While sci-fi geeks everywhere salivate in anticipation for the return of Luke Skywalker and company in Star Wars: Episode VII, actor Mark Hamill is giving his acting chops a workout in the meaty role of Crow, the maddest member of a gang of ill-fated jewel thieves in first-time feature filmmaker Kern Saxton’s Sushi Girl, now available on VOD.
ComingSoon.net caught up with Hamill at the film’s world premiere in Hollywood last night, and he shared his thoughts on playing a crazed killer and the continuation of George Lucas’s film saga.
ComingSoon.net: You’ve played the wittily psychotic Joker for a number of years. What did you draw on to distinguish your character in Sushi Girl the wisecracking maniac Crow?
Mark Hamill: I think you draw upon any experience you have. Obviously it’s hard to be a method actor and play a psychotic killer, but I think the first thing that happened was the physicality of it. I thought if I could create something that is so visually arresting and off-putting and just not assembled correctly, it telegraphs to the audience that there’s something not right with the guy. I thought of shaving my head, but I thought, “Well, that would be redundant with Tony [Todd’s character].” And the other extreme would be to go to long hair, which is really age inappropriate. I mean it might work for a surfer in his twenties or a guy in a grunge band or something, but it’s not right for a guy in his fifties. The suit is more normal, but then he’s got the kiddy tennis shoes It worked for me. Because when I looked at my reflection it wasn’t me. I didn’t feel like I had to take responsibility for my actions. And believe me I was scared of this script. It was one of the biggest gambles I’ve ever done. I’m in a place now where I’m kind of cautious. I’ve saved my money. I don’t really have to work. I mean obviously you’d like to. But in terms of specific performances, I don’t know. Lee Marvin really influenced me, with the cynical sense of humor that Lee had. But it’s mostly made out of whole cloth. I guess there’s a little Truman Capote in there. [Laughs.]
CS: What’s the secret to balancing humor with menace?
Hamill: Well obviously the script is the most important thing. In print it’s there. It’s just finding the moments that can flesh it out. I have to give credit to Destin Pfaff and Kern Saxton for a great script. And in the chemistry The rivalry wasn’t that specific in the script. I know Max was nuts, but the way we use that as a springboard, a through line, all the way through the picture Andy [Mackenzie] is spectacular. Because not only is he a great actor, he’s somebody who’s really fun to work with and improvise with. He’s a good person. I don’t have a single complaint about this cast. They’re so talented and just a nice ensemble in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
CS: Do you have any news you can share regarding Star Wars: Episode VII?
Hamill: I don’t have any information that isn’t already out there. And I’m in a place where sometimes I forget what’s classified and what’s not. I said to my son because my son is really the Star Wars fanatic in my family, of my three kids I said, “How come you know more about Star Wars than me or even Lucasfilm?” He goes, “Well, Dad, I go to StarWars.com.” He knew about the new writer, Michael Arndt, before I knew about that I’m not holding out on you. I just know that nothing’s been decided, whether we’re in or out. I was surprised at how George announced it, because he told me about this last summer. Not about Disney, but just that they decided after all these years that they were gonna go do VII, VIII, and IX. We were just shocked. But it’s so in the early stages I thought he announced too early. I don’t know what the timing was in terms of the Disney deal. But we don’t know what’s going on really. And when we do, believe me, we’ll let you know! [Laughs.]