A resurfaced clip from the American Film Institute reveals that “Star Wars” director George Lucas paid actor James Earl Jones only $7,000 to voice Darth Vader in the first-ever “Star Wars” film.
Actor David Prowse — who died in 2020 at age 85 — famously wore the Darth Vader suit in “Star Wars: A New Hope” in 1977, but Lucas did not envision his natural voice for the now-iconic character.
“George wanted, pardon the expression, a dark voice,” Jones said. “So he hires a guy born in Mississippi, raised in Michigan, who stutters. And that’s the voice. That’s me.”
Jones didn’t complain about the paycheck in the interview. In fact, he was geeked about the four figures.
“I lucked out, from all these so-called handicaps, for a job that paid $7,000! I thought that was good money,” Jones told AFI. “And I got to be a voice on a movie!”
Jones also said he and Lucas disagreed on how Darth Vader should sound in the film’s sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Jones wanted to change things up and make Vader’s voice “subtle” and “more psychologically oriented” behind the mask, “but Lucas saw it differently,” according to the 91-year-old actor.
“He said, ‘We don’t know what we did right, so let’s just try what we did … What we’re finding out is you need to keep his voice on a very narrow band of inflection because he ain’t human, really,’” Jones recalled of Lucas, 77.
Jones returned to the franchise decades later to once again loan his voice to “Star Wars: Rogue One.”
Source: Page Six