MORE often than not the story of an affair lasting only a handful of months between two no-name actors 40 years earlier would remain unremarkable and untold; it would certainly not be material on which to base a potentially best-selling book.
Yet by the time Carrie Fisher rediscovered three diaries kept during the filming of Star Wars in 1976, she and co-star Harrison Ford had become known the world over for their portrayal of two of film’s most iconic characters: Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, a displaced royal rebel fleeing the destruction of her beloved home planet, and Han Solo, a roguish smuggler-pilot turned would-be hero who finds distressed damsel Leia more than capable of saving herself.
Fisher’s notebooks resurfaced early last year, not long after her fourth on-screen incarnation as Princess Leia had premiered. The day had come, she decided, to reveal her short-lived infatuation on a film set far, far away with a then-34-year-old married co-star.
When the cameras started rolling on little-known director-screenwriter George Lucas’s low-budget project near London in 1976, Fisher was aged 19. She was already familiar with showbusiness, however, having grown up as the daughter of one of ‘old Hollywood’s’ most glamorous but ill-fated pairings: entertainers ‘cheating cad’ Eddie Fisher and ‘America’s sweetheart’ Debbie Reynolds.
Her revisiting of her big career break and what followed is wide-reaching, comprising entertaining yet sensitive musings on fame, hairbuns, metallic bikinis, unemployment, aging, relationships and, of course, Ford (a quiet, emotionally distant, stoney-faced man who smiled seldom, Fisher wrote, but always treated her well).
The Force deserted Fisher early last week, leaving this simultaneously hilarious, introspective and thoughtful memoir and one more yet-to-be-released Star Wars sequel as the final chapters of her substantial public legacy. Fisher herself narrated the audio version of Diarist in her distinctively raspy, expressive, at-times cackling voice.