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Terence Stamp Says Working On 'Phantom Menace' Was "Boring," But He Had A Crush On Natalie Portman

The Playlist By Joe Cunningham | The Playlist January 30, 2013 at 4:58PM

You know how it was no fun to watch those “Star Wars” prequels; it sounds like they were no fun to make either. Well, that’s according to two of the actors who played minor roles in “Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace,” anyway. British comedian, actor and presenter Peter Serafinowicz provided the voice of Darth Maul in Lucas’ first prequel, while Terence Stamp took on the cameo role of Chancellor Valorum, and it sounds like they both had similarly disappointing experiences.
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Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace Terrence Stamp

You know how it was no fun to watch those “Star Wars” prequels; it sounds like they were no fun to make either. Well, that’s according to two of the actors who played minor roles in “Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace,” anyway. British comedian, actor and presenter Peter Serafinowicz provided the voice of Darth Maul in Lucas’ first prequel, while Terence Stamp took on the cameo role of Chancellor Valorum, and it sounds like they both had similarly disappointing experiences.

Stamp recently told Empire (via Den Of Geek) that he hadn’t had the best of times working with George Lucas, stating: “We didn’t get on at all. I didn’t feel he was a director of actors, he was more interested in stuff and effects.” That won’t sound all that surprising to anyone who’s ever watched a film directed by Lucas, so why did Stamp say yes to him in the first place? Well apparently he wanted to meet Natalie Portman, but when he arrived on set the young actress was absent and Stamp had to instead act against a piece of paper stuck on the wall. “It was just pretty boring,” said Stamp…and it certainly sounds it.

Serafinowicz, meanwhile, has gone on record in the past about his brief and awkward meeting with George Lucas in a recording studio, for which he was paid a pittance, before having to pay for his own ticket to the film’s premiere and being bitterly disappointed by what he saw. Serafinowicz himself interviewed Stamp last year while presenting a show on BBC Radio 6 Music and asked him whether he’d had a similarly demoralizing experience, and that interview helps puts Stamp's more recent comments into context.

“I must admit, I had a terrible crush on [Natalie Portman],” Stamp said of why he took the job – who troublingly at the time of filming was around 60 years-old, while Portman would have not yet turned 18. Putting that creepy bit of info to one side, Stamp also spoke of his lousy pay (“2 and 6 and a toffee apple”) and how he was also convinced to take part by the promise that he’d be playing a man who was essentially “the President of the Universe.” Apparently Lucas also gave Stamp a present for coming back for an extra day’s unpaid work to pick up a shot he’d earlier missed…a set of Star Wars stencils. Maybe J.J. can tempt him back for the next trilogy with a set of crayons?

This article is related to: Terence Stamp, Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace, Peter Serafinowicz


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