Before I start, I would just like to say that Moviepilot is truly an amazing website. Not only is the site cool but the staff are kind and interactive with the Creators, building a great bond between one another.
Recently, Moviepilot staff member Andrew Marco gave me an amazing opportunity to speak to a Star Wars legend. I was able to do a phone interview with Billy Dee Williams, or better known to most fans as Lando Calrissian. Through this amazing opportunity I was able to ask him questions about Star Wars, while nerding out and acting extremely nervous. It was my first interview and I couldn't have been more excited.
Billy Dee Williams is an amazing actor and Lando is a fan favorite but his role as Lando overshadows his other amazing work. Specifically his role as Louis McKay in Lady Sings the Blues. If you haven't seen the movie, or have even heard of it before, I highly recommend it because it's an amazing, powerful film and Billy Dee Williams' acting is superb. In a movie that powerful, I wondered what were some of the challenges he faced as an actor to portray this character.
His response was that:
"They're the same challenges any other actor has. Trying to bring as much truth to the character as possible. An actor has to make a character believable."
He certainly did bring the character Louis McKay to life, making him a real and relatable character. If you see Louis McKay in that film, you can see some similarities in his personality to that of Lando's - both are very smooth talking characters. This only made me wonder more how he got selected for the role. I didn't know if he auditioned for the role or if he was just handed it. I was quite surprised to find out his answer:
"I was asked to play Lando by George Lucas and Irvin Kershner. I was gaining a lot of popularity at the time, especially after Lady Sings the Blues, but also, they wanted to bring a certain quality to the character I guess and they knew that I could deliver that quality - which is a sort of charming, very roguish presentation."
I asked him what it was like on set, because now everything is usually so heavy on special effects these days that we forget the beauty in practical effects.
One question I'm sure Star Wars fan would like to know is who is his favorite Star Wars character aside from Lando? At first he wasn't really sure as to which was his favorite, because to him, they were all interesting. When talking about the famous Jabba the Hutt scene in the beginning of Return of the Jedi:
"In Return of the Jedi, especially in the big party scene with Jabba the Hutt and all those creatures, when you see a woman walking around with six breasts, it's some pretty strange stuff. Pretty erotic stuff but still interesting."
Interesting response, but I really wanted to know his favorite character other than Lando, so I asked him again. His response was the one and only Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader. Which, to me, was actually an interesting choice because I would have always thought it would be Han Solo since Han and Lando have similar personalities.
Before Disney bought Lucasfilm and announced the sequels, I always wondered what happened after Return of the Jedi. I never read any of the Expanded Universe stuff until now. Before tackling them, there were just so many novels that I didn't know where to start. So instead of reading, I used my own imagination and thought of how each character in the Star Wars Universe has grown after Jedi.
I always wanted to know what other adventures the characters went on and how much they've grown since Jedi. So I obviously had to ask Billy Dee Williams where he saw Lando going after Return of the Jedi:
"I always think of him as being this sort of swashbuckling kind of individual who is a rogue(ish). The same way I always imagined him to be and the way I presented him. Charming, and he is a hustler of a great magnitude, a guy with a lot of vulnerability, but a really fun, interesting character."
A truly honest and deep response coming from the man himself. Star Wars fans, including myself, cannot even fathom the idea of anyone else playing Lando. He even admits it. He believes that no one can truly portray the character as well as he does, which is the truth. Billy Dee Williams is Lando Calrissian. That is a known fact.
To close the interview I had to ask the number one question fans are probably always asking him... and that's whether we'll see him or not in Episodes VIII or IX. Which, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Kathleen Kennedy even stated that they have plans for Lando in the future, which I believe is quite possible. His response was short, but I think it confirms what I already stated:
"You know I really don't know how to answer that at this point."
There were also several other things I discussed with him, like if he was going to pick up the five issue mini-series comic 'Lando' this coming July - he will be, yes. He also stated that he is a fan of the hit show Star Wars: Rebels and finds the animation to be amazing.
Although it was just a phone interview, I truly enjoyed talking to him and learned a lot more about him and the iconic character of Lando. He'll be at Supercon next week in Miami and so will I! Stay tuned for more coverage of that!
Once again, I would like to thank Andrew Marco for setting this up. I really appreciate it. Also, get ready to read some more of my stuff, I'm gonna have a lot more free time, so more great articles from me are coming. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @MannyCastell and be sure to check out my other articles!