Tag Archives: Bounty Hunter

Dominic Pace – His Star Wars Story

Bounty Hunting…it’s a complicated profession and leaves you with endless career opportunities. For example, do you bring them in warm or do you bring them in cold? Here’s hoping if you ever get the choice, you make the right decision. Afterall, this is the way…

We have ourselves another Bounty Hunter interview here. Following our chat with Chris Parson’s 4-LOM we go a lot more recent to Dominic Pace, star of more TV shows than Darth Vader has killed younglings!

What’s his favourite part? You can likely guess as he is on a quest now to get The Mandalorian’s “Gekko” immortalised as an action figure and rightly so, as he like so many of the Bounty Hunters before him looks frankly, very cool. Anyway, this site is about his Star Wars story and well, there’s only one way to end this introduction…I have spoken.

Delighted to speak to you Dominic and you are the first actor we are speaking to from The Mandalorian which is very exciting. Hope you are doing well through this difficult time for the world?

It’s a situation where we can all complain but the first thing I think about is those who are really facing financial hardships, so we have to think ourselves lucky. I’ve been on over 100 TV shows so the residuals coming from that are really helpful.

In some respects I feel lucky. This year was supposed to be crazy for me I was even unlikely to catch one of my son’s baseball games, but this has meant that we slowed down and we’ve seen the positives, too, and been reminded about what the most important things are in life.

You’ve obviously had The Mandalorian keeping you busy recently. I have read a lot of your Star Wars interviews and it seems you are a bit of a super fan, is that right?

You can check out a 1998 video on YouTube where I was showing my Star Wars collection on Entertainment Tonight (link at the end folks!). I’m the real deal! I don’t have the “Last 17” figure set, which is very rare, but the vintage collection meant so much to me as a child, the music of John Williams, the original trilogy generally has a really deep spot in my heart, especially The Empire Strikes Back.

How big is it for you personally to end up on a show of this size as a Bounty Hunter?

It’s ironic as I’ve done a lot of shows as a principal actor, but this wasn’t about that. This for me was for the Star Wars fan experience. It’s a childhood dream come true, but to add to that it’s a one of a kind species, a one-of-a-kind bounty hunter, and it’s pretty action-figure worthy. That was my hope this year that Hasbro and Funko Pop would be inspired by this character and turn him into a figure.

I did a make-up test for six hours with Brian Sipe and I was told that I’d get the most extensive make up as I’d had a lot of patience, and that’s how Gekko was formed. It’s a nickname for the character and it was inspired because of a gecko-like mark in the centre of the head. That made it really special for me, being unique.

Gekko flanks Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) as they try to stop The Mandalorian

Tell us how you got the part of Gekko in The Mandalorian.

It came as a result of previous prosthetic experience. I had just come off doing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doing extensive prosthetics to be a Kree and other roles. It doesn’t take an enormous amount of talent but you can’t be on your phone, you cant be too chatty when you are in the make-up chair and I have always been genuine, that’s always been my calling card in my career.

There was no promise of any work after initial tests but I got a phone call where they wanted me to do a screen test where they would put me in some make-up and the project name was “Huckleberry”. I began signing some of the paperwork where it said Lucasfilm, and even at that point I wasn’t 100% convinced as they have their hand in a lot of projects. It wasn’t until I went into the wardrobe room – any Star Wars fan would have been able to relate to the pictures on the wall – and what really made my hands numb was seeing a rack of clothes with my name and “Bounty Hunter”. One had these fake dreadlocks and another had this Boba Fett-like narrow visor, and ultimately I heard that due to the make-up test they wanted to work with my head.

It was a really special moment because here you have a situation that any Star Wars fan would die to have. It’s an awkward situation, too, with Brian, because how do you thank someone in a professional situation that’s beyond anything you could have asked for, especially as a fan? We email back and forth every now and then and all I could tell Brian was, “Thank you so much.”

Personally, what would you say is your best story from working on The Mandalorian?

I have a few if that’s okay. The first day I am walking into the cantina in full costume and I lean against the bar and a few feet away is Jon Favreau talking to George Lucas, and this is a professional environment not a meet and greet at a comic con. This was my job, and to be stood next to these two legends meant so much.

The dream of many Star Wars fans will be to choose from 20 or 30 blasters. The fact that I was one of the first Bounty Hunters to get to this table and pick my own blaster was beyond words.

The third was involving Deborah Chow, who will be heading up the Obi-Wan series. She selected me to continue in the Cantina scene and I was fortunate because that could have been it after I was in a few shots. It’s everyone’s dream to be a part of the action, and – I do hope there is an extended cut of this – I got to be a part of the stand-off. When you are an actor doing a scene it takes complete concentration, the rest of the universe goes away and you aren’t looking at the camera man or the lights, and I’m staring down The Mandalorian with a blaster in my hand. It took me back to being a kid again. Those three stories in particular, I can’t choose one, but the entire ten-day experience was just beyond words.

Gekko art by Jay Manchand (@JayManchandArt on Twitter)

You have mentioned the action figures a bit and that side of The Mandalorian hasn’t been developed too much yet. Is your hope to be an action figure?

You are right and I heard from a few sources it will be pushed now, but who knows? It’s been pushed back a lot with what’s going on in the world. I can’t tell you how frustrating that part is, but I heard that they want to extend the line out. They are in place because of exactly what we you have mentioned to me, a lot of the fans like these unique side characters and they were my favourites, so that is what certainly makes it sentimental for me. That’s the ultimate dream, to have a Gekko figure kids can play with.

Obviously for you it’s very fresh, but I’ve been interviewing a lot of people for this site now and the interest created in these side characters that have less than a minute of screen time is huge. Even Boba Fett himself has a limited amount, and we become captivated by characters like that. What are your thoughts on that as a fan, and as an actor who has just played a similar part?

I think it’s a compliment to George Lucas. I think if other storytellers knew what pulled on heart strings like that then they would do it, too. I have had featured or principal parts in these big famous crime dramas like NCIS…why does that not stick to the wall? The fact Star Wars has these guys going on tour for 30-40 years being an ambassador to the brand is a testament to what George Lucas created. Somebody in England has already named their kid Gekko, which I shared on my page!

Originally Bounty Hunters had a very small part of the first trilogy, but with The Mandalorian they have essentially been given their own show. What’s your take on why Bounty Hunters specifically are so popular in Star Wars?

A lot to be said about the mystery and the look, sometimes less is more. The job in general, being a Bounty Hunter is pretty cool, but a lot of credit has to go to the designers. We love the lightsabres and blasters, but the look of characters like Zuckuss, 4-LOM and Dengar makes them very action-figure worthy and the stories of them take on a life of their own once kids start to play with them.

I think I can guess the answer to this question. You’ve said you appeared on over 100 TV shows, but having a look through your career to date where does working on The Mandalorian sit in all of that?

It really is number one! I’m 44 and when I grew up in the 80’s the reason I got involved in this business was ultimately to entertain. Sitting in that movie theatre and watching the work of Spielberg, Lucas and Zemeckis on the big screen and saying I wanted to be a part of that. The Mandalorian, as much as I am a side character, it takes the cake of my entire career as it represents the innocent escapism to entertain and bring that joy.

Can we expect the return of Gekko or are there any plans to add to the character?

Ethan Sacks and Paolo Villanelli, who work as illustrators for Marvel, have shown some interest in the look of the character. There has not been a 100% promise, however Ethan has reached out and said hang tight, and that’s about all I can say right now. There’s a new comic out called “Star Wars Bounty Hunters” which I recommend, whether Gekko gets seen or not, but there’s a chance we get more of his story there. I have to thank the fans for keeping him going and making custom Gekko figures. If you go on my Facebook page, “Lair of the Gekko”, you can follow what we are doing there.

Dominic is indeed the real deal. You can check out his Star Wars collection which was featured on Entertainment Tonight back in 1998 by clicking here.

Keep checking back for more Star Wars Stories and until the next time, I’ll be there for you…Cassian said I had to.

Chris Parsons – His Star Wars Story

I am wondering why are you here? Because you are looking for another Star Wars story? Found one you have, I would say! This story has quite the price on its head, too

The Empire Strikes Back brought with it a group that would change Star Wars folklore in a very short amount of screen time, the Bounty Hunters.

A mysterious group, their scene with Darth Vader presented a threatening and engaging line-up and made for one of the most memorable scenes in The Empire Strikes Back. Contrary to Admiral Piett, we did need their scum. Among them was 4-LOM, played by our new guest Chris Parsons who not only featured in that role but had multiple other appearances within Star Wars, including acting as a double for C-3PO!

What does a feared Bounty Hunter and a lovable interpreter have to tell us about his time in Star Wars? We better get straight to it! Chris thanks so much for speaking to us, how did your involvement in Star Wars come about all those years ago?

It all came as somewhat of a surprise. Having done what I now believe to be pick-up shots on the original, I was asked to attend an audition at EMI Elstree with no indication of what it was for. When I arrived at the studios, I was shown into a dressing room and on the bed was the costume of C-3PO. The production wanted someone to play a double for Anthony Daniels’ character on The Empire Strikes Back.

Other artists had tried before me and either didn’t fit in all of the costume or mostly could not deal with the head pieces being screwed together, which made it impossible to get the costume off without any help. I decided then and there that this costume would not beat me, and I subsequently got into it with the head secure.

I then perfected the walk and learned to do the voice of what is now the iconic C-3PO. As filming progressed, I must have proved my worth to the second assistant directors (Roy Button and Steve Lanning) as the two of them allowed me to portray ten roles in total over the original three films, one of these was the Bounty Hunter 4-LOM who has been very good to me. Without a doubt, I owe my current privileged fan interest to be down to Roy and Steve, who were in my opinion the two best in the business at the time, and both have gone on to great achievements.

Chris as E-3PO

You had a lot of involvement in it and Empire is one of the biggest films of all time. How do you feel about appearing in that now that you look back on it?

At the time of filming Empire, I think everyone working on it felt it was something special to follow the original, but I had no idea quite how big a following this film would attract over the many years since its release.

Apart from the actors, of course, it was down to the crew and in particular the magical director that was Irvin Kershner, who is sadly missed, so of course the fact that I was involved in this film portraying many characters is a sense of great satisfaction to me.

What would you say is your best story from working on Star Wars?

One of my best stories involves the late, great Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. During the filming of The Empire Strikes Back, I was wearing an all-in-one black leotard which was the base clothing I wore when portraying C-3PO or my other droids. I had left one of the stages and was on my way to a dressing room up a flight of stairs. I was near the top when Carrie and Mark, who were on the way down, thought it would be funny to mess around with someone they knew, a young teenager dressed in only a black leotard.

Their plan was to try and de-bag me. They laughed as they set about their evil task and I fought them off with vigour, conscious of the fact that these two people were leading actors in the film and if I had hurt them in any way, there would have been hell to pay and I probably would have got the sack! I’m pleased to report that I won the day with my garment left intact.

I doubt many can say they’ve been attacked by Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia; they must have been wonderful to be around. One of your more famous characters, 4-LOM, has built up quite a cult following, as have so many of the Bounty Hunters. Have you followed his story in other mediums?

I’ve read about 4-LOM in the paperback books and look forward to seeing if he appears in the new Mandalorian series. This new series is of great interest to me and I would like to reprise the role of 4-LOM if the opportunity came my way.

Chris has spoken, Jon Favreau, let’s get it done! Do you own many of his action figures?

Around my home I am fortunate to have I think at least one of all the various 4-LOM figures made, although I’m sure a few have escaped me!

Does working on Star Wars make you want to continue working in that genre, or branch out more?

Working on Science Fiction films is enjoyable but when you play the type of characters I did, they do not really test you as an actor. It would be interesting for me, now that I am a lot older and more experienced with life, if I could play a hard man in a similar way to someone like Vinnie Jones or Ross Kemp.

There would probably be a market for 4-LOM in Afghanistan or 4-LOM’s Football Factory, regardless I think it would be great to see more of you. You’ve been in some terrific non-Star Wars films including Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Shining. What has been your favourite film to work on outside of that galaxy?

I have been very lucky to have been involved in some other extraordinary films even with my personal limited exposure. One can sometimes sense that the film will be of interest to the fan base, such as Yentl, whereas others I have worked on seem to have lacked that all-important spark of interest.

Aside from Star Wars, one of the most enjoyable films I’ve been involved with is another classic, Quadrophenia. I was in various locations with different scenes and you could really get into the character you were playing.

Sounds like we would need a whole new interview for that! To finish up, do you have further acting plans? 

I have my own business interests but seeing as fans at conventions kept asking me if I had any interest in future acting, I’ve decided to renew my acting memberships and acquire a new agent with a view of securing new parts.

Keep an eye out for Chris in the future – we will keep our fingers crossed for an appearance in The Mandalorian, with hopefully no disintegrations.

Working with an established artist, Chris has commissioned an exclusive 18″x 12″ limited edition 40th Anniversary print of 4-LOM, which would have been available at conventions, you can contact Chris directly here if you are interested in adding this to your Bounty Hunter collection!

Keep checking back for more Star Wars Stories and until the next time, I’ll be there for you…Cassian said I had to.