THR spoke with Laurie Goode, the man who hilariously banged his head whilst rushing through a door during a scene in the original 1977 Star Wars film. The actor, who was only 31 during production, explains just what happened on the day that one of the most famous bloopers in Star Wars history took place. Read on for more!
“I couldn’t concentrate, I was shuffling along and I hit my head. No one said ‘Cut’, so I’m thinking to myself I’m not in shot and when it came out, I thought, ‘That’s me!'”
One of the greatest mistakes in the original 1977 Star Wars film is a funny blooper that involves a clumsy Imperial Stormtrooper. This blooper took place when a group of Stormtroopers rush through a doorway on the Death Star somewhere near the middle of the film. During the rush, one of the troopers accidentally bumps his head on a blast door as he enters a room while searching for the droids C-3PO and R2-D2. The moment was so hilarious that even sound designer Ben Burtt later chose to turn it “comic” by adding a clunking sound effect as the helmet hit the door frame.
Recently, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with actor Laurie Goode, the Stormtrooper who claims responsibility for the infamous act. He says that the scene was shot on the second day of filming when he was suffering from an “upset stomach”, and is positively sure that he is the trooper who commits the blooper.
The Hollywood Reporter: How did you come to be cast in A New Hope?
Laurie Goode: It was a last-minute casting for me. I received a phone call from my agent, who asked me for my measurement details. Having told her, I was then asked if I would be free to replace fellow actor Peter Dukes on something called Star Wars, as Peter had phoned in sick.
THR: What happened that day when you hit your head?
LG: On the second day of filming, I developed an upset stomach. By midmorning I had paid three to four visits to the loo/bathroom. Having re-dressed myself and returned to the set, I felt the need to rush back to the gents’ toilets, but I was placed in [the] shot. On about the fourth take, as I shuffled along, I felt my stomach rumbling, and “bang,” I hit my head! As I wasn’t moving too fast, it was more of a scuffed bash, so it didn’t hurt, but as no one shouted “cut,” I thought the shot wasn’t wide enough for me to be in frame.
THR: Which take was that? How many takes did you do of that scene?
LG: I remember after the first two takes, we were told to hold our guns in our left hands as opposed to our right. So I believe the head bang happened on the fourth take — whatever number of takes we did, the head bang happened on the last take. When it first happened, that day I told my fellow actor on the film, Mark Kirby, that I hit my head, but we didn’t go for another take.
THR: What did you think when you first saw the picture in the theater and realized they used that take?
LG: Believing I probably wasn’t in frame, I expected it to end up on the cutting-room floor. But when I did see it in the cinema, I thought: “OMG, that’s me!” I’ve been telling people the story ever since it occurred. In fact, the blooper once landed a small role in a Star Wars-themed pop promo in 1999. The act was called The Indian Rope Man, who performed “Sunshine of Your Love.” You can see a fleeting shot of the milkman entering through a doorway, banging his head.
THR: It is from an accident, but how does it feel to be a part of the Star Wars lore?
LG: The first convention I attended, I think in 2006, I told one of the organizers that I was the Stormtrooper who banged his head, thinking he would say: “Great — that’s fantastic!” But he just shrugged his shoulders and told me he had heard that from so many others, adding [that] everyone was banging their heads! So, as I had no way of proving it, I thought I’d better keep quiet about it. As time marched on, people started telling me that [the late] Michael Leader was claiming the Stormtrooper blooper. So it left thinking, “How can he prove it?” That’s when I decided to speak up. I hear Michael has started to state a similar story. So after a while, and feeling rather peeved, I decided to write a song about the subject.
It’s now out on iTunes, also on YouTube. It’s called, obviously: “Who Was the Stormtrooper Who Banged His Head?”
Goode actually went on to play a number of other minor parts in the original Star Wars film that included the alien Saurin, and a pilot of an X-Wing fighter.
Another man who claimed to be the clumsy Stormtrooper was British actor Michael Leader, who passed away a few years back. Leader spoke some about his own recollections in an interview with ConGuests back in 2010.
“Many years ago I was a Stormtrooper on Star Wars and made my name because I was the one who banged his head and [it] was voted the biggest movie blunder ever. But what I remember was I loved working on the film. The only trouble was that when we had the breaks we had to stand up…”
Anyhow, here’s the infamous Stormtrooper ‘Star Wars’ blooper scene:
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May the force be with you….