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Robert Englund Details How He Helped Mark Hamill Get Star Wars Role

Nightmare on Elm Street’s Robert Englund details the time he told Mark Hamill to audition for the iconic role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.

Freddy Krueger actor Robert Englund details exactly how he helped Mark Hamill score the iconic role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. The first Star Wars film – later retitled to be Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope – was released in 1977 and became one of the first major blockbuster films. Directed by George Lucas, it introduced audiences to the now-iconic characters of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Luke.

Since that first film in 1977, Hamill’s Luke has returned in numerous projects across the franchise. Most recently, he appeared (via some digital de-aging) in the Disney+ series The Book of Boba Fett. It’s impossible to imagine Star Wars without Hamill, and for years now, Englund has shared the story of how he helped make Hamill’s casting possible. The Nightmare on Elm Street and recent Stranger Things star even once said that Hamill’s agent hates that Englund takes all the credit for connecting the actor with Star Wars.


Related: Why Mark Hamill Didn’t Make A Movie For Six Years After Return Of The Jedi

Now, in a recent interview with The Guardian, Englund elaborates on how he aided Hamill’s Star Wars casting. Englund details how, while he was auditioning for Apocalypse Now, a producer told him that they were casting for a Lucas space film across the hall. Englund himself went to audition, but in the end, it would be his good friend who ventured to the galaxy far, far away. Englund recounts the experience below:

“I really wanted to be in Apocalypse Now. I wanted to read for Chef – played by the great Frederic Forrest – but that part had been taken. They heard that I was a surfer, so I read for the surfer, but I think they thought I was too old. As I was leaving, one of the producers told me they were casting across the hall for this George Lucas space movie. George Lucas was my hero, so I thought: “Hell, I’ll go.” At the time, they wanted Han Solo to be played older, like a cool uncle who lets you smoke marijuana at Christmas. They looked at me for five minutes, took a couple of Polaroids; I did not read. That’s all I remember.

“But as I left, I snatched the audition sides [script excerpt] for this much younger character called Luke Skywalker. I went back to my apartment in the Hollywood Hills and my buddy Mark Hamill’s cowboy boots were on my front porch. He was working down the hill at the CBS studios as a very successful television actor. Mark was watching the Bob Newhart or Mary Tyler Moore show. We’d watch together in the afternoon and then call our agents at 5pm to see how our auditions had gone. I remember saying: “Guess what? George Lucas is making this space movie.” We both loved American Graffiti, so Mark called his agent and put her under pressure to get him an audition. It’s a bit like the Tarantino movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I was living at that time with Jan Fischer, who went on to The Lost Boys; our best friend became Luke Skywalker; and I became Freddy Krueger. At the time, we were just three young people living in the Hollywood Hills with big dreams.”

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back

When looking to fill the role of Luke Skywalker – originally named Luke Starkiller at the time – Lucas intentionally sought out younger actors with little experience who could bring sincerity and intelligence to the role. Englund appeared to have a hunch right away that Hamill, even with only a short career of episodic TV appearances, would be perfect for the role. Star Wars was Hamill’s first major movie, thus paving the way for a long and impressive career. It’s no wonder that Englund keeps sharing this story; in a way, he helped make movie history even beyond his performance as Freddy Krueger.

While Englund admits that he was too old for the role of Skywalker, and too young to try for Han Solo, it does seem that through his suggestion, Hamill first learned about Star Wars. Connections have always been important in Hollywood, but it isn’t always about having links to notable directors or producers. Instead, it was because of a suggestion from a close friend in the acting business that Hamill came to hear about Luke Skywalker. It’s interesting to see how a chance encounter and mention could lead to one of the most beloved performances in sci-fi history. Perhaps audiences across the world really do have Freddy Krueger himself to thank for Hamill’s seminal role in Star Wars.

Next: Star Wars Wants To Leave The Skywalker Saga Behind… So Why Isn’t It?

Source: The Guardian

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