Mum on new ’Star Wars,’ Carrie Fisher talks about enduring support from fans

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By Adrian Lee - The Canadian Press

TORONTO — It’s been 36 years since “Star Wars” came out, introducing the world to the iconic double-bun hairstyle of Princess Leia — but for Carrie Fisher, now 56, it’s clear that the ardor hasn’t faded.

And it’s on full display at fan conventions — like Toronto’s Fan Expo Canada, which runs from Aug. 22 to 25 — where she’ll occasionally receive the oddest of requests.

“Generally, it’s people having me sign their bodies so that they can have it tattooed,” she marvelled from her home in Los Angeles. “That’s happened a few times now. ... It wasn’t in weird spots, it was just really going to hurt, like on the palm of their hand, or the crook of their arm.”

But while some film icons might project preciousness or archness about being associated with such an important character, Fisher has rather gracefully pursued her own passion projects.

She has settled into a life of scriptwriting, authoring memoirs and the occasional one-woman show; she also speaks out about mental health awareness, a cause close to her heart since she was diagnosed as bipolar when she was 28. Still, she maintains and enjoys her ties to the “Star Wars” world.

“I don’t take any of this very seriously,” she says. “It was a really fun movie to make — not all the time, but it was fun to make, being a girl in an all-boy fantasy. ... People just love it. It’s like a fairy tale, it’s part of their youth, so there’s something really innocent. It’s the best part of people that like it.”

Fame, says Fisher, means nothing.

“It wasn’t like I wanted to be in show business, I always was,” says Fisher, the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and pop singer Eddie Fisher. “I didn’t have any ambition to be in it, so I didn’t have any ambition to be famous; I’d been around it all my life and it was not an exotic thing, and I knew the downsides of it. I wanted to be a writer.”

Recently, “Star Wars” fans have been clamouring for information in the wake of J.J. Abrams’s agreement to direct a proposed “Episode VII,” but they are being rebuffed at every turn.

At a high-profile convention in California over the weekend, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios was booed for not dispensing any details about ’Episode VII’ beyond its release date of summer 2015. And while it has been widely rumoured that she, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford will reprise their iconic roles in the new film, Fisher was tight-lipped, even when pressed for any detail.

“It’s not for me to talk about. I’m someone with a big mouth, and I get in trouble every time I talk about something, so anything to do with this (’Star Wars’) is not my ... thing to discuss,” she says.

She even played it coy as to whether there would be a movie at all.

“If they are doing a new movie, they have a director who’s a terrific director. I think anything that he does should be greatly anticipated, because he’s really creative.”

Fisher will appear for the last three days of Fan Expo Canada.

Organizations: Walt Disney Studios

Geographic location: California, Toronto, Los Angeles

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