Interview with Carrie Fisher

November, 2016
Carrie Fisher Even if Star Wars had never happened, Carrie Fisher's life would have been fodder worthy of fiction. She is the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, and her childhood was overshadowed by one of Hollywood's biggest scandals: Her father left her mother for Elizabeth Taylor.

During the last 40 years, Fisher has appeared in numerous movies and television shows. She's also written four best-selling novels and two previous memoirs. Meryl Streep even portrayed her in the movie adaption of her book Postcards from the Edge.

But, of course, the world will always know her as Princess Leia. Fisher was just 19 when she landed a lead in the small-budget film—a role that would change her life.

Recently, while rummaging through a storage area in her home, Fisher came across the journals she kept while making that movie. The diaries not only captured what would become film history, but also her secret affair with her co-star Harrison Ford, who was married at the time.

Those journal entries, along with Fisher's witty recounting of the early Star Wars days, make up her new memoir, The Princess Diarist.

When Goodreads talked to Fisher, the news had just broken about her affair with Ford. As the internet reacted, Fisher was sick in bed with bronchitis and watching in horror as the headlines quickly multiplied.


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The Harrison Ford Affair

Goodreads: You are the hottest news in entertainment right now, so congrats!

Carrie Fisher: Am I? How do I find that out? Am I trending? No, I Googled myself earlier and I saw a headline that said 'Carrie Fisher says Harrison Ford was bad in bed.' That's what it said. As if I would say that, who does that? Yeah, that was a little shocking though. I didn't think they'd be able to do that, just write whatever they want. But why wouldn't I think that?

GR: Why did you decide to both confess to having an affair with actor Harrison Ford and write about it now?

CF: Well, it's 40 years later so it's pretty much ancient history. I found the diaries about a year and a half ago and I thought they were really amazing and I'd forgotten I'd written them. I don't have anything else like that that I've written over a finite amount of time and it was really emotional. I wrote it with abandon never thinking it would be published.

There's a part of me that thinks 'Why did you do this'? And that would be the part that saw that headline that said 'Carrie Fisher says Harrison Ford was bad in bed.' It just turns it tawdry and I probably should have anticipated that. But how do you anticipate that, truly?

GR: If you could give that 19-year-old version of yourself advice about the affair, what would you say?

CF: There's nothing you can tell yourself. There's no way I could've not done that. It wasn't a choice I made, it was sort of an indirect choice. And I think it's funny that it happened. I mean, what would be more awkward than [to] have that happen and then be together for the rest of your life?


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GR: It's a little unclear in the book. The affair lasted during the three months you filmed Star Wars. Did it end before you, Ford, and Mark Hamill went on the press tour to promote the first film?

CF: Essentially. Yeah, if it isn't correct, I'm not going to correct it. But yes, and when we went on tour it was like we were roommates, the three of us together.

GR: It just seems so cringe-worthy to have this hookup with a costar you would unknowingly be linked to for the next 40 years.

CF: Well, and an awkward hookup is a one-night stand, so this wasn't really that. And if you do something like that [have an affair], it should be with Harrison. But it was a big learning experience, I guess. Although, I don't know quite what I learned. Not to have an affair with a married man, though. But I knew that already.

GR: Did you tell Ford that you were going to write about your affair?

CF: I saw him and I said 'I found my journals from the first movie and I'm probably going to publish them.' And he said "LAWYER!" Yeah, he was joking. I said, I'll show [the book] to you and if you don't like anything I'll take it out. And I sent it to him and I never heard back. I assume it embarrasses him, anything about him embarrasses him. This is probably an extreme version of that.

GR: Have you seen Ford since writing this book?

CF: No! I just sent it to him fairly recently. And I finished the book fairly recently.

GR: Are you nervous about seeing him now that this book is out?

CF: Yes, but no more than usual. Yes, I'm always nervous to see Harrison. And no, no more than usual.

GR: What's it like to see people react to this book?

CF: So, I don't like the thing that said he wasn't good in bed or whatever. I hate that stuff. I don't like that I sort of lost control of it. And, you know, of course I did. But I couldn't have anticipated what that would feel like. I don't love it, so I'm hiding in my room. But I was sick anyway.


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GR: What's your relationship like with Mark Hamill?

CF: Much easier, like siblings. I think if you pretend something long enough, it comes true. Mark and I were more alike in a sort of 'people pleasing' way. Harrison was the grownup and [Mark and I] were both closer in age. But it was new to all of us, so in that sense we were all the same age.

GR: It's interesting to read that your romance was happening with Ford at the same time sparks were flying on screen between Princess Leia and Han Solo.

CF: The way Leia behaved with Harrison is not dissimilar from the way I did. A little bit shy and combative. I don't know what I think. I don't know if art imitated life, or if life imitated art, or if it's art at all. But it's not dissimilar in a few ways.

On a Lifetime of Being Leia

GR: In the book, you talk about a lifetime of being Princess Leia. How do you think of Leia?

CF: What would Leia do? Leia usually does the right thing. She would kill Jabba. You know, she gets in the way of the bad guy and she wears a mean bikini. No, but I think of doing the right thing and being trustworthy and telling the truth and trying not to hurt anyone.

GR: Has being Leia informed who you are today?

CF: Oh, definitely. It's informed my entire life. I've been Princess Leia all these years, not just when they remade the movie. You know, there's no getting away from it, so you'd better make peace with it. And I was never at war with it. I choose to see it as a positive and I do see it as a positive now. But I was never going to have a problem with it, because that would be a really bad way to live your life.

People get me and Leia confused. It's difficult to separate it out. They think of my trials with being bipolar like Leia's trials with Jabba the Hut and being a strong woman. We've sort of become each other, Leia and I. But, her being strong, and Leia doing whatever she wants to do or thinks she needs to do...We're alike that way.

GR: A whole section of the book is excerpts from the old journals. What was it like to revisit your 19-year-old self like that?

CF: I feel bad for me that age. I do. I'm just so insecure and riddled with self-doubt. And that's too bad. And I've chosen the wrong profession if I have those kinds of intense feelings in that direction.

GR: There is no fan quite like the Star Wars fan. What is your take on the rabid fan base?

CF: I love the fans, with the exception of, like, five of them that are really insane. They love the movie, it brings them joy, and it provides them with more than movies usually provide them with. Families do things around it and that's what I've watched over the years. So I have an appreciation of Star Wars that goes beyond it being a film.

I don't quite fully understand it. I mean, it has a religious tone to it. I don't know though, the way that it's gone on like this—and increased over time really—is extraordinary.

Returning to Star Wars

GR: What's it like being back in Leia's shoes for the new Star Wars movies?

CF: Well, it just makes it OK. I mean, I felt like I was in more Star Wars films before I was in more Star Wars films. So, it just kept it going in a way I felt it was already going.

GR: Can you tell us anything about the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII, hitting theaters in 2017?

CF: Well, I'm not supposed to. They wouldn't let my dog on the set as a result he's very neurotic about film sets now. And I don't like my film hair in any of the movies.

GR: What was it like for you when Episode VII came out in 2015?


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CF: It was intense. It was weird for me. I never liked looking at myself, so I don't like looking at myself in these films. Then comes the thing of "did I age well?" And I involve myself in that dialogue. So, you know, all this stuff comes with it. That's what you get to do. It's good baggage and bad baggage. But I'm up for the dialogue. And I don't think many people would be.

On Being a Writer

GR: Obviously you kept a journal while shooting Star Wars and you've written six previous books. Tell us about your writing.

CF: Well, it was always very therapeutic for me and you can see now that that's what it shows in those journals. That's who I talked to. That's where I could go. It got it out of my head and onto the page. So, that's where I wanted it be. In my head was very crowded and not very friendly then. So it's not the same now, it doesn't serve the same purpose, but that was its roots.

And I still handwrite. I think there's something very calming in that. When you're putting something in words, you're getting it out of feeling. And I obviously have an intense emotional world I want out of.

GR: In the book, you say you were conflicted about becoming an actor. How do you explain that to yourself?

CF: I mean, the second movie I did was Star Wars, so it was just assumed that I wanted to be an actor. I went along with the assumption. But I really did want to be a writer. I never went into show business. It would have taken more of an effort to get out of show business. And I never made that effort.

GR: Obviously you are a writer. But when you were thinking of becoming a professional writer instead of going to show business, what did you want that to look like?

CF: I wanted to be Dorothy Parker! Well, I am Dorothy Parker now. I'm half Jewish, I have brown eyes, brown hair and we both married gay men. Well, not married, but, whatever, she married him.

GR: How do you feel about Dorothy Parker now? Is she still an idol of yours?

CF:I haven't read her in a while but I think she probably would be because she was such a big thing for me when I was a teenager.

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Ironflower (new)

Ironflower Carrie Fisher is a hoot! I loved all the Star Wars and Leia adventures. Thanks for bringing ger back.


message 2: by John (new)

John Cowan Yeesh. Talk about "I have nothing to say, and I am saying it."


message 3: by Teya (new)

Teya Peck Thank you to Carrie Fisher. Not necessarily for the book but for being human. I grew up watching and loving star wars. I am old enough I remember anticipating each one.
What I really appreciate is that you're a real person Carrie and sometimes we let the outside world dictate who and what we are until we find ourselves. Your an exemplary example of finding what you really want to do and do it. Again Thank you!


message 4: by Gregg (new)

Gregg I agree with nearly all of you!

And even today you're still amazing. I agree, you two do argue well.


message 5: by Gina (new)

Gina Briganti It's taken me this long to find out that this isn't Carrie Fisher's first book and that she has always been a writer. Great way to start the morning!

Now I'm going to go and see if my friends have this book on their shelves. I love Goodreads!


message 6: by Carole (new)

Carole Sullivan I would have liked GR to ask about her bi-polar problems and how it relates to her work as an actor/writer. Maybe next time.


message 7: by Lauralee (new)

Lauralee Woodruff Carole, i do believe she's dealt with the bipolar stuff in earlier books.


message 8: by Julie (last edited Dec 15, 2016 06:36PM) (new)

Julie Moskal Lauralee wrote: "Carole, i do believe she's dealt with the bipolar stuff in earlier books."

I met her in Chicago about 5 years ago and she is amazing! I told her when I was 11, a time that was hard for me, I used to think "what would Leia do" in order to get through the hardships in my life at that time. I told her I was thankful that she represented that character because "Leia" got me though those tough days. I still have the green top I was wearing when I met her! She put her arm around me when her assistant took our picture. Seriously, she's wonderful!!!!!!


message 9: by Julie (new)

Julie Nutt I like this. There we were, watching the romance between Leia and Han finally going somwhere, and in a parallel universe (ours), it had already happened...


message 10: by Ray (new)

Ray Rappisi Arm twisted, book I am buying!


message 11: by Wayne (new)

Wayne Cook I worked on the films long before I had any conversation with Ms Fisher. The posting for the film transfers was done at a studio in Farmington Hills, Michigan, with such secrecy that I only recently began revealing the technical aspects of our work.

I met Carrie through Twitter, when she was dealing with several naysayer "attention craving" screwballs, and simply told her how much I appreciated the four years of fun working with Lucas and his staff. My family has indeed, celebrated Star Wars in all its permutations since I left 20th Century Fox....and I love the series to this day! Thank you Carrie for all that you have helped create in this wonderful story!


message 12: by Fran (new)

Fran Jansen What a great interview. I will but her books and Dorothy Parker's books too. Buying them will be to win many times over.


message 13: by Loulou (new)

Loulou Szal Hey Carrie, I have just read 'Princess Diarist.' It was just like having a conversation with you. Open and chatty.
When I was 17 I staked out the Sydney Hilton Hotel where Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams ( Lando Calrissian) were staying while promoting 'The Empire Strikes Back'.
Yes, I met them and wrote up the whole experience as the major article for my school magazine that year!
The things we do and then write about!!
Yes, I'm a Star Wars fan and was happy to get all the extra 'inside info' from you
Thanks for your honesty. It was fun getting to know you.


message 14: by Dtown (new)

Dtown Surrender the Pink is my favorite Fisher book. Over the years I have read this book several times... each time is as good as the first.


message 15: by Lori (new)

Lori Anderson Gotta love honesty, the truth! Thanks for sharing, Carrie Fisher! You are super cool! An affair with Harrison Ford--Hollywood, and all!


message 16: by Rothsamphors (new)

Rothsamphors Roth Comin clean from an uncomfortable distant past especially from a huge human like you is a prime example to get mixed with us.
YOU ROCK.


message 17: by Laurie (new)

Laurie RIP Carrie Fisher. May the Force be with you.


message 18: by Gerard (new)

Gerard Gray Thank you Carrie.You were amazing!


message 19: by Luiz (new)

Luiz Thank you for everything Carrie! You were awesome!


message 20: by Linda (new)

Linda Carrie Fisher was amazing! She will be so missed and so will her mother, "Debbie Reynolds" who died today at 84. I have loved her since I was a child. R.I.P. Wonderful Ladies......

God Speed.........


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