’s mostly done a few TV shows that I’ve never heard of. Apparently he’s a musical comedy star in London and has even won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

If there’s anything you’d like to share about actor Denis Lawson, please leave it in the comments.

Other Links and References

/MTFBWY

Confronting fear is the destiny of the Jedi.

HMDYK About Sir Alec Guinness

HMDYK About Sir Alec GuinnessAll right, we talked about two bad guys so let’s cover some neat trivia about a good guy. The good guy! Of all of the good guys in Star Wars, I don’t think anyone compares to Obi-Wan Kenobi (except, perhaps, Yoda). The man endured the loss of his best friend/brother to the dark side and even witnessed him slaughtering younglings. Satine Kryze, the woman he cared about most, is murdered right in front of him. He is betrayed by his first in command because of Order 66 and becomes, essentially, one of the last remaining Jedi. After ALL of that, he is never once tempted by the dark side. A Jedi as legendary as Obi-Wan Kenobi can only be initially portrayed by a legendary actor. So how much do you know about Sir Alec Guinness?

Sir Alec Guinness passed away in 2000 from lung cancer at 86 years old. In 1959 he was knighted by Elizabeth II for his contribution to the arts. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and received a lifetime achievement award in 1980. He was only married once and has one child.

Unlike the previous actors, Sir Alec Guinness’ film career spans only 63 credits. However, similar to Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, he has portrayed some pretty notable characters. I really think he is one of those actors more people need to talk about and appreciate. Before we get into his other roles, I want to share some behind-the-scenes Star Wars trivia.

A Love-Hate Relationship

He apparently claims it was his idea that Obi-Wan Kenobi is killed in the first movie to reduce his involvement with the film. He never hated the movie but he did hate the fact that it’s the only role people knew him for despite all his previous roles. I, honestly, don’t blame him; as you will soon see, he had a great career. The other actors in the movies claim he was very professional and very kind, however he once told a fan to “never watch it [Star Wars] again”. Despite his mixed feelings fans, actors and even Disney continue to honor the man that brought us Obi-Wan. Ewan McGregor would spend hours studying his earlier films in preparation for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels. Disney and J.J. Abrams even **cast his granddaughter, Sally Guinness, in Rise of Skywalker to honor his memory.

As I already said, Sir Alec Guinness should be appreciated for more than his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi. He has a lifetime achievement award for only 63 films so you know there is more to this mans’ career than a decrepit hermit Jedi. In the 1940’s he was in a couple film adaptations of some fairly well known novels; Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. Fun Fact: the voice for Watto was modeled after Guinness’s performance as Fagin in Oliver Twist.

He’s in a few other movies you may have heard of; Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge on the River Kwai. The latter two films both won Best Picture. Obi-Wan Kenobi is the role that would make him famous but seeing the distinguished career he had prior to Star Wars I feel inclined to go back and watch his other films.

Other Links and References

** just a note about this link, I don’t approve of Screen Rant. I’m not a fan, however this link does provide sufficient coverage of Sally Guinness’ cameo and only for that reason I included it.

/MTFBWY

Confronting fear is the destiny of the Jedi.

HMDYK About Christopher Lee

How Much Do You Know about Christopher Lee? The last time I wrote a post of this type it was about Peter Cushing. Coincidentally Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee were actually good friends and were in 22 movies together. Most of us probably only know Christopher Lee in two roles, both of which were villains. He was the evil Count Dooku (aka Lord Tyranus) in the Star Wars Prequels and another one of Emperor Palpatine’s pawns. Count Dooku was once the padawan of Master Yoda before falling to the dark side. As Lord Tyranus he had an apprentice, my favorite, Asajj Ventress. As is typical of Sith, he turned on Ventress to further his agenda and she vowed to one day kill Dooku for his betrayal. Fun fact the name Dooku comes from the japanese word “doku” meaning poison.

Christopher Lee was also the maniacal Saruman in the Lord of the Rings movies. Apparently Lee was quite a Tolkein expert (having actually met J.R.R. Tolkein); he was often dispensing tips and advice during the production of the films. If you’re a James Bond fan, like me, then you also know him as The Man with the Golden Gun, Scaramanga. It seems Lee had a penchant for playing the villain. However, there is much more to Sir Christopher Lee than many might realize.

“I Welcome You To My Home”

In October of 2009 he was knighted by Prince Charles for his services to drama and charity, he’s a classically trained singer and step cousin to Ian Fleming. Sir Christopher Lee passed away in 2015 at 93 years old! In that time he accrued 282 acting credits in television, movies and even video games. Like his friend, he starred in several horror movies, including the Frankenstein monster opposite Peter Cushing’s Baron Frankenstein. However it isn’t this monster that he was known for.

Before he was Count Dooku, Christopher Lee was the iconic Count Dracula. He portrayed Count Dracula in ten films until 1972 when, according to Lee, “the character had deteriorated to such an extent that it really no longer had any meaning“.

When he wasn’t hunting the blood of young women, he was also a sleuth. Just like Cushing, he also portrayed Sherlock Holmes as well as Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. His video game credits are all voice reprisals of characters he’s played (ex: Scaramanga, Count Dooku and Saruman).

With 282 credits, this could become quite verbose. The man is so interesting, an amazing intellectual and truly a legend. If you have any interesting factoids or comments to share, please leave them in the comments.

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” – Aristotle

 

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