Interview: Alan Flyng
For many fans of the Star Wars Saga, the name Alan Flyng doesn’t ring a bell when they ear it, however, when they know the roles he played in Empire Strikes Back, they recognise him immediately. Recently we had the pleasure of interview Alan, answering some questions about him and his career.
SWC: What do you do before you role in Star Wars? You always been an actor?
Before acting, I worked in all sorts of jobs whilst studying to become a singer and actor. I started my professional singing career in 1965 when I sang at Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral aged 10. I later did a business degree and also qualified as a court tailor. As an actor I appeared in many stage shows and films, but not as a star.
Sir Winston Churchill´s Funeral
SWC: If a Star Wars fan says “I don’t remember you in the movies” what do you say to him to know who you are?
In The Empire Strikes Back I wear a Stormtrooper helmet! My face is never seen, but he/she can see me at the entrance to Disneyland and all the other Disney sites, as a picture of me in my outfit taken from the film is to be seen there!
I am very visible in Return Of The Jedi as an Imperial Officer on the bridge of the Star Destroyer, Executor. You can see me clearly talking to camera, telling “Admiral Piett that the forward shields are not working”. People say Matt Damon looks a bit like me then! LOL!!!
SWC: What was your age when you do your first Star Wars movie.
I was twenty-four years old when shooting Empire.
SWC: We know a little about you job in wardrobe and clothes design for movies. Tell us about this and, do you do some of this for Star Wars?
Ken Colley – Image from Let the wookie win
I came into film as an actor, but carried on my career in costume. In 1982 I left The Royal National Theater in London to work on a film with Glenda Jackson and John Finch called Giro City. The first actor I fitted with costume for the film was Ken Colley (Admiral Piett in Return Of The Jedi) and the last appearance I made in front of camera as an actor was delivering my lines to him also! He was as surprised to see me there as I was to see him!!! Since then I have completed another 45 films in costume and designed shows for ocean liners, theatres all around the world, ballets and operas and lots, lots more! I never regretted leaving acting. To see a list of films I have worked in the costume department on, visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0283404/
SWC: For some time, you stay away from the Star Wars fans, conventions and all this stuff. What do you feel now that you decided to attend conventions and signing autographs for the fans of Star Wars?
I enjoy meeting fans of the films and especially the costumers. I admire their skill and determination to make costumes which could go in front of a camera and be thought to be the real thing! I belong to many clubs because of this and I get a kick out of helping makers work out how they should make their movie-accurate costumes.
SWC: What do you think of the fans?
A great bunch, normally, though some are a little frightening! LOL
SWC: Warwick Davis told that they payed him £60 daily for everyday of filming. Can we know how much do you get payed for being a Stormtrooper and a Imperial Officer?
As a Stormtrooper I got about £80 for an eight hour day and overtime, As the Imperial Officer I was paid by the word, I will not disclose how much, but it helped me buy my first house!!!
SWC: Are you a fan of Star Wars since the beginning, or you become one with the time?
I never had the time to see the films until much later on – many years later. I like the original trilogy most. I am not a fan of the prequels or the Clone Wars on TV.
SWC: Do you collect your own action figures?
No, I don’t collect anything other than patches.
SWC: What do you do now, and what comes to you in this 2014?
I am virtually retired now but do a little acting now and then. I am filming a German film, where I play an American cop. It has already taken two years to make!!!
SWC: What do you remember most of you work in The Empire Strikes Back?
The heat on the set. Unbearably uncomfortable heat with steam coming from pipes under our feet all the time and football stadium arc-lights lighting us. The main actors were friendly and we spent a lot of time chatting. I remember playing a Hoth Rebel, a Hoth technician, a Snowtrooper on odd days when not needed for the scene. I worked with George Lucas on the 2nd Unit until needed back on the Carbonite Chamber set.
SWC: Star Wars change your life in some way?
Yes, Since retiring, this has come into my life and it gives me great pleasure to travel and meet fans all over the world!
SWC: Tell us about your scene as an Imperial Officer giving bad news.
This scene had been troublesome to Richard Marquand. There was another actor who I was asked to replace, I did what the other couldn’t and that was all. Very fast and home again in one day.
SWC: What have you heard about Colombia? Do you like to come here someday?
Colombia gets a lot of bad press in Europe because of bandits, drugs and poverty. I think it is greatly exaggerated as you can find all of that back here! But I also hear it is a beautiful country too with a rich history and much to see! Of course I would love to visit one day and see some of the beauty of your country and meet as many Colombians as I can!
Allan, thank you so much for your time, Star Wars Cali is your home now and you’re welcome here always.
All Images are courtesy of Alan Flyng. Some images are property of Lucas Film Ltd, All rights reserved
We invite you to visit the official Alan Flyng´s Website