You'd think the voice behind the galaxy's worst dad would be a little biased when it comes to playing favorites in 'Star Wars.' When Moviefone caught up with James Earl Jones to hear his thoughts on the upcoming 'Star Wars: The Complete Saga' Blu-ray release, however, the acclaimed actor revealed that Darth Vader wasn't Darth Vader's favorite character.
"Chewbacca is my favorite," Jones said by phone to great nods of approval in Moviefone HQ. Read on to find out why Jones thinks Darth Vader has remained such a powerful presence during the last four decades, how his Governors Award acceptance speech is coming along, and what it's like having 'Dr. Strangelove' as his first starring role.
Why do you think the voice of Darth Vader has remained so powerful over the course of 30 years?
Well, a hidden voice, a hidden face creates a lot of mystery. It leaves everything up to the audience's imagination.
I had an unusual experience not too long ago. There was a lady from Finland, a doctor, who had a theater in Washington, D.C. where she put masks on young, impaired children. And there was a narrator, so all the kids had to do was come out and face each other, make certain gestures, and these faces were the only things you would look at. You weren't bothered by their impairment, so it freed your imagination as to who's talking behind that mask. The same thing happens with Darth Vader.
Besides it being scary, perhaps, you're also freed from having to be impressed by what he looks like. Your imagination can go wild.
So is Darth Vader your favorite 'Star Wars' character?
Chewbacca is my favorite.
What a great choice! My co-workers are all nodding their heads in approval.
[Laughs] Oh, really?
So are you excited or nervous for your Governors Award at this year's Oscars?
My wife and I have not stopped cheering with joy yet, so we haven't really had the chance to be nervous. And I also say that the award goes to the whole village because they've done as much for it as I have.
I think you're selling yourself a bit short there.
Well I'm very proud of it.
How's the acceptance speech coming along?
Oh, I hope to say very little. [laughs]
Alright, one more question. What's it like having 'Dr. Strangelove' as your big-screen debut?
Well I think what made it a cult hit was the universities, young people on college campuses, because the military didn't like that movie. It was too much of a put-down and the population was very pro-military then, so nobody said, "Oh, that's my favorite movie." But the young kids did and this was before counter-culture, too.
When your humor has to come out of a dignified officer shooting a Coke machine, I was like, "Come on, are we back in 'Animal House?'" I didn't know whether I wanted to take that seriously or not, but that's a kind of humor that [screenwriter] Terry Southern was into back then. I worked with him on something else later, but I wasn't really sure if I recommended that as a level of sense of humor.
But it wasn't a sense of humor, I guess, it was something else -- a sense of irony, a sense of cynicism, and all that we needed to replace the worship of war. And we still need it, I guess.
So who's the better 'Star Wars' character: Vader or Chewie?
Photo courtesy of Steve Granitz/WireImage.com.