Just as 2016 was drawing to an end, the world lost a true star with the death of Carrie Fisher, famous for her iconic bun-wearing character in the original Star Wars saga but also for her unique brand of humor and her outspokenness about women's rights and mental health. Tributes have been flowing in from all over the world, with the most touching ones coming from the Star Wars cast who had the privilege of sharing her days on the set of the space saga.
In a candid and intimate guest column for the Hollywood Reporter Mark Hamill delivers a powerful account of his close relationship with Fisher, detailing how much fun she was and admitting how exhausting her energy could be at times. His heartwarming piece will remind any fan of how wonderful a person she was.
'She Was Just So Instantly Ingratiating And Funny And Outspoken'
Like most people who've had the privilege of meeting Carrie Fisher, the first qualifier that springs to Hamill's mind is "funny"— and even though she was just 19 when they met, he was taken aback by her presence:
You know, she was 19 years old at the time. I was a worldly 24. So I was thinking, "Oh my God, it'll be like working with a high school kid." But I was just bowled over. I mean she was just so instantly ingratiating and funny and outspoken. She had a way of just being so brutally candid. I'd just met her but it was like talking to a person you'd known for 10 years.
Pretty soon, he felt the need to match her in her wits, going to all kinds of extents to make her laugh:
I would do crazy things to amuse her on the set. Making her laugh was always a badge of honor. [...] The lengths I would go to hear her laugh—there were no limits. I loved her and loved making her laugh. She would do these crazy things and make me do these crazy things, but I really don't think they were crazy after all.
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In fact, Fisher was so good at delivering the perfect line that directors often turned to her to get her notes on their scripts — including George Lucas. Knowing that, it must have been a great honor indeed to be funny to her.
'You Couldn't Have More Fun With Any Person On The Planet'
At the heart of Hamill's tribute lies the memory of a complicated person, capable of abrupt mood swings and intense at all times. Not all Star Wars fans are necessarily aware of Fisher as a mental health advocate, but it's important to remember that she was a true pioneer in terms of putting the topic out in the open.
In 2006, she told PrimeTime Thursday:
"I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital. [...] I have two moods. One is Roy, rollicking Roy, the wild ride of a mood. And Pam, sediment Pam, who stands on the shore and sobs… Sometimes the tide is in, sometimes it's out."
When you read Hamill's piece, it's clear that knowing Roy was totally worth enduring Pam:
When you were in her good graces, you couldn't have more fun with any person on the planet. She was able to make you feel like you were the most important thing in her life. I think that's a really rare quality. And then you could go 180 degrees opposite, where you were furious with one another and wouldn't speak for weeks and weeks. But that's all part of what makes a relationship complete. It's not all one-sided. Like I say, she was a handful. She was high maintenance. But my life would have been so much drabber and less interesting if she hadn't been the friend that she was.
We can only hope Fisher found it was all worth it, too.
What's your favorite Carrie Fisher moment?