One evening, while eating dinner, Toni Bestard and Marcos Cabota, two fanatical, Star Wars fans from Spain, who also happen to be filmmakers, formulated a plan. They came to a mutual determination that despite their deep love for everything that pertains to a galaxy far, far, away, something about the third of the original films in the trilogy, “Return of the Jedi,“ directed by Richard Marquand, didn’t sit right with them. They were disappointed that actor David Prowse, whose physically imposing presence was used as the body of iconic villain, Darth Vader (James Earl Jones provided the Sith Lord’s voice), was not used when it came time to take Vader’s helmet and mask off. Instead of seeing Proswe’s face, Marquand opted to use actor Sebastian Shaw (The Spy in Black). The two decided that evening that, for their next project, they would make a documentary about Prowse. A short time later, Bestard and Cabota travelled to London to meet with Prowse. Wanting to turn a slight into a positive, the filmmakers set out to not only make a documentary about the actor, but to get him to agree to reshoot the scene he never got to be in. (As an aside: Prowse won the British heavyweight weightlifting championship for three consecutive years starting in 1962. Additionally, he represented England in weightlifting at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, which were held in Perth, Australia).
At first Prowse was hesitant to take part in the reshoot. He had no interest in catching the ire of Lucasfilm Ltd, or getting Bestard, Cabota, and the crew that worked for them in trouble. The filmmakers assured Prowse that as much as they wanted to, the scene would never be shown to the general public. They let Prowse know that they didn’t have the money to fight Lucasfilm Ltd if, and more than likely when, they would be sued for copyright violation.
One of the more interesting stories, that was discussed from various points-of-view, was that Prowse had allegedly leaked to a journalist at the Daily Mail newspaper in 1977, the then, secret information, that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father. As the film proves, the rumors turned out to be false. The filmmakers went to the original reporter, who stated point blank, that Prowse never said anything to him.
For those unfamiliar with David Prowse, the documentary talks about his other career highlights. In addition to appearing in the three films that comprise the original Star Wars trilogy: Episode IV: A New Hope – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, as of the writing of this post, Prowse has sixty-nine credits to his name. Prowse’s more notable roles include the Hammer horror films “The Horror of Frankenstein” and “Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell.” He worked with BAFTA winning director, Stanley Kubrick in the film “A Clockwork Orange,” as well as having appeared in two episodes of the long running British science-fiction television series “Doctor Who.” Prowse also spent fourteen years portraying a character called the Green Cross Code Man, in a series of road safety informational films produced by the UK Department of the Environment that were shown on television between 1975 and 1990. Additionally, he visited schools as the character, in order to help teach children the importance of road safety. In 2014, Prowse revised his role as the Green Cross Code Man for two short films. This time the safety campaign was aimed at adults, and the dangers of using cell phones and other electronic devices, instead of paying attention to traffic. (As an aside: Prowse originally auditioned for the part of Superman in the 1978 film of the same name, directed by Richard Donner. While he didn’t get the role, he was hired to work as Christopher Reeve’s personal trainer).
“I am Your Father” premiered on October 10, 2015 at the Sitges Film Festival in Spain. Those providing commentary throughout the duration of the film’s 83 minutes includes, amongst others: actor Kenny Baker, who played the beloved droid R2-D2 in the first six “Star Wars” films, as well the Star Wars holiday television special, and also appeared as R2-D2 on “The Muppet Show;” Jeremy Bulloch, who portrayed Boba Fett, the bounty hunting thorn in Harrison Ford’s character Han Solo’s side, until Fett met a very unflattering end; former competitive bodybuilder, and television’s Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno; as well as two time Academy Award nominee, producer and assistant director, Gary Kurtz (Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back). In closing, while those who don’t have an affinity for Star Wars might find some of what is discussed to be of interest, the documentary will appeal particularly to those of you, who can’t get enough of the universe George Lucas created.