Thursday, December 31, 2009

'Then I'll See You in Hell!'

I've always thought this is the randomest line in the Empire Strikes Back. I had a Robot Chicken/Family Guy moment where I envisioned George Lucas yelling "Cut!" after that and lecturing Harrison Ford about the absence of an afterlife in the Star Wars universe. Then it snowballed... *Thx, Rolando, for the Lucas correction*

INTERIOR: FINSE, NORWAY -- SOUND STAGE

It's the set of Star Wars Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. We join the cast and crew in Finse, Norway, the setting for the imaginary ice planet of Hoth where the Rebel Alliance has set up their base.

DECK OFFICER
Sir, Commander Skywalker hasn't come in through the south entrance. He might have forgotten to check in.

HAN SOLO
Not likely. Are the speeders ready?

DECK OFFICER
Not yet. We're having some trouble adapting them to the cold.

HAN SOLO
Then we'll have to go out on Tauntauns.

DECK OFFICER
Sir, the temperature's dropping too rapidly.

HAN SOLO
That's right. And my friend's out in it.

ASSISTANT OFFICER
I'll cover sector twelve. Have com-control set screen alpha.

Han pushes through the troops and mounts a Tauntaun.

DECK OFFICER
Your Tauntaun'll freeze before you reach the first marker.

HAN SOLO
Then I'll see you in hell!

Pan to GEORGE LUCAS in his executive producer's chair. He puts his head in his hands and shakes his head while groaning.

GEORGE
Cut! Cut! Take five, everybody.

The crew gratefully shuffles off to get coffee while there's a break to be had. GEORGE signals to HARRISON FORD that he wants to have a conversation.

GEORGE
Harrison, c'mere.

HARRISON cocks an eyebrow and flashes a smirk as if to say "who, me?" and jogs over.

HARRISON
What's up, your Worshipfulness?

GEORGE
Harrison, we've been over this time and time again. I know you like to improvise when you're in the moment, but you have got to stick to the script.

HARRISON
It's not my fault! Search your feelings--you know it was the right thing to say.

GEORGE
Yeah, OK, it has some aesthetic appeal. But, look. In this galaxy, in this time, there's no universal concept of heaven and hell. There's no mention of the afterlife at all.

HARRISON
Sure, sure. Obi-Wan just (makes air quote gesture) 'becomes one with the Force' instead of dying and blahblah.

GEORGE
You don't believe in the script, do you?

HARRISON
Look, if you're asking me as a friend, I'll answer as a friend. I think it's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.

GEORGE
Harrison, I need you to set a good example for the others here. We'll keep the line, OK?
(moves in closer to whisper)
You're the best actor here.

HARRISON
I know.

GEORGE
We all know it. Now, you're free to use any acting methods necessary, but no improvisations. Alright?

HARRISON
(shrugs playfully)
Hey, it's me.
(chuckle)

GEORGE turns away to speak with the nearby Director of Photography PETER SUSCHITZKY who hands GEORGE a cup of coffee and sips from his own.

PETER
(nods toward HARRISON)
Actors. Rather touchy, aren't they?

CARRIE FISHER strides by in time to hear HARRISON laughing.

CARRIE
(mutters)
Laugh it up, fuzzball.

HARRISON overhears the snide remark and calls after her.

HARRISON
Watch your mouth, your Highness, or you're going to find yourself walking home tonight.

CARRIE
I happen to like nice men, Harrison.

HARRISON
Well, lucky for me I happen to be a scoundrel, isn't that right?

MARK HAMILL, monitoring the conversation from close by, chimes in.

MARK
In my experience, there's no such thing as luck...

HARRISON
(starts to move towards MARK)
Why, you stuck-up, half-witted-

CARRIE
(to MARK)
Shut up!

MARK
No, I will not be quiet, Carrie!

GEORGE hears the raised voices and turns back to his three movie stars.

GEORGE
What happened?

The actors pause and glance at one another.

HARRISON
Don't worry, everything is under control.

LUKE
Yeah, situation normal.

CARRIE
Boring conversation anyway.

CARRIE continues her walk and moves away, trying to keep warm on the cold set.

HARRISON
(mutters)
I'm gonna kill her...

MARK
(mutters)
I'm beginning to like her...

GEORGE
(to himself)
No movie rights and merchandise revenue is worth this.