May 21 marks the 35th anniversary of the second "Star Wars" movie, "The Empire Strikes Back." Perpetually curious about the series, The Huffington Post reached out to actor Jeremy Bulloch for stories. Notably, Bulloch played ruthless bounty-hunter Boba Fett and made his iconic debut in this installment of Lucas' original trilogy.
Image Left: "A Fistful of Dollars." Image Right: "Star Wars."
Bulloch said he's a big Western fan, and at the time of shooting he noticed that Clint Eastwood's cloak from "A Fistful of Dollars" looked "exactly like Boba Fett's," especially in color. Watching Eastwood's character go about his motions slowly and carefully, "just waiting and watching," Bulloch thought it was what Fett should mimic. Bulloch said he "didn't make a big thing" of the connection, but kept thinking, "Yes, it is very much like Clint Eastwood."
Similarly, Bulloch thought of the character Citizen Kane when crafting Fett, although he doesn't consider that a direct inspiration. "If you can imagine this in your mind: Citizen Kane and Clint Eastwood [from "A Fistful of Dollars"]. Those were the two characters that I would have [in my mind] doing Boba Fett," Bulloch explained.
Under the mask, he would often talk to himself to get into character, sometimes even saying, "Come on, you're Citizen Kane this morning."
"If I had a bad cold one day, I'd ask Clint Eastwood to stand in for me first, and then Citizen Kane."
The role of Fett was initially offered to Bulloch through his half-brother. At the time, Bulloch was acting in theater and his half-brother was an associate producer on the film. Then his half-brother mentioned that he could set something up if Bulloch wanted a small role. Bulloch initially balked, since he had a previous engagement, but eventually agreed to try out for Fett on the side.
When he first met George Lucas, the creator said, "Welcome aboard," and then explained, "Well, it's not a big role, but welcome."
Luckily, Bulloch's theater obligations didn't overlap and he was able to play Fett -- along with a small role as a character named Lieutenant Sheckil -- through the rest of the shooting.
Image: "Star Wars"
While rehearsing for the iconic carbon-freezing scene, Fett and Darth Vader's boots "clinked," Bulloch "trodded" on Vader's cloak and the villains went straight to the ground. "I think my funny boots with the spikes caused it," said Bulloch.
Bulloch felt as if he had to immediately pull himself together "because it looked ridiculous."
"Two bad guys falling over? We can't have that," Bulloch joked. "I didn't want to look an idiot. I don't mind about Darth Vader."
Although his half-brother helped arrange the possibility of playing Fett, the agreement was nearly sealed by the fact that Bulloch fit exactly into the costume. The boots were size 10 -- and he was a size 10 himself.
"The suit fit perfectly," said Bulloch.
In fact, during the aforementioned interaction with Lucas, Bulloch was already in the suit. He recalls crew members' eyes being particularly drawn to Fett even in this early debut. "There must have been something about the character."
But that doesn't mean that Bulloch's Cinderella moment was seamless ...
Image: "Star Wars"
"Imagine a pair of sunglasses covering the whole of your face, but a deep sort of color," explained Bulloch, who had quite a bit of trouble even successfully walking from place to place while in the suit. "You'd count steps," said Bulloch. "I would go, one, two, three, four and I'd land right in front of Darth Vader, so I know it's four steps. So a lot of the time, you have to count, one, two, three, four and stop, and then I'm about to say a line to Darth Vader. So you rehearse just walking and making sure you don't fall over."
Any sort of talking would cause the mask to mist, which made things even trickier.
The set was also extremely hot while filming -- especially during scenes at Jabba's Palace. Partly due to the lack of vision in the costume and thankfully, considering the heat, Fett stands still and silent in many scenes. "There were times where you would stand still for a long time, but it made the character look good if you didn't move," said Bulloch. "But it was extremely hot. I've never been so hot."
Bulloch's grandchildren have now started to get into the "Star Wars" universe and love that he got to play Fett. But the youngest of his grandchildren once told him, "Granddad, I really like you in the 'Star Wars,' but I prefer Harry Potter." He responded, "Well, thank you very much indeed." The grandchild thought Potter was nicer than Fett.
When asked who Bulloch thought would win in a fight -- Fett or Potter -- Bulloch said, without hesitation, "Boba Fett would blast him out of the sky."
All images from Jeremy Bulloch unless otherwise noted.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that this was the 25th anniversary, while it is actually the 35th.