Here’s why Alec Guinness hated his experience filming A New Hope. Back when George Lucas was first creating the now iconic franchise, no one knew what it would become. But, the movie took the world by storm and introduced everyone to the galaxy far, far away. In doing so, Star Wars launched the acting careers of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford.
Amid this cast of newcomers though was Alec Guinness as the wise old Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi. He helped bring some early legitimacy to the project thanks to his extensive and acclaimed filmography. By this point in Guinness’ career, he had already won an Academy Award for his performance in The Bridge on the River Kwai, was nominated for his work in The Lavender Hill Mob, and even received a nomination as a writer on The Horse’s Mouth. He also was featured in a major role in Lawrence of Arabia. In many ways, his presence in the film helped bring a sense of believability to this new mythology Lucas created – but Guinness was not a fan.
Guinness made for a great Obi-Wan in the original trilogy but did not enjoy his experience with A New Hope. He only took the role after his higher salary demands were met. But, his doubled pay did not keep him happy throughout the production process. As discussed in the latest Screen Rant video, Guinness hated working on the film and his chief complaint was Lucas’ dialogue. He said in a since published letter that the writing was “rubbish” and was not pleased that “none of it makes my character clear or even bearable.” He is hardly the only actor to not like the movie he worked on though, so check out the video for more such examples.
Although Guinness’ top complaint about A New Hope was the constantly rewritten dialogue, there were other issues he had with the production. He lamented the conditions of filming in another letter, saying that the shoot was “tedious to a degree – hot, boring and indecisive.” Guinness also struggled to connect with his much younger co-stars. Despite all of his dissatisfaction for A New Hope, Guinness did not let any of it stop him from putting his best foot forward. He was rewarded in 1978 with another Academy Award nomination, this time for playing Obi-Wan – rubbish dialogue and all.
While Guinness may have helped make Lucas’ dialogue work, his complaint about the quality of it has been shared by other actors in the franchise. It’s also no secret that dialogue is not Lucas’ strong suit. He’s proven to be an exceptional storyteller with a vision for the big picture and pushing the limits of technology, but he’s just not as great with the dialogue. While Lucas wrote Star Wars: A New Hope all on his own, Lawrence Kasdan was brought aboard to help fine-tune the sequels with Lucas passing directing duties to others. So, hopefully Guinness was happier with the dialogue he received in his future appearances.