By Erin Free

When FilmInk received its email back in 2013 confirming our interview with Mark Hamill to tie in with the release of the darkly entertaining indie thriller, Sushi Girl, rumours had just started to swirl about the new trilogy of Star Wars movies that eventually kicked off with 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VI – The Force Awakens. Everybody was talking about it, but unfortunately, the email featured some bad news in very obvious black-and-white: “No Star Wars questions, please.”

Then, when we were eventually patched through to Hamill’s manager, he gave us a second warning not to venture into that cinematic galaxy far, far away. As always, FilmInk was on its best behaviour, and we courteously abided by the rules…but more about Star Wars later. Happily, the film that we were talking to Mark Hamill about was a very tasty little number called Sushi Girl, the violent, darkly funny tale of a group of criminals playing a torturous game of intellectual cat-and-mouse six years after a jewel heist. Hamill steals the show as Crow, a campy, disheveled sadist who’s somewhat akin to Truman Capote on crack. Complete with blonde hair extensions, glasses, rumpled posture, and a general air of derangement, Hamill is literally unrecognisable in the role.

Mark Hamill in Sushi Girl.

“You should look at this guy, and know right away that he’s not put together properly, so I wanted to do something extreme with the look,” said Mark Hamill, a truly sweet and enthusiastic interview subject of the first order. The actor’s initial idea of going bald with a goatee was nixed because it would be too similar to the iconic look of Tony Todd (Candy Man) as the gang’s leader, so Hamill decided to go in the opposite direction. “There’s something wrong with someone of his age having a haircut that would work for someone in a rock band in their twenties, or a surfer in their teens,” Hamill laughed. “That was 28 extensions, by the way, and I have a new respect for people who do this, because it’s really uncomfortable, and it’s hard to sleep. Also, Crow looks alright in the suit that he’s wearing, but then you look at his feet, and again, he’s wearing these tennis shoes that would suit someone who’s twelve-years-old. I liked that.”

Though most famous, of course, for playing the heroic Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, Hamill has had a long and wildly divergent career, with lots of theatre work, supporting character roles, and very popular animation voice work, including his highly praised performances as The Joker in various DC productions. Playing a sicko like Crow gave the actor a perverse charge. “It’s really liberating to look in the mirror and see a completely different person,” he said. “Then you’re free to do what you want to do. Crow is a massive contradiction. He’s a brutal sadist, but then he’s so cowardly. He’s a moaner, a complainer…you’d call him a whinger in your country! He has no empathy for anyone, but he probably cries at Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. It’s hard to use method acting with things that would never occur to you in real life. But there are people that I worked with in theatre in New York that informed things,” Hamill laughs, “particularly his bitchy sense of humour. I wouldn’t want to mention any names though, because it’s too insulting!”

Mark Hamill in Sushi Girl.

Despite Sushi Girl’s copious blood spray, beatings, and general bad behaviour, Hamill said that the low budget production was actually a delight. “We quickly bonded and became a family,” he told FilmInk of the cast and crew, all under the guidance of promising debut writer/director, Kern Saxton. “It was like the little movie that could. It’s not for everyone, clearly. If my mother was still with us, she’d look at this movie and go, ‘Oh dear.’ But for people who love grim, gritty, crime melodramas with a twist, you can’t do better than this. For what it is, it’s very well done. And the way that it played out, it had a real stage sensibility. There are flashbacks to the robbery, but it basically all happens on one set. Because of that, we were able to do it in chronological order, which is a luxury that you don’t often get in movies. So this was a wonderful treat for me, because one of the things that I love about the theatre is the methodical way that you rehearse and perform it in real time.”

Then, as the interview was starting to wind up, Mark Hamill actually broke the rules as so stridently previously laid out, with no prompting whatsoever. “By the way, it’s kind of you not to bring up Star Wars, just because it’s always the 800-pound gorilla – or I should say wookiee – that sucks up all the oxygen in the room, and then you don’t talk about Sushi Girl at all. But the truth of the matter is that I don’t know more than what’s out there,” he said of the then much talked about new Star Wars movies. “We’re in preliminary talks. I want to make sure that Harrison and Carrie are doing it. I have a meeting next week, but everything that I learn, I learn on the internet! I didn’t know about J.J. Abrams’ involvement until I read about it! I really don’t know much at this point. But when I know, I’ll let people know.”

If you liked this story, click here for our in-depth look at the Sydney, Australia shoot of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith.


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