Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Puppeteer recalls day his name was misspelled on Star Wars film credits
STAR Wars made Harrison Ford one of Hollywood’s most famous actors but it left one Oxford puppeteer behind.
In 1982 Hugh Spight spent six weeks at Elstree Studios filming with the star in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
But he believes his chance at fame was shot down when his name was misspelled during the credits, renaming him Hugh Spirit. He said: “I don’t know how it happened, its a bit of a mystery. I was a bit gutted really.
We were in the cinema with everybody that I knew, and I saw it come up and just thought ‘Oh no!’.”
Mr Spight, 67, played several small background roles in the film – a pig-like Gamorian guard, a Mon Calamari fish creature and an Elom monster.
Originally trained in ballet dancing, Mr Spight made it on to the Star Wars set after he was spotted next door on the set of Muppet-creator Jim Henson’s movie The Dark Crystal.
Mr Spight, who has lived in Oxford for the last seven years, said: “I had already been in the Star Wars studios for months and months with Dark Crystal.
“We’d looked at each other’s sets and works.
“At the end of Dark Crystal filming they asked a couple of us if we would look at coming on their set, so a few of us did. I was just in the right place at the right time and with the right skills.”
Mr Spight’s biggest role is as the Gamorian guard who escorts Mr Ford’s character Han Solo into captivity.
He said: “We were on Jabba the Hutt’s barge and in those scenes I was the one who had my hand on the shoulder of Harrison Ford.
“We had to take him down to the dungeon.
“Harrison Ford didn’t communicate a lot about anything other than what he wanted us to do in response to his actions. He directed his scenes and you just had to do it.”
He said: “For that character I had an image of John Wayne in my mind because it was such a big costume and you’ve got to move accordingly.
“It was the same type of swagger, a very full-bodied movement.
“It wasn’t hard work really, but in the costumes it’s very tricky to move because they’re so big. I nearly fell down the stairs.”
Now, more than 30 years after the film was released, Star Wars fans have tracked Mr Spight down. He said: “A couple of weeks ago somebody who organised signings contacted me and said they’d worked it out online. Apparently hundreds of people would want to get my signature.”
Mr Spight is tentatively taking his first steps into fame, adding: “I don’t want to be ripped off, but I’ll do a limited number of signatures. It might be nice.”
- Our top stories:
4:40pm Monday 28th July 2014
TRAFFIC is starting to build up back on to the A34 because of the new contraflow on the Southern Bypass because of the Kennington roundabout work.
9:20am Monday 28th July 2014
Matt French admitted he had been unlucky to secure only a silver medal at Glasgow 2014.
Watch: Didcot's tumbling towers - A dawn chorus of excitement as Didcot's skyline changes forever + video
9:00am Monday 28th July 2014
FIFTY years of history – gone in 15 seconds. Despite Didcot’s sadness at seeing its cooling towers sink to the ground, there was applause and cheering when the moment arrived.
8:00am Monday 28th July 2014
OPPONENTS of Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza strip took to the streets of Oxford in support of victims of the conflict.
8:00am Monday 28th July 2014
A FOUR-year-old will take on a triathlon to raise money for the hospital ward that saved his life.
7:49am Monday 28th July 2014
A SILVER car mounted the pavement and hit a man in Blackbird Leys after he had been arguing with a woman, police have said.
Comments are closed on this article.