Do you sense a disturbance in the Force? Maybe that’s because May 25 will be the 40th anniversary of the original release of Star Wars in theaters. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, we’ll be posting Star Wars stories all month, including choice vintage interviews, original videos, and some of our favorite pieces from years past. Just keep coming back here all month to see what’s happening in our galaxy.
Han, do you even lift? When Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford were promoting The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, they sat down for a long interview with Canadian TV journalist Brian Linehan, which included questions about their respective Star Wars workout regimes. As it turns out, Luke Skywalker trained hard to get those Yoda-lifting arms — and Han Solo didn’t lift a finger. Watch the clip above.
“I didn’t have to do anything very strenuous, and besides, I have an almost pathological aversion to exercise for its own sake,” says Ford with a laugh, adding, “I’m not a physical fitness freak, as much as it’s fashionable at the moment.”
Ah, yes, being a “physical fitness freak” was “fashionable” for actors in 1980 — but today it’s pretty much a requirement. Any actor cast as the handsome leading man in a major franchise almost certainly has a personal trainer and a collection of protein smoothie recipes in his back pocket. But on the Star Wars set, the most enviable muscles didn’t belong to either Ford or Hamill (who called weightlifting “a torturous experience”), but to David Prowse, the former bodybuilding champion who occupied the Darth Vader costume. “Dave Prowse has a balcony you could do Shakespeare from. Have you seen those pecs?” Hamill raves in the interview.
As for Ford, he soon caved to his industry’s fitness obsession. For 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which took place chronologically before 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ford obtained his buffer, “younger” body by training with Jake Steinfeld of “Body by Jake” fame.
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