I almost never thought of Carrie Fisher, who died yesterday of a heart attack, as Princess Leia, probably because Star Wars is such a guy franchise that I always felt that they could have gotten nearly anybody to play that role.
Just be young and look relatively good in an outfit that’s some bastardized variation of a bikini.
Sorta like you can think of maybe 10 actors who could have rocked in The Other Woman aside from Nikolaj Coster-Waldau; just be relatively good looking and kinda fit.
So I didn’t really pick up on Carrie Fisher as Carrie Fisher until maybe When Harry Met Sally where she was Sally’s best friend.
Bruno Kirby plays a kinda shlubby guy in that one and since Carrie, though still only 33, had started to get a little dumpy, their on-screen coupling made perfect sense, physically at least.
Backtracking to catch up on all my Woody Allens as I did in the 90s, I discovered that Carrie was in Hannah and Her Sisters.
She’s Dianne Wiest’s best friend/chief nemesis, competing for dates and parts in plays.
And certainly no list of Carrie Fisher’s screen credits would be complete without her gleefully psychotic turn as Joliet Jake’s left-at-the-altar ex-fiance in The Blues Brothers.
Of course, she fails to kill Jake.
In fact, probably the best thing you can say about her character, other than the fact that her murderous forays are often timed in ways that actually get the heat off the Blues Brothers, is that her menace is significant enough to get Jake to – at least briefly – take his sunglasses off.
Then, of course, there’s her brief but memorable turn as the group therapist that works with Dr. Evil and Scott in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
Other than that, I can’t really say I rocked with her too tough.
I mean, as I scrolled along her IMDB profile, I realized that she was in some shit I’d seen that I don’t remember her from at all.
And this isn’t a knock on her acting.
In fact, it can be argued that being hooked up to the Star Wars franchise pretty much prevented her from ever having to act.
A lot of times you sense that she got hired to be Carrie Fisher in a movie.
But even that’s better than the deal that Mark Hamill; Luke Skywalker to Carrie’s Princess Leia, seemed to get.
Name another movie outside of the Star Wars franchise that you can say you’ve seen him in and no, Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back doesn’t count.
And shamefully, I haven’t read Carrie’s book, Postcards from the Edge, which I hear was brilliant and know was turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep.
It’s kinda tough to consign Carrie Fisher to the list of “greats” we lost in 2016 because her greatness seems so aligned with the greatness of the Star Wars franchise and not any individual breakout acting, but whether I’m right or wrong about her replaceability, the bottom line is that she was Princess Leia and that, for more than most people, will be enough.
So I guess I’m viewing the loss of Carrie – in addition to the simple loss of human life – as I would the loss of a starter but non-star-player from my favorite team that won a championship.
No, she wasn’t Clyde Frazier (Darth Vader) or Earl “The Pearl” Monroe (Han Solo) or even Bill Bradley (Luke), she was far closer to Dave Debusschere, who’s actually dead, whose loss I did, in fact, mourn, and who, most importantly, we wouldn’t have won without.