The recent installment of the Letters Live series kicked off this past weekend on March 10 and will run through March 15 at Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden, London.
The event has been happening since 2013, with celebrities reading off letters written by historical figures. Benedict Cumberbatch has been a regular contributor over the years and didn’t miss out this year, reading a letter from Mark Twain to Walt Whitman.
Benedict’s wife Sophie Hunter performed at the event, along with Sir Ian McKellen, Carey Mulligan, and Jude Law.
But it was Oscar Isaac whose surprise letter reading on Sunday stood out from the pack. Isaac, who portrayed pilot Poe Dameron in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, read a letter from Sir Alec Guinness, talking about his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the 1977 Star Wars original, reports BBC News.
Let’s just preface it by saying the letter wasn’t that nice.
If you’re a huge Obi-Wan Kenobi fan, and you don’t want your bubble burst, please turn back now.
If you can separate fact from fiction, here’s a bit of the content from Guinness’ letter to his friend Anne Kaufman.
Isaac promised the audience not to try to do a British accent. He read from Guinness’ letter, which revealed some of the actor’s frustrations while filming.
Guinness wrote, “Can’t say I’m enjoying the film, new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper, and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable.”
He went on to write about his coworkers at the time, saying, “Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can’t be right) Ford – Ellison (? – No!) – well, a rangy, languid young man who is probably intelligent and amusing.”
Of course, he’s referring to Harrison Ford.
It sounds like he felt a little out of place, continuing on, “But Oh, God, God, they make me feel 90 and treat me as if I was 106.”
This letter was written prior to Star Wars‘ release, and in his defense, possibly Guinness needed to see the film all put together in one place.
Guinness repeats some of the above sentiments in the below 1977 interview. But, hey, he’s not two-faced. He basically says the dialogue wasn’t for him at first, but he couldn’t stop turning the pages of the script sent to him. For anyone who may be irked by the above letter, Guinness speaks affectionately about the role and the movie as a whole in this 1977 interview below:
Guinness went on to star in the TV miniseries Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 1979. And he returned to reprise his role as Obi-Wan in the 1980 and 1983 Star Wars sequels. He passed away in 2000 at the age of 86.
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