Robert Englund — Freddy Krueger himself — is giving a lot of interviews lately for the upcoming 30th anniversary of Nightmare on Elm Street. (Thirty years? And Johnny Depp still looks like this? Man, f*ck my DNA.)
Our favorite revelation from Englund’s interview circuit is the anecdote about the time he helped Mark Hamill land the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. In the mid-’70s, Mark Hamill was still playing teenaged characters. He was also sleeping off a night of drinking on Robert Englund’s couch. As one does.
This particular hangover was perfectly timed. Robert Englund had an audition for a little movie called Apocalypse Now. He didn’t get the surfer role in Apocalypse, but then he was invited to audition for the movie casting in a room across the hallway: Star Wars. Luckiest break ever? Perhaps not, since he didn’t land the role as Han Solo after all (hence the photoshop above).
Englund says George Lucas was, at that time, looking for someone older — like Tom Selleck, can you imagine? — for the role of Han. Even though the auditions were unsuccessful, something good came out of it when Englund returned home and told the passed out dude on his couch about how one of the movies was looking for an adult who could play a teenager. Reports Yahoo:
“And then I went home and told a little kid that was sleeping on my couch, after a six-pack of Heineken, all about [Star Wars], and his name was Mark Hamill,” Englund recalls. “I said, ‘Hey, Lucas is doing this space movie. Maybe you’re right for it. The lead guy’s like a teenager.’ So Mark got on the phone to his agent and I think he went up the next day. He nailed it, and the rest is history.”
Hamill, a relatively unknown TV actor prior to landing what would prove the role of a lifetime, rewarded his good buddy Englund with scoop from the set. “When he got back from Star Wars, I got all the gossip,” the Elm Street vet says. “Not only did he have a huge crush on Carrie Fisher, but I heard all the stories. He knew always that it was going to be this amazing, iconic thing.”
It pays to get drunk and crash on Robert Englund’s couch. I keep trying to explain that, but the judge keeps re-upping the restraining order. Something about “breaking and entering” and “drunk and disorderly” and “why were you wearing a beaver costume”. Whatever, man. I’m gonna be in Star Wars someday.