Quarren with the misted glasses.
The interview with Gerald Home.
download high resolution photo
|Gerald Home is the actor who played Squid Head and Callamarian Officer in Return of the Jedi. You can read about his detailed biography here: Gerald Home's homepage.
Below is the interview we had via e-mail, and all Gerald's answers have been written by him with one finger, under the working name "typing finger", only.
I invite you to read and enjoy the number of interesting photographs!
Did you attended the first-night performance?
|Gerald, tell me, please, about your first time! When was the first time you saw Return of the Jedi? Did you see an unfinished version while it was still under production?
The first time I saw RETURN OF THE JEDI was at a special Cast and Crew showing, in a London cinema, on a cold Sunday morning in early 1983. As the title suggests, this was a screening just for the people who worked on the film.
The version we saw on that Sunday morning was the finished version.
The head of Tessek displayed in the Fashion Institute of
Design and Merchandising
I couldn't go to the first night (the premiere) because I wasn't in London
at the time - I was away on tour in a play.
What is it like to see yourself on the screen? Did you feel like shouting suddenly: "Oh, it's me!"?
Absolutely - yes! When I first saw the film, I was sitting with all my
fellow performers from the Jabba scenes, and from the Mon Calamari scenes,
so we were all calling out, "There I am!" and things like that. As you
probably know, I am credited in the film as a Mime Artist: there are 9 of us
credited as Mime Artists - and most of us saw ROTJ together at that Cast and
Oh, it's Him! Strain your eyes and find Squid Head!
What did you feel when you saw yourself on the big screne next to already
well-known to you Star Wars characters?
It was a big thrill to see my characters on the big screen - but I must be
honest and tell you that there was a little bit of disappointment as well.
Here is one of mime artists. Only the question is which one?
|You see, we Mime Artists were supposed to be featured more in the scenes with Jabba, in the Throne Room and on the Sail Barge. But by the time filming started, and all the crew arrived... the technicians (lighting, carpenters, painters, etc), plus the wardrobe people, our helpers, other
actors and extras, the production staff, etc...there were so many people on set that we 9 Mime Artists often got lost in the background. Sometimes there were well over 100 people on set.
So a lot of the work we thought we would be doing didn't happen. For example, I remember I had worked out a lot of "business" (things to do) with Claire Davenport (Fat Dancer) in rehearsals, but when we came to film, there
was no time to do any of what we had rehearsed. Also, there was no space, because there were so many people on set.
So it was disappointing, when we saw the film for the first time, to see
that our characters were in the background so much, and not featured, as we
had thought we would be.
Most of the time it was safe because it was covered by a metal grill; but
|Speaking about set... At Dagobah you told an anecdote about misted over glasses. It's also on your site. You were afraid that you could fall into Rancor's pit. Does it mean that on location - where the audience chamber pictures were taken - there was really a hole in the floor that one could fall into? Why was it
there? Could it be true that Rancor really existed?
The Jabba's audience chamber scenes were filmed at Elstree Studios, just outside London, and yes, there really was a pit in the floor in the set!
the grill had to be retractable, so that Oola, and later Luke, could fall
Can you reveal the secret which of Calamari Officers were you?
I have a LOT to say about that. Look at pictures I call "4 Mon Cal pages".
I put this together to show to Lucasfilm and Official Pix, because there is
a lot of confusion and doubt about who played which Mon Cal. I know EXACTLY
which photos I'm in, as you'll see here:
In 1982, there was a still photo session on set that only Tim Rose (ACKBAR)
and I were called to. There is no doubt that it's me in the photos because I
was the only Mon Cal there with Ackbar - and also, I remember putting my
"fingers" around the side of the consul (table), so that the camera would
see them. You can see that in the photo. (Performers always recognize their
own body even when we're in masks.)
I am sitting in that same seat when you first see Ackbar in ROTJ. Remember
that shot? The camera is in the Briefing Room, looking up at Ackbar and
other Mon Cals on the Bridge.
|At all other times in the film, I am not sitting. In the Battle of Endor scenes for example, I am behind Ackbar, screen left of him, looking like I am operating switches on the wall behind me. Just before Ackbar says, "It's a trap!", I am the very confused looking Mon Cal behind him, and I end up pointing with my hand towards screen right.
So you see, sometimes I sat in that chair, and sometimes I didn't.
Have you noticed that Calamarian Officers wear 2 kinds of outfit?
There were at least 2 of us who sat there. So NONE of us can claim to be "Captain
Decipher didn't know that there were several of us who had sat in that
chair, so it was a mistake when they gave the character a name, as they
didn't realise that this would cause a problem in the future, when fans
tried to identify which performer the name referred to.
Is it possible to - being a part of such enterprise, knowing everything from
the backstage perspective - get carried away by the story and the plot?
|Yes, it is possible to do two things: to watch the film with a critical "insider's" eye, and also become involved in the story. Remember, we didn't know the story when we first saw the film, because we had never seen a complete script! We only knew the parts of the script that we were involved in. So we were just as anxious as the rest of the world to see what happened to these characters we cared about so much - Luke, Han and Leia!
When did you see the ROTJ for the last time? Do you happen to get back to it sometimes again??
Honestly, I don't think I saw ROTJ again until I started doing conventions
about 4 years ago. Then I had to do my "homework"! I had to watch all the
films and read as many books as possible, so that I knew all there is to
know about my characters. In spite of all that "homework", I find that I
still don't know everything, and fans constantly surprise me with new
details about my characters.
|I recently narrated a concert of Star Wars music from all 6 films. In other words, I told the complete story of Star Wars.
But I didn't really KNOW the complete story, so I had to do more homework, before I did the concert!
I watched all 6 films in a row, several times, so
I understood the story as much as possible. I have to admit, even now, I'm not sure I understand everything that happens in the films! But I'm only an actor - I don't have to understand evertything!
And do you happen to watch other films more than once - films you haven't
Do you mean films other than Star Wars films? If so, yes, there are some
films I watch over and over again: classics like CASABLANCA, GONE WITH THE
WIND, ROSEMARY'S BABY, and the old black and white film noir movies never
cease to entertain me.
Of all the Star Wars films, Episode IV: A New Hope is my favourite,
and I always watch that when it's on TV. I love that film...I love the plot,
the script, the acting - and the characters. It's a classic. And of course I
remember the first time I saw it in the cinema in 1977; there had never been
anything like it before.
But I think your question assumes that I watch my work over and over again!
In fact, I don't! I hate watching myself, and I hate hearing myself. There
are many actors like this, Alec Guinness, for example - but most actors do
LOVE to see and hear themselves.
I watch everything I'm in eventually, but I only watch it once, and hate to
see it again.
For example, A TV programme I made months ago was on TV last week, but I
couldn't bring myself to watch it until yesterday! In fact, a friend made a
screen grab from it, which I attach here:
Gerald in SITUATION CRITICAL
My family doesn't like it...they say it's too serious, but I like it because I don't often get to play serious parts.
I did not suggest that you watch your work all over again at all, I only
wanted to learn your taste in films. I also love "Casablanca" and films
with Bogart in general. It is an essence of cinematography!
That was a big thrill.
|A lot of Polish people like Bogart! By the way, I met Ingrid Bergman in the early 80s when she was in a play in the West End of London. I was also in a
play there at the same time. So I wrote to her, and asked if we could meet!
She wrote back and said I should go and have a drink with her in her dressing room one day - so we made arrangements and I did eventually meet
Play it again, Sam.
But wait a moment! How do you know that many Poles love Bogart?
I know a lot of Polish people here in London, people who settled here
after the war, and I have a lot of friends whose parents are Polish, so I know a
lot about Poland and it's history in recent years.
What was your life like after you've finished works on the ROTJ and after
|It was pretty much the same as before the film. I did lots and lots of theatre work - in fact, I worked constantly in theatre for many, many, years, going from one job to the next, sometimes touring throughout the UK, and sometimes playing in theatres in the West End of London.
I acted in comedies, musicals and serious dramas, such as BELL, BOOK and CANDLE. You might have seen the movie version of this. I played the part Jack Lemmon played in the movie - a warlock!
I was offered several other mask parts after ROTJ, but I wanted my face to be seen and my voice to be heard, so I always took the theatre parts instead.
The only other mask part that I accepted was in a series I did for BBC
Television in 1992, called THE BOOT STREET BAND.
|1992 Mr Prince
Were you in touch with fans in the 80s?
Actually, I never met any fans when the film first came out. In fact, I
didn't meet any fans until a few short years ago - 2003 - when they started
to track me down via the internet. And now I know many, many fans all around
How did you land at the first convention?
As I said fans found my details, and my agent's address, on the internet. So they contacted me via my agent. It was a fan who got me invited to my first convention, and it was a fan who put me in touch with promoters and convention organisers. And it was a fan who told me who to contact at Lucasfilm. So I owe everything to fans: I would not be in the convention world now without the help of fans.
I've heard that you're loaded with presents.
He's a friend of Shane Turgeon, who works for Rebelscum and is the author of
Indeed, I've received several nice gifts.
I have a very nice carded action figure a Mexican fan (Roberto Ignar) made for me. I love things like this. This is the kind of thing I collect these days, things that fans make for me.
Have a look at a fabulous drawing/painting of Tessek, Squid Head by the tattooist Chris Iwaniuk.
THE FORCE IN THE FLESH, the book about Star Wars tattoos.
And of course, I couldn't avoid mentioning a beautiful figure I received
What I love about this picture is that Chris drew a tooth, as you can see.
Why? Well, he told me that when he was a child and had to go to the dentist,he was very afraid, but he took his Tessek action figure with him, to comfort him and give him strength! Tessek was one of his favourite figures. Isn't that lovely?
It's also worth showing the Mon Calamari drawing made for me by Pablo Bellver Martin, a Spanish fan, and a jpg of 3 cards of my ROTJ chatracters, given to me by Paul Rowley: 2 are by Randy Martinez. Paul commissioned the third card for me from the artist Amy Pronovost.
from Polish fans at the Dagobah convention.
This clay figure was given to me by Commanding Officer Cezary Zolynski, on behalf of the Polish Outpost.
Is your convention attendance regulated by some contracts with Lucasfilm?
When I do conventions now, I am in constant contact with Lucasfilm - not
because I MUST contact them, but because I want to.
You see, though the Tessek and Mon Calamari Officer you see on screen are my
performances, and it's my creativity that brought them to life - I never
forget that they were originally Lucasfilm's creations. I honour that, and I
respect that, and that's why I like to let Lucasfilm know what's going on in
my little corner of the Star Wars Universe. I think of it as team work.
We actors don't have any "contracts" with Lucasfilm. Everything is done on a
basis of goodwill. I did the official Lucasfilm Celebrations 3, 4 and
Europe, but they were organised by an outside company on behalf of
Lucasfilm, so my contracts for those weren't with Lucasfilm either.
So, you don't "have to" speak well about everything that Lucas
No, I don't "have to" speak well about everything! In fact, I don't think
Yes, I've seen the new trilogy several times. Episode 3, REVENGE OF THE
anyone would believe me if I praised everything! Only sycophants praise
everything, and I'm not one of those.
So tell me, please, have you seen the new trilogy? What is your opinion
SITH, is my favourite: I think it's a stunning film, brilliantly making
"the circle complete".
Even though I can appreciate how fantastic the technology is, its "coldness" stops me from caring what happens to the characters.
|The new trilogy suits the new age - the late twentieth century, with its technology and fantastic CGI. My problem with CGI is that I think it can be very "cold".
I think images that originate from a computer and not from a human being (actor or puppeteer) lack warmth, because they don't have the natural warmth that comes from human beings.
The consequence of this for me is that I don't feel "warm" about what's happening on screen... I feel distant from it, not involved.
Are you invited to attend other Star Wars events?
Yes, I am - and not all events are conventions; for example, my recent trip to Spain was to narrate a 30th Anniversary concert of Star Wars music, and to help raise money for charity. This was the first concert of Star Wars music ever to be narrated, in Spanish, by an actor from a Star Wars film!
A good team!
Another recent event I went to, which wasn't a convention, was a Collectors' Fair in Holland. Jpg attached of me with my fellow guests Doug Bradley (Pinhead from HELLRAISER), Marvin Campbell (stuntman from CASINO ROYALE and 28 DAYS LATER) and Mike Carter (BIB FORTUNA), my colleague from Jabba's Palace.
I know from interviews, I've read or heard, that you've read Tales from
Jabbas Palace. Have you read the whole book or only the tale about "you"? Do you happen to reach out for some other materials connected with Star
|I have to be honest and tell you that the only tale I read was "my" tale in Tales From Jabba's Palace. But what a lot of information I read in that!
Until I read it in 2003, I thought that I/Tessek had died in Jabba's sail barge explosion! From 1982 until 2003, I thought that I was dead! But now I know that Tessek/Squid Head's brain is still alive! That was good news to
This is what Tessek is like now.
After the 80s Star Wars disappeared for 10 years from the area of interest
of the mass spectator, and later everything burst with double force. Did it
have any influence on you?
No, it didn't have any influence on me, because I didn't know any of it was
happening! I didn't know that there were Special Edition videos in 1997.
No one told me, until I re-joined the Star Wars universe in 2003. I don't think the Special Editions were shown in cinemas here in the UK. I could be wrong about that. They WERE shown in Spain though. I know this because I met some very young fans in Spain last year, some as young as 17 years of age. I asked them where they first saw a Star Wars film, and they told me in a cinema, in 1997, when they were about
6 years old.
The Special Edition was also shown in Poland and we have young fans here,
too. Even younger, for whom the Star Wars adventure started with the book,
a game or a video cassette. Star Wars captivated people from every corner.
I know there are many young Star Wars fans in Poland because I met many of
them when I was there recently, including 10 year old Wojtek, whose dream to
become like his hero, Darth Vader, came true at Dagobah 2007.
Wojtek with friends!
One more young Vader!
You can imagine what it was like for me in 2003, when I discovered what a
huge world-wide interest there now is in Star Wars. I was amazed.
And it was only in 2003 that I learned that "Squid Head" had been given a new name - "Tessek", and he was a beautiful new action figure, as was my second character, the Mon Calamari Officer.
Speaking about figures... A very nice manager from Lucas Licensing came to see me at Celebration IV in Los Angeles and asked if I had any requests or ideas.
I told him that I would love to see a Tessek, Squid Head bust one day. I showed him a photo of the bust that a fan gave to me at C3, to let him see that it is possible tomake such a bust.
He liked it so much that he said he would give my
suggestion to Gentle Giant Studios! So let's hope that a Squid Head bust appears one day!!
I once watched a film about a guy who didn't have to work cause his father
had written one day a song. Apart from satisfaction from the fact that you acted in a legendary film and that your character has attracted the attention of fans do you have any measurable profits (e.g. some interest for the sale of Tessek figure, or some TOPPS card or e.g. Decipher ?
First of all, let me say that I was VERY well paid when I worked on ROTJ in
1982. Between then and 1986, I received various payments from Lucasfilm, for
things like Video, Foreign TV and Pay TV. So this all added up to a very
nice total wage for the work I did on ROTJ. I wasn't in touch with Lucasfilm again until 2003, when I re-joined the Star Wars world.
I still get occasional payments for ROTJ for things like cable showings in
Switzerland, or TV showings in Holland. These payments are gathered by
Equity, the actors' union, and are paid by the TV companies which show the
|I don't get royalties for the sale of the Tessek or Mon Calamari Officer figures because the excellent wage I got in 1982 included payment for the use of my characters' images. As I'm still quite "new" to the circuit, I don't think TOPPS or Decipher know of me yet, so I haven't yet signed any of their cards. Hopefully I will one day.
After all the theatre work I told you about earlier, I did a lot of TV work. Much of this work is still repeated on TV all around the world, and I get repeat fees and residual payments for a lot of the TV programmes I made. As there are more and more TV channels appearing all the time, these channels
are "hungry" for material to broadcast, so hopefully my old performances on TV will continue to earn me some money!
You might be interested to know that things have changed in the acting
business in recent years: these days, for TV and commercials, actors usually
get what is called a "buy out" fee. This means we get a one-off, large fee,
never to be repeated, instead of the old system of repeat fees every time
our performance was shown. Needless to say, we earned more under the old
Interesting that you mention theatre and television... For us, Star wars fans, the fact that you played Tessek and the officer is very important but for you it's probably just one of life episodes. Your website informs about other projects you've taken part in. which one is themost important to you? Which gave you the biggest satisfaction?
This is a very interesting question, but it's almost impossible to answer
because every job was, and is, special in its own way.
But I must also mention Mr Muscle!
|So I'll tell you a few of my favourite jobs:
Do you know the Josef von Sternberg film THE BLUE ANGEL from the 1930s, which starred Marlene Dietrich?
Well, I was in a theatre production of that a few years ago, in London, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
This was one of the most exciting and rewarding shows I have ever been in:
| I played a very severe German Headmaster, but I also sang and danced in this show, as it was a play with music. I love doing plays like this because I have to use everything I've got... my body, my voice,my imagination...acting, singing, dancing... for an actor, it doesn't get any better than this. It felt like I was using everything I've got!
I have done a lot of TV work as well, but I don't like any of the work I've done on TV! Hopefully my best TV jobs are yet to come - sometime in the future.
In the play Wooden Stars Gerald uses everything he's got and sausages, too!
This is the character I played in the TV
commercials I did for about 10 years, which were shown all over Europe, in Australia and New Zealand, and in recent years in South Africa. I loved playing this character, and I loved the slapstick humour in the commercials.
It amazes me that people still remember the commercials, and they remember
them fondly, with warmth, which is nice. They always smile when they recognize me, which is nice to see.
By the way, I filmed one of the commercials in a studio in Budapest. This commercial was shown only in Hungary, Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, Slovakia
- and Poland!
And what do you do nowadays?
I'm still an actor. That's my full time job. I don't do anything else. I think I'm one of the few actors from the Original Trilogy who is still acting.
I'm pretty lucky because I'm in work most of the time - in a theatre play, or filming a TV role or TV commercial. And I also do "corporate videos/dvds", which big companies commission when they want to "sell" something. For example, last summer I played a Doctor in a corporate video which was commissioned by Fujitsu. They have a new range of computer technology which they want to be used in hospitals in Britain, so they paid a film company to make a film, showing their technology being used. All the
characters in the film are played by actors - and the pay (wages) are very
|Also, I recently made a TV comedy film called PAUL DREAMS OF BETTE, in which
I played a psychiatrist who treats the TV personality Paul O'Grady for his
obsession with Bette Davis. It was a very funny part and I ended up dancing
to the song SHE'S GOT BETTE DAVIS EYES!
I've heard you were a teacher.
Yes, I was a teacher for 3 years, but that was a long time ago: 1973 - 1975
- before I became an actor. I taught language.
Are you in touch with other actors that starred in the Trilogy?
Yes, I know many SW actors and keep in touch with several of them. One good
chum is Tim ACKBAR Rose, who I sometimes met up with after filming ROTJ. We
had a great time a couple of years ago when we toured Japan together,
signing and meeting Japanese fans. One of the things we did then was
re-create the pose from a classic photo we had taken on set in 1982:
|Gerald and his chum!
Gerald, thank you a lot for all these unusually interesting stories and for offering me beautiful pictures. I'm sure when fans read the interview they will appreciate your effort and kindness. I hope you'll visit us soon to make us able to reward you with warm applause!
Thank you for your kind words, Kuba - and for your interesting, unique and
original questions: it has been a pleasure answering them. Good luck with
your website - I hope more fans around the world discover it, and of course
I hope we meet again soon. My best wishes to everyone who reads this!
Questions : Kuba Turkiewicz.