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(The Cheat Sheet)   George Lucas paid James Earl Jones just $7,000 for voicing Darth Vader in Star Wars because Orson Welles was too recognizable and wanted too much money. JEJ happened to be broke at the time and took money instead of points as his salary   (cheatsheet.com) divider line
    More: Vintage, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi, James Earl Jones, Darth Vader, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas  
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450 clicks; posted to Fandom » on 16 Nov 2021 at 4:10 AM (8 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2021-11-16 4:37:10 AM  
He should have altered the deal...
 
2021-11-16 4:42:49 AM  
Given Hollywood accounting, that was probably a good idea.
 
2021-11-16 5:13:49 AM  
The ability to share in the profits, or even in the net gross, is insignificant next to the power of getting paid in cash upfront.
 
2021-11-16 5:24:42 AM  
FYI, $7,000 in 1977 is the equivalent of $31,500 today.
 
2021-11-16 5:39:42 AM  
Orson Welles would have made Vader just a touch whinier.
 
2021-11-16 6:01:04 AM  

Birnone: The ability to share in the profits, or even in the net gross, is insignificant next to the power of getting paid in cash upfront.


Especially a movie like Star Wars which never went anywhere.
Those farking morons who agreed to take a % instead of cash up front. I bet they sure regretted that.
 
2021-11-16 6:06:09 AM  
It certainly made him more famous.  And before he did ESB, he worked with a voice coach to make his Vader voice sound more sinister.  It worked very well.
 
2021-11-16 6:19:14 AM  
Can you get Rosebud Frozen Peas on Coruscant?
 
2021-11-16 6:47:40 AM  
Man.

James Earl Jones was a narrator on a kids show called Long Ago and Far Away that I still have vague memories of, and he was on Reading Rainbow.

Those were post-Star Wars but might have came from some of the Star Wars exposure. It's so weird to imagine a world where he might not have done them. He's kind of the Ur-narrator for me.
 
2021-11-16 7:11:26 AM  

August11: Orson Welles would have made Vader just a touch whinier.


Get me some peas.  I desire their green peaness.
 
2021-11-16 7:22:56 AM  

August11: Orson Welles would have made Vader just a touch whinier.


He would've sounded fat and disinterested like he did in Transformers.

JEJ was a much better choice.
 
2021-11-16 7:38:54 AM  
Yeah, but he made 10 million dollars for saying  "This......Is CNN" for 10 years.
 
2021-11-16 7:54:32 AM  
CSB: I got married in the theater where James Earl Jones got his start.
 
2021-11-16 8:00:36 AM  

August11: Orson Welles would have made Vader just a touch whinier.


"This is Orson Welles, ladies and gentlemen, out of character to assure you that Star Wars has no further significance than as the summer blockbuster it was intended to be. Lucasfilm's own version of classical movie serials! Starting now, we couldn't soap all your windows and steal all your garden gates by tomorrow night. . . so we did the best next thing. We annihilated the universe before your very eyes, and utterly destroyed the Galactic Empire. You will be relieved, I hope, to learn that we didn't mean it, and that both institutions are still open for business. So goodbye everybody, and remember the terrible lesson you learned tonight. That grinning, glowing, globular invader of your living room is an inhabitant of the pumpkin patch, and if your doorbell rings and nobody's there, that was no Stormtrooper. . .it's Hallowe'en."
 
2021-11-16 8:09:25 AM  

omg bbq: Birnone: The ability to share in the profits, or even in the net gross, is insignificant next to the power of getting paid in cash upfront.

Especially a movie like Star Wars which never went anywhere.
Those farking morons who agreed to take a % instead of cash up front. I bet they sure regretted that.


Star Wars was a little crappy movie that was doomed to fail, until Marcia Lucas got ahold of it.
 
2021-11-16 8:16:55 AM  
A long, long time ago I heard Lucas speak as part of a sci fi convention panel. He mentioned The Empire Strikes Back and then said "Great, now we can charge the costs of this trip against those profits." Everyone laughed, but he wasn't joking. TESB has yet to (on paper) make one thin dime of profit. The original budget was $32 million; estimated total income from the film approaches a billion dollars. David Prowse (the "other" Darth Vader) never received residuals from his performance. And for his daring to mention this Lucas banned him from attending official Star Wars conventions.
 
2021-11-16 8:47:41 AM  
James Earl Jones was only paid $7,000 for voicing Darth Vader in 'Star Wars.' But he could have made even more had he made a different choice.

And I could be a multi millionaire and banging Milla Jovovich right this second had I made some different choices. But I didn't, and neither did he.
I guess we both lost out.
 
2021-11-16 9:19:07 AM  

OrionXVI: FYI, $7,000 in 1977 is the equivalent of $31,500 today.


and at the time "Star Wars"  didn't exist yet, this was just some big budget kid's movie that might have been a total bomb

/I'll take the cash
 
2021-11-16 9:31:40 AM  
Donald Sutherland made a similar mistake with animal house.
 
2021-11-16 9:38:06 AM  
I recall seeing James Earl Jones in action movies at the time. Some pirate movie, Conan, and an Allan Quatermain sequel movie with Sharon Stone as AQ's wife.

The Allan Quatermain theme btw was too good for its movie.
 
2021-11-16 9:54:37 AM  

Practical_Draconian: I recall seeing James Earl Jones in action movies at the time. Some pirate movie, Conan, and an Allan Quatermain sequel movie with Sharon Stone as AQ's wife.

The Allan Quatermain theme btw was too good for its movie.


I still remember him as Thulsa Doom from Conan fame back then.
 
2021-11-16 12:02:32 PM  
I remember reading somewhere that Jones's name wasn't even originally in the closing credits... or the opening ones, for that matter.
 
2021-11-16 12:12:40 PM  

Incorrigible Astronaut: He would've sounded fat and disinterested like he did in Transformers.


To be fair his character was as big as a planet.

And pretty much a god, so some aloofness is expected.

"No one summons Megatron!"
"Then it pleases me to be the first."
 
2021-11-16 12:25:37 PM  

Boudyro: Incorrigible Astronaut: He would've sounded fat and disinterested like he did in Transformers.

To be fair his character was as big as a planet.

And pretty much a god, so some aloofness is expected.

"No one summons Megatron!"
"Then it pleases me to be the first."


True. It's just endlessly amusing to me that arguably the greatest filmmaker of all time's last role was a giant fat joke.
 
2021-11-16 12:34:08 PM  

Tyrone Slothrop: omg bbq: Birnone: The ability to share in the profits, or even in the net gross, is insignificant next to the power of getting paid in cash upfront.

Especially a movie like Star Wars which never went anywhere.
Those farking morons who agreed to take a % instead of cash up front. I bet they sure regretted that.

Star Wars was a little crappy movie that was doomed to fail, until Marcia Lucas got ahold of it.


Brilliantly written; instantly iconic characters, costumes, and sets; flawlessly cast; truly revolutionary special effects; visionary sound design; the single greatest film score of all time. Yeah, thank god she swooped in and singlehandedly "saved" that shiatshow.
 
2021-11-16 12:35:06 PM  
Even Lucas thought SW would bomb so hindsight is 20/20.
 
2021-11-16 12:42:37 PM  

August11: Orson Welles would have made Vader just a touch whinier.


Orson Welles will sell no whine before its time.
 
2021-11-16 1:17:49 PM  

omg bbq: Birnone: The ability to share in the profits, or even in the net gross, is insignificant next to the power of getting paid in cash upfront.

Especially a movie like Star Wars which never went anywhere.
Those farking morons who agreed to take a % instead of cash up front. I bet they sure regretted that.


He needed the cash up front, not "whenever the lawsuit finishes and the judge issues the order".  When Star Wars did indeed go "anywhere" he could still negotiate from a position of strength: they needed Vader, and they couldn't find anyone who sounded like James Earl Jones.  So he got paid on time (when he needed it), and got paid big money later (although he is probably still peeved that they didn't use his face).

It was about a clear cut victory as possible.

Chemlight Battery: Tyrone Slothrop: omg bbq: Birnone: The ability to share in the profits, or even in the net
...
Brilliantly written; instantly iconic characters, costumes, and sets; flawlessly cast; truly revolutionary special effects; visionary sound design; the single greatest film score of all time. Yeah, thank god she swooped in and singlehandedly "saved" that shiatshow.


George Lucas has never written a single line of "brilliantly written" dialog (maybe some of Obi-Wan's exposition, but largely because it *isn't* dialog).  He might have made a decent author, but never a screenwriter.

Mugato: Even Lucas thought SW would bomb so hindsight is 20/20.


Wouldn't surprise me.  Everything depends on getting the final cut right, and how the audience reacts.  Monty Python's Holy Grail *bombed* when the investors first saw it, and needed a new score and a few changes (comedy is hard).

/my Granddad hated it and sold his stock in 20th century fox (or whoever released it)
//considering how great the deal was for Lucas, maybe he was right
///granted, I wasn't exactly asking for nothing but Star Wars toys for Christmas then and there (like other kids my age were)
 
2021-11-16 1:30:22 PM  

yet_another_wumpus: omg bbq: Birnone: The ability to share in the profits, or even in the net gross, is insignificant next to the power of getting paid in cash upfront.

Especially a movie like Star Wars which never went anywhere.
Those farking morons who agreed to take a % instead of cash up front. I bet they sure regretted that.

He needed the cash up front, not "whenever the lawsuit finishes and the judge issues the order".  When Star Wars did indeed go "anywhere" he could still negotiate from a position of strength: they needed Vader, and they couldn't find anyone who sounded like James Earl Jones.  So he got paid on time (when he needed it), and got paid big money later (although he is probably still peeved that they didn't use his face).

It was about a clear cut victory as possible.

Chemlight Battery: Tyrone Slothrop: omg bbq: Birnone: The ability to share in the profits, or even in the net
...
Brilliantly written; instantly iconic characters, costumes, and sets; flawlessly cast; truly revolutionary special effects; visionary sound design; the single greatest film score of all time. Yeah, thank god she swooped in and singlehandedly "saved" that shiatshow.

George Lucas has never written a single line of "brilliantly written" dialog (maybe some of Obi-Wan's exposition, but largely because it *isn't* dialog).  He might have made a decent author, but never a screenwriter.

Mugato: Even Lucas thought SW would bomb so hindsight is 20/20.

Wouldn't surprise me.  Everything depends on getting the final cut right, and how the audience reacts.  Monty Python's Holy Grail *bombed* when the investors first saw it, and needed a new score and a few changes (comedy is hard).

/my Granddad hated it and sold his stock in 20th century fox (or whoever released it)
//considering how great the deal was for Lucas, maybe he was right
///granted, I wasn't exactly asking for nothing but Star Wars toys for Christmas then and there (like other kids my age were)


Singing out a line is a PITA on a phone

JEJ was probably peeved they didn't use his face?
 
2021-11-16 2:00:28 PM  

yet_another_wumpus: Chemlight Battery: Tyrone Slothrop: omg bbq: Birnone: The ability to share in the profits, or even in the net
...
Brilliantly written; instantly iconic characters, costumes, and sets; flawlessly cast; truly revolutionary special effects; visionary sound design; the single greatest film score of all time. Yeah, thank god she swooped in and singlehandedly "saved" that shiatshow.

George Lucas has never written a single line of "brilliantly written" dialog (maybe some of Obi-Wan's exposition, but largely because it *isn't* dialog).  He might have made a decent author, but never a screenwriter.


Who said anything about dialogue? Writing is more than dialogue.
 
2021-11-16 2:12:41 PM  

Chemlight Battery: yet_another_wumpus: Chemlight Battery: Tyrone Slothrop: omg bbq: Birnone: The ability to share in the profits, or even in the net
...
Brilliantly written; instantly iconic characters, costumes, and sets; flawlessly cast; truly revolutionary special effects; visionary sound design; the single greatest film score of all time. Yeah, thank god she swooped in and singlehandedly "saved" that shiatshow.

George Lucas has never written a single line of "brilliantly written" dialog (maybe some of Obi-Wan's exposition, but largely because it *isn't* dialog).  He might have made a decent author, but never a screenwriter.

Who said anything about dialogue? Writing is more than dialogue.


I don't know if you noticed, but it is 2021.  Talkies are a thing, and dialog matters in movies.  Even stupid space opera fantasy movies.

Granted, with the Chinese (and other non-English speaking) market being bigger than the US market, things are changing a lot.  Expect even worse dialog, and more explody stuff (stuff being blowed up doesn't  require subtitles).  Maybe Lucas was just ahead of his time.
 
2021-11-16 2:25:09 PM  

Mugato: Even Lucas thought SW would bomb so hindsight is 20/20.


That's why he traded his upfront fees for sequel and merchandise rights?
 
2021-11-16 2:29:42 PM  
I'm sure he was able to negotiate better pay for the subsequent movies.
 
2021-11-16 2:36:15 PM  
I want an undubbed version of Star Wars with Prowse's original West Country accent throughout.

/Carrie fisher called him Darth farmer
 
2021-11-16 2:42:33 PM  

mjbok: Mugato: Even Lucas thought SW would bomb so hindsight is 20/20.

That's why he traded his upfront fees for sequel and merchandise rights?


I don't know what he did for the sequels I'm just saying he wasn't a fool for taking a flat fee for relatively little voice work.
 
2021-11-16 3:16:45 PM  

Metaluna Mutant: I want an undubbed version of Star Wars with Prowse's original West Country accent throughout.

/Carrie fisher called him Darth farmer


ever seen the original human cockney Jabba the Hut?
 
2021-11-16 3:22:04 PM  

brainlordmesomorph: Metaluna Mutant: I want an undubbed version of Star Wars with Prowse's original West Country accent throughout.

/Carrie fisher called him Darth farmer

ever seen the original human cockney Jabba the Hut?


Unfortunately
 
2021-11-16 3:39:53 PM  

yet_another_wumpus: Chemlight Battery: yet_another_wumpus: Chemlight Battery: Tyrone Slothrop: omg bbq: Birnone: The ability to share in the profits, or even in the net
...
Brilliantly written; instantly iconic characters, costumes, and sets; flawlessly cast; truly revolutionary special effects; visionary sound design; the single greatest film score of all time. Yeah, thank god she swooped in and singlehandedly "saved" that shiatshow.

George Lucas has never written a single line of "brilliantly written" dialog (maybe some of Obi-Wan's exposition, but largely because it *isn't* dialog).  He might have made a decent author, but never a screenwriter.

Who said anything about dialogue? Writing is more than dialogue.

I don't know if you noticed, but it is 2021.  Talkies are a thing, and dialog matters in movies.  Even stupid space opera fantasy movies.

Granted, with the Chinese (and other non-English speaking) market being bigger than the US market, things are changing a lot.  Expect even worse dialog, and more explody stuff (stuff being blowed up doesn't  require subtitles).  Maybe Lucas was just ahead of his time.


What exactly is your gripe with the dialogue in the original film? Or are you just retroactively applying hatred of the prequels to that one?
 
2021-11-16 5:34:05 PM  

Chemlight Battery: What exactly is your gripe with the dialogue in the original film? Or are you just retroactively applying hatred of the prequels to that one?


Someone quotes "You can write this shiat George but you can't say it" in 3...2....1...

/the dialog in ST: TNG is much worse, especially when it comes to technobabble
 
2021-11-16 10:55:27 PM  

Mugato: /the dialog in ST: TNG is much worse, especially when it comes to technobabble


I found it entertaining, though.

The original Star Trek writers were in need of a dictionary, though. I remember that on more than one occasion, Dr. McCoy used the word "corpuscle" when referring to blood cells.
 
2021-11-16 11:57:26 PM  

MythDragon: James Earl Jones was only paid $7,000 for voicing Darth Vader in 'Star Wars.' But he could have made even more had he made a different choice.

And I could be a multi millionaire and banging Milla Jovovich right this second had I made some different choices. But I didn't, and neither did he.
I guess we both lost out.


At least Milla Jovovich came out ahead.
 
2021-11-17 7:17:06 AM  

Excelsior: MythDragon: James Earl Jones was only paid $7,000 for voicing Darth Vader in 'Star Wars.' But he could have made even more had he made a different choice.

And I could be a multi millionaire and banging Milla Jovovich right this second had I made some different choices. But I didn't, and neither did he.
I guess we both lost out.

At least Milla Jovovich came out ahead.


Something Something came out on her head.
 
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