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Transporting Star Wars to Tunisia

_44227560_starwarsr2d2203Over at the BBC, they’ve posted an excellent little slice of Star Wars folk history in their profile of Giles Ingstone, a 57 year old transporter who, 30 years ago, was charged to transport props from the UK to Africa.

The sweltering heat of the Tunisian desert. Malfunctioning R2 units. Tuskan Sand Raiders. Anthony Daniels, wandering around in his skin-tight skein of golden robo-armor in a heat-stroke delirium. Sir Alec Guinness, sitting under an umbrella in an old bathrobe with a flashlight attached to his belt, looking bemused. George Lucas, suffering a nervous breakdown as he filmed the first entry in his magnum opus, Star Wars. And a little nebbish man from Kent in the United Kingdom, charged with transporting Lucas’ weird cadre of aliens and robots around the world.

It’s a fantastic little piece, filled with arcane little details on how Star Wars brutal Tunisian shoot was accomplished by a completely stressed-out staff. According to Ingstone, there’s some veracity to Lucas’ Special Edition methodology: a lot of the stuff they tried to accomplish really couldn’t be done with the technology of the time, especially with the robots, which tended to fritz out and go crazy because of the ubiquitous presence of fine desert sand.

Road trip to the Star Wars galaxy [BBC]

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