He played Zev Senesca in The Empire Strikes Back, appeared in Highlander, directed The Rocky Horror Show in the UK, America, Argentina and Europe, worked for Jim Henson on Labyrinth and was regularly on Absolutely Fabulous! Please welcome Christopher Malcolm.
Read on for our full interview with Christopher...
JN - Christopher, welcome to Jedi News.
CM - Thank you.
JN - You’ve acted in Highlander, Superman, Ab Fab, directed and produced runs of The Rocky Horror Show but to sci-fi fans you are best known for your appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. How exciting is that?
CM - It certainly gets the WOW reaction from all my kids’ friends!
JN - Tell us something of your career. How and where did you begin in acting and what led you to where you are today?
CM - I grew up in Canada on a farm in the far off lands of B.C. (British Columbia) My mother had trained as an actress in England before we emigrated and after we moved to a small city, Vernon, in the late 50's she and I got involved with the local theatre group and I got the bug. After studying and a few summer stock seasons at UBC in Vancouver I returned to England and auditioned for the Royal Shakespeare Company and joined them for 2 seasons from 66/68. Having made many friends and good contacts in London I stayed and pursed my career in acting.
JN - How exciting was it to perform in the sequel to the most successful movie of all time?
CM - At the time of filming it was a growing phenomenon so there was a knowledge that we were in something special but there was also the normal physical grind of movie making. My stuff in the beginning had to be shot with a special camera and we had to wait days and days before they got the right effect for the blue screen. In fact the camera they used was very famous as it was the one that shot Gone With the Wind.
JN - You also direct as well as act. How similar, and different, are the two disciplines.
CM - They are different in the sense of preparation. To direct you need to have an overall view of what you are intending to present, as an actor you concentrate on your characters development and remember not to bump into the furniture!
JN - Highlander was a huge fan favourite, and your role, taking on The Kurgan in the alleyway, was memorable. What memories do you have of that shoot?
CM - Cold and wet and a night shoot that seemed to go on and on! It was fun to do though and being hoisted in the air and held at the end of Clancy Browns sword was interesting! I got a location trip to NYC which was a bonus; we shot some of it in Chinatown.
JN - What were your feelings on Revenge of the Sith? Did it wrap up the saga as you thought it would, or did things go different to what you expected?
CM - I liked the first three episodes (The prequel trilogy). Although if you really pressed me I'd have to say I prefer the original three.
JN - One of your most high-profile roles is Justin, Saffy’s gay Dad on Absolutely Fabulous. Just what is it like being in the same scenes as Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley? Are they as mad as they appear?
CM - It was a gas, they were wonderful to work with and unpredictable and inspirational. My part was really just a feed to their high comedy so I take little credit for its fantastic success, but I am thrilled to have been involved.
JN - What has it been like to be a part of the Star Wars phenomenon?
CM - Well, I'm particularly pleased to have been in The Empire Strikes Back as it is acknowledged as one of the best sequels ever made. I am also pleased that at least one of my appearances in over 25 feature films made is in the top grossing films list!
JN - There’s a Star Wars television series coming within the next few years. Would you be interested in a role if one was offered?
CM - Of course, but I fear that I'm tooooo old.
JN - Have you ever had any thoughts about your character in Empire, what kind of man he was, or his background.
PCM- Well there wasn't much background given to us on the set, it was really a case of improvisation.
JN - What lies ahead for you in the future?
CM - I produce and direct shows, mainly musicals, and I intend to continue. I work a lot in Europe which I enjoy and I will produce new shows in the UK within the next year.
JN - It's been a great interview, and thanks for being our guest on Jedi News. Just one final question. Justin, Kirk Matunas and Zev Senesca are building snowmen for a competition. The aim is to destroy them in the most elaborate manner. Which one caps their snowman in the best style?
CM - Tricky, I'd probably say that Justin would be the winner as he would be the only one to actually finish constructing it in the first place, the other two would think the whole enterprise too sissy!
This interview was originally posted on lightsabre.co.uk on 19th February 2006. You can visit Christopher's website here.
Christopher Malcolm Interview Copyright 2011 Jedi News. No part of this interview can be reproduced without prior written consent from Jedi News.