Hello lovely followers,
I was one of the millions that shed a tear when I found out that Carrie Fisher had died last month. I had watched her as the indomitable Princess Leia in the Star Wars films, followed her on twitter and loved watching her on chat shows and being interviewed – what an amazing woman!
I thought that I would share with you the interview that I found on Goodreads that they carried out in November 2016. I haven’t read either of her autobiographies or any of her novels but I will be adding The Princess Diarist to my Amazon wish list and having a look at her other books now too.
Even if Star Wars had never happened, Carrie Fisher‘s life would have been fodder worthy of fiction. She is the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, and her childhood was overshadowed by one of Hollywood’s biggest scandals: Her father left her mother for Elizabeth Taylor.
During the last 40 years, Fisher has appeared in numerous movies and television shows. She’s also written four best-selling novels and two previous memoirs. Meryl Streep even portrayed her in the movie adaption of her book Postcards from the Edge.
But, of course, the world will always know her as Princess Leia. Fisher was just 19 when she landed a lead in the small-budget film—a role that would change her life.
Recently, while rummaging through a storage area in her home, Fisher came across the journals she kept while making that movie. The diaries not only captured what would become film history, but also her secret affair with her co-star Harrison Ford, who was married at the time.
Those journal entries, along with Fisher’s witty recounting of the early Star Wars days, make up her new memoir, The Princess Diarist.
When Goodreads talked to Fisher, the news had just broken about her affair with Ford. As the internet reacted, Fisher was sick in bed with bronchitis and watching in horror as the headlines quickly multiplied.
The Harrison Ford Affair
Goodreads: You are the hottest news in entertainment right now, so congrats!
Carrie Fisher: Am I? How do I find that out? Am I trending? No, I Googled myself earlier and I saw a headline that said ‘Carrie Fisher says Harrison Ford was bad in bed.’ That’s what it said. As if I would say that, who does that? Yeah, that was a little shocking though. I didn’t think they’d be able to do that, just write whatever they want. But why wouldn’t I think that?
GR: Why did you decide to both confess to having an affair with actor Harrison Ford and write about it now?
CF: Well, it’s 40 years later so it’s pretty much ancient history. I found the diaries about a year and a half ago and I thought they were really amazing and I’d forgotten I’d written them. I don’t have anything else like that that I’ve written over a finite amount of time and it was really emotional. I wrote it with abandon never thinking it would be published.
There’s a part of me that thinks ‘Why did you do this’? And that would be the part that saw that headline that said ‘Carrie Fisher says Harrison Ford was bad in bed.’ It just turns it tawdry and I probably should have anticipated that. But how do you anticipate that, truly?
GR: If you could give that 19-year-old version of yourself advice about the affair, what would you say?
CF: There’s nothing you can tell yourself. There’s no way I could’ve not done that. It wasn’t a choice I made, it was sort of an indirect choice. And I think it’s funny that it happened. I mean, what would be more awkward than [to] have that happen and then be together for the rest of your life?
GR: It’s a little unclear in the book. The affair lasted during the three months you filmed Star Wars. Did it end before you, Ford, and Mark Hamill went on the press tour to promote the first film?
CF: Essentially. Yeah, if it isn’t correct, I’m not going to correct it. But yes, and when we went on tour it was like we were roommates, the three of us together.
GR: It just seems so cringe-worthy to have this hookup with a costar you would unknowingly be linked to for the next 40 years.
CF: Well, and an awkward hookup is a one-night stand, so this wasn’t really that. And if you do something like that [have an affair], it should be with Harrison. But it was a big learning experience, I guess. Although, I don’t know quite what I learned. Not to have an affair with a married man, though. But I knew that already.
GR: Did you tell Ford that you were going to write about your affair?
CF: I saw him and I said ‘I found my journals from the first movie and I’m probably going to publish them.’ And he said “LAWYER!” Yeah, he was joking. I said, I’ll show [the book] to you and if you don’t like anything I’ll take it out. And I sent it to him and I never heard back. I assume it embarrasses him, anything about him embarrasses him. This is probably an extreme version of that.
GR: Have you seen Ford since writing this book?
CF: No! I just sent it to him fairly recently. And I finished the book fairly recently.
GR: Are you nervous about seeing him now that this book is out?
CF: Yes, but no more than usual. Yes, I’m always nervous to see Harrison. And no, no more than usual.
GR: What’s it like to see people react to this book?
CF: So, I don’t like the thing that said he wasn’t good in bed or whatever. I hate that stuff. I don’t like that I sort of lost control of it. And, you know, of course I did. But I couldn’t have anticipated what that would feel like. I don’t love it, so I’m hiding in my room. But I was sick anyway.
GR: What’s your relationship like with Mark Hamill?
CF: Much easier, like siblings. I think if you pretend something long enough, it comes true. Mark and I were more alike in a sort of ‘people pleasing’ way. Harrison was the grownup and [Mark and I] were both closer in age. But it was new to all of us, so in that sense we were all the same age.
GR: It’s interesting to read that your romance was happening with Ford at the same time sparks were flying on screen between Princess Leia and Han Solo.
CF: The way Leia behaved with Harrison is not dissimilar from the way I did. A little bit shy and combative. I don’t know what I think. I don’t know if art imitated life, or if life imitated art, or if it’s art at all. But it’s not dissimilar in a few ways.
On a Lifetime of Being Leia
CF: What would Leia do? Leia usually does the right thing. She would kill Jabba. You know, she gets in the way of the bad guy and she wears a mean bikini. No, but I think of doing the right thing and being trustworthy and telling the truth and trying not to hurt anyone.
GR: Has being Leia informed who you are today?
CF: Oh, definitely. It’s informed my entire life. I’ve been Princess Leia all these years, not just when they remade the movie. You know, there’s no getting away from it, so you’d better make peace with it. And I was never at war with it. I choose to see it as a positive and I do see it as a positive now. But I was never going to have a problem with it, because that would be a really bad way to live your life.
People get me and Leia confused. It’s difficult to separate it out. They think of my trials with being bipolar like Leia’s trials with Jabba the Hut and being a strong woman. We’ve sort of become each other, Leia and I. But, her being strong, and Leia doing whatever she wants to do or thinks she needs to do…We’re alike that way.
CF: I feel bad for me that age. I do. I’m just so insecure and riddled with self-doubt. And that’s too bad. And I’ve chosen the wrong profession if I have those kinds of intense feelings in that direction.
GR: There is no fan quite like the Star Wars fan. What is your take on the rabid fan base?
CF: I love the fans, with the exception of, like, five of them that are really insane. They love the movie, it brings them joy, and it provides them with more than movies usually provide them with. Families do things around it and that’s what I’ve watched over the years. So I have an appreciation of Star Wars that goes beyond it being a film.
I don’t quite fully understand it. I mean, it has a religious tone to it. I don’t know though, the way that it’s gone on like this—and increased over time really—is extraordinary.
Returning to Star Wars
GR: What’s it like being back in Leia’s shoes for the new Star Wars movies?
CF: Well, it just makes it OK. I mean, I felt like I was in more Star Wars films before I was in more Star Wars films. So, it just kept it going in a way I felt it was already going.
GR: Can you tell us anything about the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII, hitting theaters in 2017?
CF: Well, I’m not supposed to. They wouldn’t let my dog on the set as a result he’s very neurotic about film sets now. And I don’t like my film hair in any of the movies.
GR: What was it like for you when Episode VII came out in 2015?
CF: It was intense. It was weird for me. I never liked looking at myself, so I don’t like looking at myself in these films. Then comes the thing of “did I age well?” And I involve myself in that dialogue. So, you know, all this stuff comes with it. That’s what you get to do. It’s good baggage and bad baggage. But I’m up for the dialogue. And I don’t think many people would be.
On Being a Writer
GR: Obviously you kept a journal while shooting Star Wars and you’ve written six previous books. Tell us about your writing.
CF: Well, it was always very therapeutic for me and you can see now that that’s what it shows in those journals. That’s who I talked to. That’s where I could go. It got it out of my head and onto the page. So, that’s where I wanted it be. In my head was very crowded and not very friendly then. So it’s not the same now, it doesn’t serve the same purpose, but that was its roots.
And I still handwrite. I think there’s something very calming in that. When you’re putting something in words, you’re getting it out of feeling. And I obviously have an intense emotional world I want out of.
GR: In the book, you say you were conflicted about becoming an actor. How do you explain that to yourself?
CF: I mean, the second movie I did was Star Wars, so it was just assumed that I wanted to be an actor. I went along with the assumption. But I really did want to be a writer. I never went into show business. It would have taken more of an effort to get out of show business. And I never made that effort.
CF: I wanted to be Dorothy Parker! Well, I am Dorothy Parker now. I’m half Jewish, I have brown eyes, brown hair and we both married gay men. Well, not married, but, whatever, she married him.
GR: How do you feel about Dorothy Parker now? Is she still an idol of yours?
CF:I haven’t read her in a while but I think she probably would be because she was such a big thing for me when I was a teenager.