Despite being hidden underneath that iconic suit of armor, Jeremy Bulloch has carved out a comfortable piece of immortality as the man behind Boba Fett. The ruthless bounty hunter first appeared in cartoon form as the only watchable part of the "Star Wars Holiday Special" in 1978, followed by Bulloch's portrayal in both "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi."
Since biting the dust in the Great Pit of Carkoon, Boba Fett has lived on in endless merchandising and brought Bulloch the adulation of fans at conventions across the globe. Fett's cult status even inspired Bulloch's autobiography "Flying Solo: Tales of a Bounty Hunter," not to mention a song by MC Chris.
In anticipation of the "Star Wars" saga's release on Blu-ray, we got an exclusive chat with the English gentleman about the enduring legacy of Boba Fett and the possibility of a future solo film.
Boba Fett is such an iconic character despite having a relatively small amount of screen time. What do you think appeals most to the fans you've met?
The thing with Boba Fett is he's very honest, very fair-minded. He's a loner, he'll talk back, he's not polite with anybody; but if someone really upsets him, it's all over in seconds. You don't mess with him, but he's fair. If I was to say to you, "I'm gonna kill you," then at least I've told you. That's a warning, and you've been told, so it's fair. I'm not gonna creep up behind you. That's how Boba Fett would be. He's like a knife through butter.
You gave him such a slow, deliberate physicality, very icy. What was the process of creating that character for you?
The costume spoke volumes for the character. You just look at the costume, there's dents, there's rips. He's gone through a lot of battles and been injured, obviously, and when you hear his voice something's happened there. Now he has a backstory of the young Boba Fett and then as a grown-up clone. He's grown up naturally; he's not a sudden clone. It's good to have the backstory, but from now on you must never see his face. Something happened between 18 and 25. You mustn't see his face because it's got to remain a secret.
What did you think of Temuera Morrison as Jango Fett in the prequels?
What's so lovely about Jango and Temeura is that he played it with just the right confidence, and quite deadly. I used to say to Temuera, "How come you've got this silvery blue costume without a dent in it?" He said, "Well, I'm probably quicker to the draw than you were." I'd say, "I don't think so."
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Did he stay true to the nuances you tried to give Boba?
Yeah, I think if you keep Boba Fett slow, and just slight movement all the time, then he'll still be at the top for years to come.
You had a small part in "Revenge of the Sith" as well. Was that surreal?
It was just a cameo role, but the atmosphere was exactly the same as all those years ago. You knew most of the camera crew and sound crew. George said, "Thank you, Jeremy, nice to see you again," and drifted off. I thought I'd just arrived, [then I] did it, and went. It was that quick, but still that feeling that you were a part of the "Star Wars" trilogy.
Joe Johnston, who designed the character and just directed "Captain America," recently announced that he wants to do a feature-length Boba Fett movie. Do you think that would be a good idea?
I think it would be a good idea, but goodness me, it would have to be good. You don't want to make the mistake of going back and doing something about Boba Fett, it would have to be a very good script, I think.
Should he be portrayed as an antihero or straight-up villain?
There's some bit of villainy there, but as I said earlier, he does his own thing. Maybe there's romance -- he might meet Mrs. Fett. People will probably laugh at that, I don't know. [laughs] It will be fun to have a film about Boba Fett because of the iconic character he is. I'd love to just come along as an aging bounty hunter sitting in a corner giving him advice, being quite deadly, but just being there, maybe teaching the young Boba Fett what he has to do.
Have you talked to Joe about it?
No, I haven't. Funnily enough, I haven't seen Joe Johnston for a long, long time, when we were filming. It would be nice to at least meet up with him and say hello again.
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You've become a staple of conventions and seem very appreciative of the fans. What's the best thing being part of "Star Wars" has given you over the years?
The lovely thing is the fans come back and go to different events and they talk to you, sometimes chatting for a long time, because they changed their life all those years ago because of George's films. They said, "That helped me through a difficult time, I'm now a special effects director, without you guys dressed up in the costumes..." They're very appreciative, so you must give them that time back. I enjoy the events. I did a lot last year because of the 30th anniversary of "Empire." I'm doing a few this year.
You've been in everything from the Bond series to "Doctor Who," but one of your most interesting roles was in the cult film "O Lucky Man!" for Lindsay Anderson. Tell us about that experience.
A lot of people said, "We thought you were dead," when they saw me as a head grafted onto a pig. I actually had to sit around lunchtime with the stitching around my neck, unable to move, otherwise they'd have to take hours to do the stitching again. That created a lot of reaction, that horrific scene.
What was working with Mr. Anderson like?
He was great. For that very end scene where I turn around and look at Malcom McDowell they shot it several times, then he said, "No, you've got to come back tomorrow night," just to do another shot exactly the same, but it had to be perfect. I had to turn around very slowly, and I had to come back the next evening with audiences coming out of the theater and me just turning and looking at McDowell saying, "Try your luck." It was a piece he had to do again, a complete new day just for one shot.