The Millennium Falcon was the first thing we were actually building. I had been in London and I came home back to L.A. for Christmas. So I go to Sports Chalet to do some last-minute shopping; I get there early, run to the back of the store, get what I need. I’m coming back through the store, and I just happen to pass this person holding up a pair of ski pants, and it’s Harrison Ford. I look at him, he looks at me and puts his head right down. I can tell he doesn’t want to be bothered; I’m sure from the look on my face he knew I knew who he was. So I walk past him, and after about 10 feet I think, ‘If there’s ever a time to say hello to Harrison Ford, I’m building the Millennium Falcon!’ So I turn around very hesitantly and go, ‘Harrison, I’m sorry to bother you. I’m co-production designer on the new Star Wars, I’m just back from London, and I’ve been building the Falcon.’ A big smile came across his face, he put his hand out, and we had such a great conversation — he couldn’t have been sweeter. As I’m walking away, he goes, ‘Darren!’ and calls me back. He goes, ‘The toggle switches.’ I go, ‘Toggle switches.’ He goes, ‘The toggle switches on the Falcon. When they built it the first time, they bought cheap toggle switches without any springs in them. Every time I threw a toggle switch, it fell back; it wouldn’t hold. It drove me crazy. Please, make sure the toggle switches are fixed this time.’ I go, ‘No problem! I’ll take care of it!’ So months go by, I’m back in London, we’re getting close [to principal photography], and I get a phone call saying J.J.’s headed down to check out the cockpit, and Harrison’s with him. I run down there and I see J.J. in the passenger seat and Harrison in the pilot seat. They’re just giddy; they’re having so much fun. And then I see Harrison look up, and he just starts throwing all the toggle switches: boom, boom, boom, boom. [Laughs.] And I remember thinking, ‘Phew, minor victory. Take solace in that and move on. Next task.’ That’s my favorite story.
Darren Gilford (x)
This is so sweet.
Tell a carpenter you’re building something, get a professional opinion on how to do it better.