Star Wars: Angus MacInnes Is Gold Leader – VIDEO
For an actor whose most memorable line from Star Wars is, quite possibly, “Loosen up!” Angus MacInnes, who played Gold Leader — a.k.a. Jon “Dutch” Vander — in both Star Wars: A New Hope and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, knows the value of being malleable.
After all, he is the consummate professional (actor and Rebel pilot).
“You learn early on to roll with it,” he said, explaining his thinking as an actor when George Lucas asked him to play his Star Wars (1977) lines in order. Not in sequence.
Gold Leader, Standing By
“Before this, I had done a lot of theatre; a lot of Shakespeare,” he added, noting the disparity in situations.
But back in 1976, MacInnes found himself in a space opera, in the “cockpit” of something called a Y-wing, in a film directed by an auteur.
Oh, and actors like Harrison Ford and Alec Guinness were around somewhere. Not to mention future legends like Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill.
“I said, ‘Well usually we have a cue,'” explained MacInnes to Lucas when George noticed his trepidation. “And I’ve learned my lines with a cue.”
But, no doubt budget in mind, George said, “No no. We don’t want that. We just want you to do YOUR lines.”
“And that’s where the nightmare began…I was sort of out to sea,” said Angus with a rueful laugh. “So we just wound up reading them.
“The acting part came in where people don’t think I am reading it.”
A Job To Do….
And, in Episode IV, you can see Gold Leader looking around his cockpit (sweaty from flying; reading his lines).
However, it created a sort of authenticity. It was as if Gold Leader was looking at all of his instruments, “preparing for the attack run.”
“You just get to a point where you understand that you have to do a job,” said the veteran actor, whose many non-SW credits include:
- The Black Dahlia
- Hellboy (2004)
- Judge Dredd
- Gross Anatomy
- Strange Brew
- Superman II
- Force 10 From Navarone
But, as I am sure MacInnes has surmised, he’s best known for flying (and dying) above the Death Star.
Gold Leader Forever
“There was a task to be done, and we had a timeframe,” added Angus of his short time in the Y-wing cockpit. “And I could see that everyone was getting a little bit tight.
“And I thought let’s just get out of this…”
Funny how the above quote works in the context of both the real world and the film.
Moreover, I find that the more “Rebel Pilots” I interview or research, the more I enjoy how “human” they all are; how much their realness adds to the films. You really care about them, no matter how much time they have on screen.
Anyway, I found my second interview with MacInnes — this time over Zoom speaking to him from the UK — reinforced much that I had learned in my first appointment: he is funny, generous, and amazingly entertaining, and enlightening.
I’m sure you will, too.
Have a watch and enjoy, Angus MacInnes, talk about his time as Gold Leader (Interview is PG-13 for language):
Thanks to my forever wingman Jonathan Gotlib for the above Star Wars-specific cut. For the full 48-minute opus, interviewing Mr. MacInnes alongside my good friend Robin Vogt from Brick City Blockade, click here. For my previous piece with Mr. MacInnes, click here.
Next Up? Benjamin Hartley – Cadet Harb Binli from Rogue One. Our last time out, we talked about Bill Hootkins – Jek Porkins from Star Wars: