Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher Review


Apparently Carrie Fisher recently found the diaries she kept while filming the first Star Wars movie and has decided to publish them – how fortuitous given Star Wars is back! 

It’s pretty thin on material for a memoir. The only really memorable piece of info is Fisher’s confirmation that she had an affair with her co-star, Harrison Ford, who was married at the time and 15 years her senior. I haven’t read any of Fisher’s previous memoirs so I can’t say whether she’s repeating herself here but I thought some of the behind-the-scenes Star Wars stuff was pretty interesting. 

She auditioned for both George Lucas and Brian de Palma at the same time for Princess Leia and Carrie, some scenes with Peter Mayhew (who played Chewie) had to be rewritten as he couldn’t lift anything due to his extraordinary height (7 feet), and it took 2 hours to do her iconic Leia hair. The excitement a very young Carrie Fisher had about being in foreign England in the ‘70s and working on this strange space fantasy is palpable too. 

The headline-grabbing affair with Ford though is weak sauce. She confirms what most people already knew about him: he’s about as interesting as a plank of wood. Have you ever seen an interview with the man? Duller than dull. He’s a personality vacuum; a quiet, boring stoner who barely speaks or exhibits emotion. Their affair wasn’t that interesting either. He was trapped in a failing marriage (he would divorce two years after Star Wars was released) and the two were both lonely and horny, hooking up on weekends and smoking weed. 

Fisher says she smoked so much of Ford’s potent weed that she’s all but forgotten most of the detail of their time together – what a cop-out! They carried on like that for the duration of filming and ended the affair when they returned to the States. Zzz… 

The actual diaries themselves take up about a fifth of the book (and it’s not a long book!) and is easily the worst part of it. They read like most teen diaries, full of insecurity and melodrama, only Fisher fancied herself a poet too so there is a ton of bad, cringey poetry also included. The book closes out with an extensive and totally pointless chapter (coughpaddingcough) where Fisher complains about how she makes her lucrative living signing autographs for losers at cons – that really is the impression you get of how she views her fans. The tone is condescending and bitter even though she’s aware that without Star Wars she’d be unknown and penniless - what an ungrateful, miserable bitch! 

Fisher’s writing style is very chatty but almost manic a lot of the time. She’s also under the false impression that she’s hilarious but her “jokes” are really bad – like open mic night bad. She calls signing autographs at cons “celebrity lap dances” and makes outdated references and then tells you the references are outdated. Ha… ha? It becomes really tiresome, really quickly. 

I enjoyed the details on the actual Star Wars shoot but most of the book, especially the Carrison affair, was utterly boring. Readers looking for juicy deets on the affair won’t find them here and online articles have already picked out the relevant bits so most people won’t have to read this book for that anyway. All that’s left are the tedious ramblings of a sad, mad old woman capitalising once more on some mega-popular movies she was in a long, long time ago, reminding everyone that she was once relevant while desperately trying to remember what it felt like to be attractive.

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