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Jeremy Bulloch : RevolutionSF Interview
© Amy H. Sturgis

Trek Expo 2001 in Tulsa, Oklahoma met the challenges of problematic facilities and last-minute cancellations to become a successful three-day affair on June 22-24, 2001. One of the highlights of the event was the opportunity to speak with Jeremy Bulloch, veteran of Robin of Sherwood, Dr. Who, the James Bond franchise, and other genre series, but who remains best loved as Boba Fett from the Star Wars films and novels. Unlike his silent and intimidating alter ego, Bulloch is kind, approachable, and almost uncannily reminiscent of everyone's favorite, handsome uncle, the one who gives the best presents on holidays. He spoke to RevolutionSF about conventions, Star Wars, and his future in science fiction.

Date: June 22, 2001

Amy Sturgis: You've attended many science fiction gatherings around the world: what is your favorite part about being a convention guest?

Jeremy Bulloch: I think it's the different people you meet, both fans and guests. Sometimes you see people you haven't seen for several years; other times you meet actors for the first time. Herbie Jefferson, Jr. of Battlestar Galactica I meet at many other conventions. Today I am sitting near Adam West [JB gestures to his left regarding Adam West of Batman], and to my right is Rick Searfoss, pilot and astronaut. But all actors/guests are the same: they say "How are you?" and "Still living in England?" and "Hello, Jeremy!" The people make conventions such a pleasure.

[JB pauses to take pictures with some young fans.]

AS: How do you feel about the fact that an essentially non-speaking role, that of Boba Fett, has such an immense following? To what do you attribute Boba Fett's ongoing popularity?

JB: I think he had four lines, originally. He had to remain peripheral, in a way, not attracting too much attention to himself. I believe the strength of the character is in the mystery that surrounds him. You don't know who or what is behind what you see. If the actor has a costume like the one for Boba Fett, it can be a great advantage. You can use it. I always thought of him as Clint Eastwood (in A Fistful of Dollars): cool, slow in movement, yet quick when he needs to be.

Take the scene in Jabba the Hutt's palace, for instance. If Boba Fett were doing this [JB darts his head from side to side and shifts with ill-concealed impatience], moving all the time, it weakens the character. Instead, I limited myself to a few movements, like this [JB is still, then slowly cradles an imaginary weapon in the crook of an arm]. I believe in the axiom "less is best." After all, I've got to be there for the next ten hours, so I wouldn't waste my energy. I would be cool, watching everything around me. In this kind of instance, the least you do, the better. Then the costume speaks for itself. I was lucky to have had a good costume.

AS: Do you see yourself in it again? What will the next Star Wars film mean for Boba Fett?

JB: I hear rumors, but really the fans are more knowledgeable about this than me. They come up and ask me questions based on the latest reports, and I have to say, "You know more than I do!" I do understand that we will see Boba Fett again at a much younger age. Some people come up and say they would like me to play Boba Fett again. "After all," they say, "if he's wearing the mask, how will anyone know how old you are?" But I laugh and say, "No, I can't play a boy of ten or twelve!" I look forward to seeing what happens with the character in Episode II.

[JB pauses to speak to fellow convention guest, Robert Leeshock of Earth: Final Conflict.]

AS: You've been in other genre productions such as Dr. Who. What do you think of the differences between Star Wars fans and conventions and those of other series or films?

JB: Ironically, I have never been to a Dr. Who convention, but I attended a convention in Chicago that included Dr. Who. I was there because of my work in Robin of Sherwood. So I spoke to people mostly about Robin of Sherwood. Last year I attended a James Bond convention, even though I only played Q's assistant in two films and spoke two lines -- one of which was just "Commander Bond." All conventions are very enjoyable. The more variety you do, the better.

AS: So what's next for Jeremy Bulloch? Anything in science fiction?

JB: I have agreed to lend my voice to Nature's Guard, an animated series which hopefully will go into production in the near future. The characters are all animals. My voice will be for a character named Longtail.

AS: And what kind of animal is Longtail?

JB: A fox. -- I think. And dressed with all his gear, he does look a bit like Boba Fett!

Then there's going to be another project I am involved with, in fact, I'm going back to film it next week. It's a game for the Internet called Advance Warriors, and my character is Max, who is blind, but he has special powers. It will be a new game played on the Internet. Let's say you are on the Internet, and you enter the game: you can go one route and attack, or you can go another way and retreat. The player chooses what he/she wants to do, there is a lot of martial arts involved, and is similar to Dungeons and Dragons in a way.

I have also just finished three weeks on a soap opera in England. The soap opera is a rather famous one called Crossroads. It was first on television 25 years ago, and it has recently been brought back. I play the part of a businessman called David Wheeler. Many years ago I was in another soap opera called The Newcomers which was on twice a week for three years. I really don't think I could do another stint like that again.

I get offered a lot of science fiction work and there is a new project in the pipeline called Master Race, set in World War II, but that's a little way off yet.

AS: What in your career is most satisfying to you?

JB: To still be working after 44 years in the profession. I am now doing what I want. I love to travel, my wife and I both do, and Star Wars has enabled us to travel all over the world attending conventions The children are grown up and left home. I hope to continue working in film, television and theatre. Now I'm doing what I want to do, and that's rare. And that's why I'm doing this. [JB indicates Trek Expo 2001.]

AS: I must ask one left-field question for Shane Ivey: what is your favorite pudding?

JB: My favorite pudding is good old English apple pie.


Amy H. Sturgis is a contributing writer for RevolutionSF.

 
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