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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

SPOTLIGHT ON: ALAN HARRIS-- "Star Wars" Bounty Hunter BOSSK-- Available for Booking!

Alan Harris

Alan Harris IS Bossk from the "Star Wars" movies:  "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi."

And does he have some behind the scenes stories to share!

Alan Harris as the Bounty Hunter, Bossk

Starting out in theatre and the modeling in the mid '60's, Alan decided to segue into the movie business circa 1970 in the hopes that the gigs "would pay more steadily than modeling." It turned out to be a fortuitous move, and Harris immediately landed parts in “Scrooge,” “Space 1999,” “Night of the Generals,” and “Hitler: The Last Ten Days,” with Sir Alec Guiness, among other parts.

But it was to be his casting in something called "Star Wars," that would lead to his most singular adventures. 

In "Empire Strikes Back,"  Alan was already acting as one of the stand ins for  actor Anthony Daniels (C3PO), as well as portraying a Storm Trooper from time to time, when he was tapped to take on the role of the  Trandoshan bounty hunter, Bossk. The character became so popular that it has spawned many stories and comic books of his own, and is featured in the “Bounty Hunter Wars,” trilogy, and other volumes.

In "Return of the Jedi," the character became so "in demand" during that filming, that Alan, again one of the stand ins for Anthony Daniels who was in most of the scenes, sometimes had very little time to go from CP3O mode to getting into and out of his Bossk costume!

"It required some doing," he laughs. 

Aside from the wildly popular bounty hunting bad boy, Harris had his hand (and actually whole BODY), in other "Star Wars" facts and fun as well:

For example: Alan was engaged for the development of the Boba Fett costume. "Three months before filming started, at the concept stage, they built the Boba Fett costume around me," explains Harris.  "Boba Fett was originally meant to be a Super Trooper and would launch from a space ship using the rocket that can be seen in his back pack, and be able to fire at the enemy on the ground. I was totally unaware of the flame thrower built in the costume. When they tested it, it gave me quite a fright."

Here's another gem: Alan was the body double for Han Solo in carbonate!

“Irvin Kershner (the director)  had the idea. We were in the props room when they put a shroud over me and two drinking straw up my nose so I could breathe— very uncomfortable," relates Harris.  "When the plaster cast was dry they cut my face out and put Harrison Ford’s in.  Kershner and I were looking at the finished product on set and Harrison came over and said he was thinking of turning one of these into a coffee table. I don’t know if he ever did,” he laughs.

Results of Harris cast for Han Solo in carbonite.

But "Star Wars" didn't end with the Jedi Return for Harris. Nineteen years later, Alan was tapped to be the double for Terence Stamp (Fiinis Valorum) in “The Phantom Menace.”

“It’s just that I look a bit like him and originally I was his stand-in. But then I also ended up doubling  for him." Most notably in shots with young Anakin and The Queen.

Some of Alan’s other notable screen work includes:

Stand in work for: 
Mel Ferrer in “Branigan,”
Gene Hackman in “Superman 1 & 11,
Christopher Reeve in “Superman 1,”
Frank Oz and half of the puppeteers in “The Great Muppet Caper” and “Dark Crystal,”
Sean Caffrey in “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth,”
Peter Hinwood in “Rocky Horror Picture Show,”
Peter Vaughn in “Haunted Honeymoon,”
Various in “Hellraiser,” “Hellbound” and “Night Breed,”
Sir Nigel Hawthorne in the remake of “The Winslow Boy,”
Lead dancer in “The Labyrinth.”  

Other parts included various in:
 “The Saint,” “Danger Man,” “Space 1999,” “Scrooge,” and the part of Hitler’s batman in “Hitler: The Last Ten Days.”

But it is his role as Bossk that has given him "Star Wars" immortality, not only through his screen appearances but subsequent books, comics, toys and pop culture art-- everything from POP! to Lego to Sideshow Collectibles.

“I don’t think that anyone could have foreseen how successful this series would be! And still making films all these years later." A true adventure in a galaxy far far away.

Various Bossk merchandising of the popular character!

Programming Notes:  Alan Harris is a font of information on the  behind the scenes stories from the "Star Wars" movies in which he took part, making for entertaining panels either alone or with former cast members,   and chances for audience Q & A.

For more information on booking Alan Harris, contact Renee at Pros & Cons Celebrity Booking at: evaink@aol.com

Bossk painting by artist Brian Rood.

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