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Carrie Fisher: Living out loud

Interview » Actress/author talks about addiction, mental illness, embracing her icon status, and her odd second-life in a galaxy far, far away.



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I watched "Wishful Drinking" to prepare for this interview, and I realized I was screwed — because there’s nothing I could ask that you haven’t already answered in your books or your plays or past interviews. At what point did you decide that full disclosure, of you telling your story so other people weren’t doing it for you, would be your path?

When I started to talk about it, the topic was out. I don’t like other people’s definition of me, or I might not like it — positive or negative. I don’t recognize me frequently in those descriptions. It was a way of controlling the image, which is complicated.

At a glance

‘An Evening With Carrie Fisher’

Actress, writer and mental-health advocate Carrie Fisher will speak and receive the Kim Peek Award for Disability in Media.

When » Friday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.

Where » Jeanné Wagner Theatre, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City.

Tickets » $50, at ArtTix outlets.

VIP tickets » $150, also at ArtTix; include a pre-event private reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Valter’s Osteria, 173 W. 300 South (the former Metropolitan).

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You mention in the play that your own physical image is something you don’t have control over, because your likeness has been sold to George Lucas. Is doing the play and speaking out a way to take it back a bit, to reclaim it?

I will never obscure Princess Leia. Never. What I am is Princess Leia’s Dorian Gray, and I’m the painting in the closet. And that’s a tough thing to be, because when people talk about you on the Internet or whatever, they talk about how bad the painting looks. My "before" is so much more out there than my "after," and I am absolutely dwarfed by that — defeated by that, disabled by that.

Was there a point where you realized that Princess Leia would be the first line of your obituary, no matter what else you accomplished in your life?

Yeah, sure, that was early. It’s like if I were Minnie Mouse, if there was actually a human being that was Minnie Mouse. I can’t not be her. So you might as well be her, then, as long as it doesn’t have to be all the time.

At home, I have a figurine of Princess Leia — it came from a Burger King kid’s meal, inside a larger R2-D2 figure.

They have some amazing merchandising stuff. That stuff has to be funny. What else could it be, honestly? Why go to war with it? I’m a stamp. I’m a perfume. I’m a strain of marijuana. How many people can say that?

There’s this pattern with celebrities, like William Shatner or David Hasselhoff, where they try to pull away from an iconic image, but they later embrace it and take it for camp value.

You might as well. You don’t really have a choice. Well, you do — your choice is to be miserable or amused. What would you pick?


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Is there anything about "Star Wars" that nobody asked you about and you wondered why they didn’t?

I didn’t know until last night that there was a hardcore porno film of "Star Wars." I’m surprised nobody told me that sooner. And I didn’t know until today that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West dressed up as Princess Leia and a stormtrooper.

It comes up almost every day. You’ll hear some reference to those movies. Somebody will say something pertaining to "the dark side," or quoting Yoda, or whatever it will be. It’s just become part of the culture, part of the vernacular.

I don’t even have to specifically pay attention to it. It’s like getting Google alerts. Literally, once a day, my grid will light up with someone saying something that relates to those movies, whether I read it or hear it or see it on television.

Your telling of your own story reminds me of the Nora Ephron quote, that "everything is copy," that all life can be material.

It is if you’re a certain type of person. It is if you’re an archaeologist and you’re stuck in your own pit.

movies@sltrib.com

Twitter: @moviecricket

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