In Hollywood, being typecast is the equivalent of wearing the Scarlet Letter. Familiar typecast roles include the nosey neighbor, the annoying co-worker, or the mafia thug. But no one has been a greater typecast victim then former Star Wars actor, Chewbacca.
Since 1983, after Star Wars Return of the Jedi, good roles have been hard to find for the weary wookie.
“L.A. can be a lonely town,” Chewbacca says.
“It was my fear of being typecast, which lead to several auditions for romantic comedies.” Chewbacca admits. “But I guess directors don’t see me as your typical leading man.”
Familiar rejections included; ‘a lack of range’, ‘wrong chemistry with co-star’, and ‘your 9 feet tall’.
Then whenever Chewbacca did land a role, they were always the same; ‘the friendly monster’, ‘the scary monster’, or lifeguard.
Casting agents dismissed his former classical theatre training; which included playing Hamlet at Summer Stock in New England. Then, to make the typecast stigma even worse, Chewbacca was often asked to play HIMSELF. The same problem you see today with Mr. T and Regis Philbin.
In need of cash, Chewbacca resorted to appearing at children’s birthday parties, this due to the Fathers themselves being Star Wars fans. “But when I showed up all the kids would start crying and running away. I mean, can you blame them? Just look at me.” Chewbacca said sadly. “And lets be honest, I was popular over 30 years ago, these kids don’t know Star Wars from Steamboat Willie.”
Finally the lack of work lead to a downward spiral; Drunk at Comic-Con and Star Wars conventions, Red Carpet confrontations with paparazzi, and perhaps worst of all, dating Courtney Love.
After a stint at Horizons rehab center, Chewbacca is convinced he has ‘come out the other side’. “Star Wars was both a blessing and a curse. But it could have been worse; I could have been an Ewok.” Asked if they had suffered greatly since the Star Wars films ended, Chewbacca replied, “No. Ewok’s just suck.”