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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 18:16 GMT
Kenny Baker: Inside R2D2
Star Wars
R2D2 (centre) is one of Star Wars' best-loved characters
By BBC News Online's Alex Webb

Kenny Baker is familiar to millions of film-goers who have never seen his face - as robot R2D2, he has appeared in all six Star War films.

He spoke to BBC News Online about his work on the latest Star Wars epic, Episode II: The Attack Of The Clones.

Kenny Baker
Working inside R2D2 can be hot and uncomfortable

Have you finished filming on the new Star Wars movie?

"I finished my part of filming in Ealing in February, but my son, who works there, says they're still filming there now.

"They keep thinking of extra bits to slot in, and it's easy to do with all this digital technology."

Why is a robot like R2D2 so loved by fans?

"The things is, CP30 reckons he's the boss and R2D2 annoys him, because at the end of the day R2D2 knows what he is doing and saves the day.

"George Lucas directs me usually - he just says 'Look this way' or 'Look that way', 'Look excited', 'Wobble slowly', 'Wobble quickly', that kind of thing."

What is the enduring appeal of the Star Wars films themselves?

George Lucas
George Lucas: Detailed directions for R2D2
"Well, I think Lucas has got the Disney touch.

"Certainly in the old days there'd be lots of background stuff going on, all these weird and wonderful creatures in the background while Harrison Ford or Alec Guinness was acting in the foreground.

"That's why you can go and see the films two or there times - to see bits you didn't notice before.

"And the things is nobody really kills anobody else - you don't see any blood, there's no bad language. It's escapism."

Is R2D2 your favourite film role?

"My own favourite role was in The Time Bandits - the director Terry Gilliam's such a nutcase, he's so enthusiastic, you can't help enjoy it.

Kenny Baker
Baker: A long career on the live circuit before going into films
"It was just a fun film to make.

"At the end he said to me, 'How are we going to finish this film? ' and I said 'How do I know? - it's your film'."

You had a long career in live entertainment before moving into films, didn't you?

"I did cabaret in the West End, had a group.

"I did a double act for 30 years with Jack Purvis and when he died I did lots of concerts with Russ Conway, Little and Large, and Bob Monkhouse.

"But then I started with the Star Wars conventions in 1996, and I've done them ever since."

What is next for Star Wars saga, after Episode II: The Attack Of The Clones?

"George has got the movies all roughly mapped out.

"The Attack of Clones comes out next year.

"Then the next film starts filming the year after, and comes out in 2005."

Will Kenny Baker be in it?

"R2D2 will be, but I don't know about me - I could be digitally replaced.

"Digital is cheaper than I am, you see, and I've got a funny feeling I might not be in the next one.

"But the fans wouldn't like that, so with a bit of luck the fans will have some influence on George Lucas."

See also:

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10 Oct 01 | Scotland
McGregor may open Star Wars show
07 Aug 01 | Film
Lucas names fifth Star Wars
05 Jul 01 | Northern Ireland
Honorary degree for Star Wars actor
03 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Satellite TV feels force of Star Wars
14 Jul 99 | Star Wars
The Phantom Menace invades the UK
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