Dave Prowse: Star Wars hopefuls should drop Bristolian accent

Dave Prowse with Darth Vader
Image caption Dave Prowse played Darth Vader in the first three Star wars films

The actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films says hopefuls from Bristol auditioning for the new film should "disguise their accents".

Dave Prowse starred in episodes four to six but his Bristolian accent was later dubbed over by James Earl Jones.

He told people going to Bristol for the open casting sessions for Star Wars: Episode VII to be "very, very serious about the whole thing".

"You can't go 'oo-aar my dear here's my lightsaber," he said.

According to a casting notice, film-maker Disney wants to fill two roles for the new film.

The company is looking for a "street smart and strong" orphaned girl in her late teens and a "smart capable" man in his late teens or early 20s.

'Chewbacca or Darth Vader'

Bristol will host the first auditions for the film on 9 November at the Arnolfini.

Prowse, who is 6ft 6ins (1.96m) tall, said it was an "honour" for the city.

He said those attending "will need to be very, very serious about the whole thing as it will change their lives, as it did for me."

Prowse was born in Bristol in 1935 and attended Bristol Grammar School.

Image caption Dave Prowse was born in Bristol in 1935 and attended Bristol Grammar School

Before entering the acting profession he was a successful bodybuilder and weightlifter.

The actor's early screen roles included parts in a number of Hammer horror films and Doctor Who.

He also played the Green Cross Code man in television road safety commercials for 13 years.

When Prowse attended his own audition for Star Wars in 1976, nobody knew what a massive success it would turn out to be.

Director George Lucas offered Prowse either the part of Chewbacca or Darth Vader.

Prowse chose the role of the latter and told Lucas "everyone remembers the villain, George".

'So much interest'

Prowse went on to play the bodily form of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy.

Of the open casting session method being used by Disney, he said: "It's an interesting way to go about it.

"There is a fantastic amount of talent out there just waiting to be discovered, and there is so much interest in Star Wars."

Although he now lives in Croydon in Surrey, Prowse said he regularly returns to Bristol to see family in Filton, and is "very proud" of his roots.

He said if the forthcoming film receives a premiere in Bristol he would "be there like a shot".

Star Wars: Episode VII is scheduled to begin shooting at Pinewood Studios in spring 2014, for an expected 2015 release.

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