Famed Robot And Ewok Kenny Baker Passes Away At 83

Kenny Baker

Kenny Baker, bottom, with Brian DiMaio, middle, and Peter Mayhew, top, at an event promoting Return of the Jedi. DiMaio was told that his droid character ICUP-3O was going to replace C-3PO in the next Star Wars Episode due in 1986. Suffice to say that many were disappointed.

Lancashire, UK—Kenny Baker, who beep-beep-bopped his way into the hearts of millions of “Star Wars” fans acting inside R2-D2, has died after a long illness. He was 83.

Standing only three feet, eight inches tall, he also played the Ewok Paploo in “Return of the Jedi.”

Besides his very important parts in the first six “Star Wars” films, he also appeared in such films as “Time Bandits,” “Flash Gordon,” “RECOiL” and “Labyrinth.”

On television, Baker appeared in such programs as “Casualty,” “The Muppet Show,” “The Goodies” as well as a BBC production of “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

He was credited as a consultant in the most recent “Star Wars” film, “The Force Awakens.”

So far, no comment has been provided by his “Star Wars” co-star and well-known douche bag Anthony Daniels.

He is survived by two children.

“It Kind Of Encapsulated All Of My Interests And Kinda Blew My Young Mind:” A TDQ Q&A With Writer/Director Jay Weisman

Shockwave Darkside

Shockwave Darkside, written and directed by Jay Weisman combines the mystery of space, along with all the feelings of camaraderie and adrenaline brought about by just war against a common foe all wrapped in a video game cut scene like presentation that makes the viewer eagerly waiting for their turn to join in. That was my take, anyway.

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with writer and director Jay Weisman. Jay spoke to us about his latest film, “Shockwave Darkside,” the difference between directing movies and TV and how he stays grounded. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A With Jay Weisman:

The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?

Jay Weisman: I come from a long line of storytellers. My dad is quite the raconteur and so was my grandfather – who acted in Yiddish theater when he came to this country – so on one hand, it was a natural interest. On the other, I was always into space travel and technology – so those passions kinda merged into wanting to be a filmmaker, I guess. Specifically being a science-fiction filmmaker because I figured if I couldn’t have NASA send me to the moon, I could do the next best thing and just get a set together and put myself there!

TDQ: Who was your favorite director growing up?

JW: I guess it depends at what point in my life you asked me! I had a really great film education growing up, so I went through my Lucas and Spielberg phase, then Coppola and Kubrick and then I started learning about some of the great directors of the 30s and 40s like Michael Curtiz and Howard Hawks.

Then there were directors like James Cameron, David Lean and Ridley Scott who also had a huge influence on me. I’d have the equivalent of director mix tapes where I’d binge-watch seminal movies from their body of work and try and see how their style developed, what where their recurring themes and how they grew in ability.

Shockwave Darkside

Jay Weisman’s take on war in the stars is probably exactly what it will be like in the inevitable future.

TDQ: What was your favorite movie growing up?

JW: “Star Wars” – the original. Hands down! That movie had such an impact because it kind of encapsulated all of my interests and kinda blew my young mind. There were so many ground-breaking things in that movie – but it also was the first time I could look at something that I might be able to do someday. It’s like a first love.

TDQ: What was your favorite TV show growing up?

JW: Classic “Star Trek” and “Twilight Zone.” It’s interesting – the older I got, the more I realized that these shows had a real depth to them. So when I was younger, I’d tune into all the space battles and Captain Kirk derring-do of “Star Trek,” and twist endings of the “Twilight Zone” – but as I got older, it would start occurring to me that these stories were actually about so much more than seemingly what was presented on the screen. That, to me, is really the power of science fiction.

And if you see “Shockwave Darkside,” you can definitely see those influences in the film. I think those shows managed to become really great cautionary tales about our flirtation and adolescence with technology – and through that they could comment on things like religion, politics, civil rights and science in a way that was pretty innovative.

My dad was a also a huge fan of both of these shows, so I that was really our thing as I was growing up. Some fathers and sons have baseball, and we had Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry.
Continue reading

“Booking A Role Is Icing On The Cake:” A TDQ Q&A With Actor Bobby Batson

Bobby Batson

Bobby Batson on the red carpet talking about 90 Minutes in Heaven.

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with young up and coming actor Bobby Batson. Bobby spoke to us about what he learned from Anakin Skywalker himself, his role in “90 Minutes in Heaven” and how great his dad is. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Bobby Batson: 

The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?

Bobby Batson: I saw my sister Maggie acting and it inspired me to try it. I fell in love with it at my first audition. I love getting new auditions from my agents and working with my coaches on the auditions. Booking a role is icing on the cake.

TDQ: What’s your favorite movie and TV show?

BB: I love “The Avengers Age of Ultron.” “If you get hurt, hurt them back. If you die, walk it off.” “Wild Kratts” is my favorite TV show. I love to learn about animals.

TDQ: What’s the best advice you’ve gotten?

BB: Stay strong and positive. I’m always strong and positive. For acting, I was told to act natural. When I am acting, I try to be the character. I try to act like the character would naturally act.

TDQ: What’s the worst advice you’ve gotten? 

BB: I don’t know of any bad advice I’ve gotten yet. I hope I don’t.

Bobby Batson

Bobby Batson with Hayden Christensen. They both appear in 90 Minutes of Heaven where we are pretty sure there a scene where Hayden’s character Don tell Bobby’s character Joe, “I am your father!” But, we might have imagined that.

TDQ: Who are your influences?

BB: Hayden Christensen is one of my influences. He has been acting since he was a kid like me and has been in some awesome movies! He is really kind too. My dad is the biggest influence! He works very hard for our family and always does the right thing. He was in the war and helped lots of people. He is so strong! His muscles are very big.

TDQ: What can you tell us about your character in “90 Minutes in Heaven?”

BB: I play Joe Piper. Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth play my parents. Joe is a good boy who tries to make his dad and family feel better through a very hard time. I make jokes and get to act silly in some parts of the movie but have to act sad in other parts.

TDQ: What was your experience like working with Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth? (And the next time you see Hayden, please tell him I LOVED “Shattered Glass.”)

BB: It was so much fun working with both of them. I will tell Hayden! He is such a nice man. He had a lot of patience answering my questions about “Star Wars” and all the stuff he had on him during “90 Minutes in Heaven.” He even gave me an action figure of Anakin Skywalker and signed it, “To Bobby- Awesome working together! Your pal, Hayden.” Kate is so pretty, and one of the nicest people in the whole world. She and Michael (Michael Polish is the director and Kate’s husband) brought cupcakes for everyone for Valentine’s Day. I think that makes me her Valentine.

TDQ: Did you talk to Hayden about him being in “Star Wars” and Kate playing Lois Lane?

BB: Yes. I asked him about how they did the scenes when they cut off his hand. He said he put a pouch on his hand that he could just slip on and off easily. It was really cool to talk to him about it. He said it was really fun to play Anakin Skywalker. I didn’t talk to Kate about Lois Lane. I will the next time I see her and let you know.

TDQ: What project are you working on right now?

BB: Right now I am auditioning for different roles. I hope I book something soon. I have been having callbacks and even put on hold but not book yet. I am playing football. I am very good at tackling.

TDQ: Where do you see yourself in five years?

BB: I will be a lead in a BIG movie or maybe a regular on a TV show. That is my dream. I will also be playing football, basketball and baseball.

Check out and “Like” Bobby’s Facebook page. And follow him on Twitter.

Seven Fun Facts About George Lucas

Love him or hate him, George Lucas‘ place in cinema history certainly can’t be overstated. But think you know everything there is to know about the man behind “Willow?” Then test your knowledge about the filmmaker by reading these seven little-known facts about him:

Frasier

Lucas in a screen test for the Frasier pilot.

1) Lucas was hired as the original actor for Roz on “Frasier.”
During the first few days of rehearsals for the pilot episode, however, the writers found themselves having to re-write the characters of Roz and Frasier. It seemed that while Lucas was funny, he just couldn’t play “forceful.” It soon became apparent that that the role of Roz would have to fall to someone who, although less educated than Dr. Crane, would be in control of things at the radio station. They needed a character who could hold her own whenever Frasier became too pompous, and that someone was Peri Gilpin.

Al Gore

Al Gore helps college roommate George Lucas with a short film.

2) During his college years, one of his roommates was Al Gore.
The two shared a room at USC and, like plenty of college roomies, chased skirts together, even joining a country music band to get girls. The unlikely duo also served as the inspiration for the character of Oliver in Love Story, written by fellow USC alum Erich Segal.

3) The character of George Costanza on “Seinfeld” was based on him.
Both Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David were huge fans of his, and cite “THX 1138” as their favorite film of all time. As an homage to their idol, they named Jason Alexander’s character after him, and made him neurotic and cheap, just like Lucas himself.

Indiana Jones

Lucas insisted on re-filming scenes of Indiana Jones with actor Harrison Ford wearing the mask.

4) He originally envisioned Indiana Jones as a hockey mask-wearing serial killer.
Lucas wanted the serial killer to find himself searching for the Ark of the Covenant at the same time he was carving up Nazis and summer campers alike, but the script underwent several re-writes when Steven Speilberg joined in the fun, and Lucas never got to see his creation wield a machete like he’d hoped.

Whiffle Ball

George Lucas and Alec Guiness on the set of Star Wars always at the ready to play some whiffle ball.

5) He actually went to high school with a dude named Boba Fett.
At their 30th reunion, Lucas learned that his former pal had become an actuary for a Nevada insurance company.

6) Lucas is a world-class Wiffle Ball player.
He would often delay filming on “Star Wars” while he and Alec Guinness had home run derbies.

Camaro

The cost for Lucas to reclaim his Camaro? A re-cut version of Episodes I to III that is enjoyable to watch.

7) In 1993, he was reunited with his old car that he sold to finance “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Lucas sold his Bumblebee-striped black-and-gold 1971½ Chevy Camaro Z28 in 1978 after he needed some quick cash to fund the sequel to “Star Wars,” but got it back 15 years later after a lengthy internet search. Continue reading

FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston Very Familiar With Being Places He Doesn’t Belong

Victoria Secret Fashion ShowTallahassee, FL—When word broke last weekend that crab leg-stealing Heisman Trophy-winning Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston mysteriously found his way onto the playing field despite being suspended for the entire game against Clemson University for jumping up on a table in the student union at FSU and yelling an obscenity, it should really have come as no surprise.

Because that’s not the first time Winston has somehow found himself somewhere he didn’t belong, as all of the photos in this article will document.

Area 51Just last winter, Winston was seen backstage at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show in New York City. He did not face any disciplinary sanctions from Florida State and no charges were filed because none of the models would cooperate with police, as they “weren’t good looking enough like the hot ones on TV,” according to various Victoria’s Secret sources.

Alex Del PilarAnd several photos of Winston seemingly walking aimlessly and without care around Area 51 have been floating around the internet for several months.

We’ve also received word that Jameis Winston has been seen out on dinner dates with Manti Te’o’s ex-girlfriend on several occasions. Neither Te’o or his ex-girlfriend could be reached for comment. She clearly has a type, though.

Situation RoomPerhaps the most troublesome areas that Winston has somehow been able to find himself in have been inside the White House Situation Room, and at Camp David. It’s unclear if any of his teammates had joined him in either of these locales, as only Winston himself has been photographed there.

Camp DavidAnd we’ll be damned if he didn’t somehow find himself on the moon during Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk. The young man’s tenacious, there’s no denying that.

And if that jaunt into space wasn’t enough, Winston also somehow was on the set of the latest Star Wars film, and can be seen in the background when Harrison Ford injured himself earlier this year.

MoonWe’d say you should keep an eye on Winston as he finishes out his sophomore year at FSU, but with the way he finds himself in front of the camera so often, it’s really more difficult to not focus on him. Just ask the security officers at Publix.Star Wars SetPublix