Star Wars Documentary About The Actors Behind The Masks Needs Your Money

By Kristy Puchko 2014-05-12 11:29:58discussion comments
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Do you consider yourself a true Star Wars fanatic? Think you know every bit of trivia, not just from the films but from the expanded world of novels and spin-off series? Maybe. But do you know Derek Lyons? He played Medal Bearer and Massassi Guard in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. And he's at the center of Elstree 1976, an in-the-works documentary about the bit players whose faces were hidden by masks, but whose presence helped make Star Wars the modern movie marvel it is today.



Documentarian Jon Spira (Anyone Can Play Guitar) has watched almost any Star Wars doc you could name. But he noticed they fell into two camps, either talking about the production itself or about the fan culture that has grown from it. He wanted to do something different, looking to how Star Wars impacted the lives of some of its smaller players. He was inspired after meeting a casual meeting with Star Wars: Episode IV extra John Chapman. From this fateful meeting, he conceived Elstree 1976.

Here's Jon Spira's official synopsis for Elstree 1976:
In 1976, during the hottest summer on record, Star Wars was shot in suburban North London. Nobody involved had any idea how big the film would become, many couldn't even remember the title.

Yet, for the extras and actors in smaller roles, their faces hidden in masks and helmets, this seemingly insignificant job would go on to colour their lives even four decades later.

ELSTREE 1976 is a portrait of a cross-section of these people; from the man inside the most iconic villain in film history to the guy whose character was completely cut from the final film. It tells the stories of their lives and explores the eccentric community they have formed, traveling the world, signing autographs for fans.

The ten subjects of Elstree 1976 run the gamut when it comes to how they regard their work on Star Wars. Some have fond memories. Some are happy to exploit this brush with greatness to make some quick cash at Comic Cons. Some see themselves as a crucial element to the film's success, while another states quite frankly, "Extras don't count. They are not acting; they are just there."

The Kickstarter video suggests the doc is in the can, so what does director Jon Spira need from you? He confesses Elstree 1976 is shot, meaning 18 months of interviews, B-roll, UK convention footage, and even re-enactments. But as they roll into preproduction, Spira's team is asking for those interested to kick in toward a 30,000 goal (roughly $50,613). Donations begin at 1. But prizes like a digital download of the final film or limited edition Blu-rays don't begin until 10-25. For 750, you can buy your way to an Executive Producer credit. And one affluent backer will get a slew of prizes, including a replica Boba Fett helmet signed by the one and only Jeremy Bulloch. Just be the first to pledge 2,000, and its all yours.

For the latest developments on Star Wars: Episode VII, click here.
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