Hey, guys. Quint here to pay tribute to Carrie Fisher. She passed away this morning after suffering a heart attack a few days ago while on an airplane. I'm a bit stunned as I write this, having hoped I got my Christmas wish and she pulled through.
I guess the only place to start is her most famous role. Princess Leia is iconic and not just because of the hair do. If you've seen the audition tapes you'll know that it seemed to be destiny for Carrie to win this role. She brought a toughness to Leia that set her apart from the typical damsel in distress.
People forget that Leia took charge the second she was out of her cell. She didn't just follow Luke and Han around. From the get go she threw shade at both, especially Han, and was always the first to make a decision. Trapped in a hallway? Down the garbage chute, flyboy!
With all due respect to the other talented actresses who auditioned for the part, it's clear from those tapes she was the only one who could sell Lucas' dialogue and take full advantage of the atypical genre female lead role.
One of the reasons Star Wars works is because of Carrie Fisher in that role. Every major (and minor) part is cast perfectly and the movie would not have worked without her in it. And that magic continued with the character through all of the films, even the metal bikini moment, which was something she defended in interviews even when people thought the Jabba sequence devalued both Carrie as an actress and Leia as a character. She maintained, and I quite agree with her, that Leia was never stronger feminist character than she was in Jedi. She might be wearing skimpy clothing, but it wasn't her choice and what does she do with the implements of bondage? She kills her captor, who also happens to be one of the most feared living things in the galaxy, next to daddy dearest, of course.
It's bizarre writing about her work as Leia knowing there's still one more turn as the character waiting for us next December. We don't know what Leia's ultimate arc is, whether it was cut short by her untimely death or if it's fulfilled in Episode VIII. I do like that the implication of The Force Awakens is that Leia never settled back into a quiet life. She kept fighting and was one of first to recognize The First Order as the evil it is and once again became a rebellion leader. That's Fisher, though and through. She never went quietly into the night.
She was always the first to crack wise about her faults and made it her mission to destigmatise mental illness. It helped that she was one of the funniest people to walk the planet, of course, but she went through so much that her no fucks to give attitude was always a welcome breath of fresh air.
Fisher didn't just leave behind a famous character, she also gave us some brilliant writing, the best of which is probably Postcards from the Edge. On top of her novels she also famously script doctored Sister Act, Hook, Lethal Weapon 3 and The Wedding Singer.
Her film work beyond Star Wars is better than she gets credit for, too. My favorite non-Star Wars thing she ever did was her small, but hugely memorable turn in The Blues Brothers.
The machine gun wielding ex-fiancee of Jake Blues is so badass and funny and has such a payoff. Fisher was also great in Joe Dante's under-appreciated THE BURBS, even though it's not one of her more flashy roles.
If you want a flashy role you might not have seen, you should seek out the mega-flop UNDER THE RAINBOW in which she plays a casting director who falls in love with Chevy Chase's Secret Service agent in a hotel being overrun with the little people actors who are working on Wizard of Oz. No shit, this is a real movie!
As far as respectable roles go, we'll skip by Drop Dead Fred (although she's legitimately funny in that movie) and get to When Harry Met Sally. She's great throughout the movie, but that four-way call scene is one of the most delightful moments of the '80s and that's saying something.
She also worked with Woody Allen in Hannah and Her Sisters, Hal Ashby in Shampoo, Michael Hoffman in Soapdish and, more recently, on the very funny Catastrophe with Rob Delaney.
Fisher wasn't just a Princess on screen, she was Hollywood royalty in real life yet didn't let that shape her into an entitled vapid LA person, which could have easily happened considering her wealth, beauty and early success. She always spoke her mind, laid bare embarrassing secrets and was willing to tell just about anybody on God's Green Earth to fuck off if they didn't like it.
There's nobody like Carrie Fisher and her absence is going to hurt for a while. It'll be bittersweet seeing her as Leia one last time in a year, but oddly I find the thought that we have a little bit more of her in the role that made me and just about the whole world fall in love with her in the first place rather comforting. She'd be the first to roll her eyes at this remark, but I can't think of a better thing to say right now than “The Force will be Carrie Fisher. Always.”
My thoughts are will Carrie's friends, family and fans.