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Feature: Star Wars
With the Star Wars saga now behind him, Anthony Daniels, aka C-3PO, tells us what comes next, including Space: 1889…
Anthony Daniels has starred in five (soon to be six) of the highest grossing movies ever made. The role of Human/cyborg relations droid C-3PO has taken him across the globe, to shooting locations as diverse as Australia, America, Italy, London and Tunisia, and to premières and parties attended by the Hollywood glitterati. Today he’s in Brixton, in a recording studio so cold that he has to wear three sweaters, kindly playing host to this visitor from Starburst by making hot beverages.
Daniels is here for the recording of Space: 1889, a new series of audio dramas from Noise Monster productions. Set in an alternate time line, this inspired fusion of the styles of HG Wells and Jules Verne presents a version of history in which the Victorians discovered Space travel and extended the British Empire to Mars, a world, naturally, inhabited by a race of green men.
Red Devils kicks off the series, as Captain Carter’s (Daniels) ship, The Perbindesh, hurtles towards the Martian colony of Syrtis Major. Aboard is a full complement of crew, a number of passengers and dignitaries, the Martian Prince Skerrun (Tam Williams), and a secret precious cargo, the Arina Stone. And before the ship closes in on its destination, a spy will have betrayed its secrets, leaving it open to attack by pirates and the German vessel, the Sieglinde.
“There are lots of reasons to take a job,” ponders Daniels. “Some jobs you do for money, sometimes it’s the type of script it is. The thing I like about this is it’s not hysterically Sci-Fi, it’s a good story set in a kind of peculiar space age at the end of the 19th Century. There’s very little technical aspect to get the audience in: this is more about personalities and situations. It’s a relaxed script that, without being overly formal, gets over the fact that we are not in this century and it’s got an aura about it that intrigued me.”
Daniels may be working in Science Fiction again (“It’s probably a bit late to be worrying about typecasting,” he concedes), but the world of Space: 1889 could not be more remote from Star Wars.
“In a Sci-Fi film there is about 20 minutes of dialogue and a lot of pictures. In this there is hours of dialogue and sound effects and that’s it: the rest is in your mind.
“I’d been brought up with radio in the family. Literally you would sit around looking at the set as it glowed there. One of my very first memories, when I was six or seven, was the programme Journey into Space. The sound effects to a child back then in ’50s were very, very frightening. It is very creative and it allows the audience to participate.”
by David Richardson
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