So, recently, there was a tiny little acquisition of a world famous company (Lucasfilm) by another, larger world famous company (The Walt Disney Company). Some thought this was a horrible thing, but I for one am seeing a lot of silver linings here.
This blog isn't meant to debate the merits of the acquisition itself, but instead, I want to talk about a unique opportunity.
You see, with this new acquisition, Disney has announced that they are moving quickly to start production on a new series of Star Wars films. While these films will likely feature few of the characters from the original films, some may make brief appearances. Those "alumni" characters would probably be ones that survived the original films, but I'm hoping that one character gets a little bit of a resurrection.
I want to talk about a campaign; a campaign that I'm about to start running; a race to be the next "Man in the Suit".
I'm talking about ZEHNER for VADER: 2015.
So here's the deal: a long time ago, in Illinois (you see what I did there?) I grew up watching Star Wars obsessively. I knew all the characters, had all the figures and just loved every ounce of it. I also grew... up... a lot! I'm not talking about maturing, I'm talking about Jack-planting-some-magic-beans growing. By the time I left middle school I was around 5'10". I started high school at 6'2" and when I graduated, I was a blistering 6'8". Thankfully that's where I stopped. I was a bit of a string bean then, still growing into my height. I've filled out now and look a little more like a regular person... albeit, one who's been scaled up by some sort of Wonka-Real-Life-Photoshop machine. This will be relevant later, I promise...
Where am I going with all of this? Well, growing up I was so fascinated with HOW they made the Star Wars films (and other special effects for cinema) that I decided I wanted to work for Lucas at his Industrial Light and Magic. For a lot of geeks my age, who didn't? I followed a path in life that I thought would get me there... sadly it wasn't meant to be. Along the way there was another place that I started to fancy. It was a very roundabout process and it took me a few years longer than I care to admit, but I finally got into the company that realized I really wanted to work for: Pixar.
Now, I never graduated to the level of geekdom where I started making my own costumes or attending San Diego Comicon every year, but I've arrived at very interesting crossroads. I work for a company that is a child, so to speak, of the larger Walt Disney company, which happily now owns Lucasfilm and all of its assets. This would make Pixar something of a corporate cousin to Lucasfilm (ironically, Pixar started as a research division at Lucasfilm and was later sold off to Steve Jobs, then grown into one of, if not the most, successful film studio in history).
Never in my life have I been in a position closer to being a part of Star Wars than I am in this moment now. I still have a long way to go, but if I can rally up enough support, and get the ears of the right people, I think I have a pretty good chance of filling the shoes (or more aptly, the helmet) of the one and only Darth Vader. The original actor to play Vader was David Prowse, a staple of Hammer horror films and a former body builder, he stands exactly 6'8". He and I would see eye to eye.
To be clear, I'm not really interested in pursuing a career in acting. I actually really like my job and where I work. I honestly don't even know if there are plans for Vader to make an appearance in the new films (after all, he did die, sacrificing himself to save his son in the last film). All I know is, if he DOES show up, I want to be under that helmet.
Here's my crude, initial plan: you all can read this, and if you know of anyone close to the production, you can point them my way. That's it. Brilliant, right?
In the meantime though, I actually want to go through the geek right of passage and make a Vader costume, from scratch, for myself. I might buy a good official helmet, but otherwise, I want to craft each piece like they would have done for the original films. Then, when I get a few shots of myself looking impeccably awesome as one of cinemas most iconic villains, maybe I'll get the gig.
And if this picks up enough steam, maybe I'll do something fun, like make some bumper stickers with the Zehner for Vader tag line... I'm open to design ideas!
Thanks for reading and I hope to update this fairly regularly with news of progress on either the campaign or the costume.
Wish me luck!