Interview by Ramin Setoodeh
When I was 19, I was cast as Princess Leia in Star Wars. The mistake was I signed away my likeness for free. In those days, there was no such thing as a “likeness,” which is a funny thing to say coming from the family that I came from. There was no merchandising tied to movies. No one could have known the extent of the franchise. Not that I don’t think I’m cute or anything, but when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t think I was signing away anything of value. Lately I feel like I’m Minnie Mouse—the identity of Princess Leia so eclipses any other identity that I’ve ever had.
As I’ve gone along, people will come to me and say, “We got the licensing from George Lucas to make these socks.” So my daughter can walk around on my face. I was shopping at Williams-Sonoma, and they’re selling little sticks of Princess Leia that you put in your cupcake. Who wouldn’t need those? I paid for it. How much money could I have made from all this stuff? I don’t want to know. It’s too upsetting. Yet funny. For example, I found out recently that I am a type of marijuana. A friend of my daughter’s actually went to one of those medical places, and she told me there was a type of marijuana named Princess Leia. I never liked marijuana, so the fact that I’m a type of marijuana is ironic.
I’ve teased George Lucas about this over the years, but he’s never been apologetic. When you’re 19 you don’t even think about these things. I don’t know what everyone else’s excuse was. Harrison Ford was 33! He should have known better! Here’s where I’m dumb. I assume if there’s an argument to be made, Harrison would have made it, and if he made it, I would have heard about it, because we had the same deal. But Harrison hasn’t fixed his deal. So this is an ongoing mistake.
Mistakes are a drag, because you get in the area of regret and self-pity. I don’t like to linger in this zone. Obviously, drug use is a huge mistake. So I’ve made some bad choices. That’s reflected in the Princess Leia thing. I do not take it on. Me having a tantrum in the corner for my cut of Star Wars toothpaste? I don’t want to get into it. Every so often, I wonder if Natalie Portman is getting more money than the none I’m getting. If she’s holding a check for Princess Amidala’s likeness in one hand and her Oscar in the other, that would piss me off.