Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Late Year-End Update

date posted: Jan 08, 2006 4:42 PM edit

Hey everyone.

Sorry for the lack of updates recently, I've been working and working.

2005 - summary:
General stuff.
Many actors were added to the Star Wars Actors Database this year and the grand total as of January 7, 2006 is 862. Many more are still in the pipeline.

Hundreds of references were added to the references pages, hovering in the 7,000 range. Over 730,000 visits were made to the site throughout 2005, more than I ever could have imagined. In the early days I was excited if 2 or 3 people visited.

Much of what I added in 2005 was from the actors themselves (many of whom I still remain in contact with), their assistance was and is invaluable. Other submissions came from all over the world (Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, UK, Belgium, Spain, China (Hong Kong), Russia, Canada and others) throughout the year and I thank everyone for being so kind and for being generous of their time and help.

~~
Celebration III was a complete blast and the snow was an interesting sideline. I met some terrific people, hung out with old and new friends. Meeting neat people along the way, bumping into Star Wars alum throughout the halls (see pics of CIII here), being interviewed by Sky Wilson for a documentary on Star Wars fans, called George and Me (trailer is finally out now, the doc will be out sometime later this year), saw my grandfather for the second time in 30 odd years (he met his great grandson and they got along famously), enjoyed seeing George Lucas...I sat in the front row but to the side for the first presentation.
Jay Laga'iaia was a great host as well being very easy on the eyes. The events kept me entertained and I simply enjoyed every minute. Well, except for a few interesting moments with my 2 year old son.

~~
Revenge of the Sith - what's there to say that hasn't been said already. I enjoyed watching this film. It was a delightful beginning to the summer and continued to please almost 'til the beginning of Fall (I love the dollar theatre!) I saw the film in Santa Barbara a few times with all my friends (who live there still), then went to Los Angeles to see it digitally (very nice), then viewed it here in town several times.

I loved the Boga, Grievous, Tion Meddon, Obi-Wan's sense of humor, Yoda and the Emperor (was it me or did Palpy enjoy that far too much?), Anakin and Padmé's highly dysfunctional relationship (it ain't love or a family reunion unless somebody cries), the great fight on Mustafar (poor Obi-Wan he went through the emotional ringer) and...of course, Anakin to Darth Vader....likey, likey.

~~
ComicCon was a good bridge for the mid-summer blues (it was a record-setting hot week for July in the desert) and San Diego is the perfect remedy, nice and cool. I would have liked to have stayed for the whole weekend but had to drive home to work each day and just couldn't swing it on Sunday.

I overstayed my welcome while visiting with Cynthia Cummens, Randy Martinez and Justin Chung...the solitary lifestyle of an artist in the deep of a very hot summer came through too vividly. *chuckles*
Come to think of it I probably scared off Daniel Logan and Matthew Wood as well...poor dears. (see pics of Comic-Con here)

~~
December brought a surprise interview. Bonnie Burton was kind enough to ask me if I wouldn't mind being interviewed for Featured Blog at StarWars.com. I gladly accepted and I'm so very grateful to have been chosen for such an honor.

Shortly after I was asked for that interview I was asked for another interview, this time by Mark Newbold of Lightsabre.co.uk. He asked me to be the first interviewee for their Star Wars webmaster series for the new year, look for it on January 14, 2006. I'm looking forward to seeing the following interviews with the other webmasters.

I thank both Ms. Burton and Mr. Newbold for their kindness, their great questions, for making me feel at ease and for giving me the opportunity to share my love of Star Wars with everyone.

~~
The Future for Nerf-Herders Anonymous holds more additions to the SWAD...yep, that upcoming Star Wars TV project! With the actors I've got lined up the SWAD should read more than 1000 individuals. Unbelievable.

Beyond the databases I have several projects on the Horizon for NHA.n, one of which involves Ewoks. I don't expect that to be ready for quite some time...hoping to pull it off by year's end. And there will be other surprises as well, at least I hope to offer some surprises.

I can't wait to share!

~~
Personally I had a rather rough year. Undeterred, I continued to *work (Pets Illustrated) as usual and get on with life.

Work, and my son, have been steady sources of joy for me yet, I have found...am finding, balancing the scales of child-rearing/life and freelance illustration is not easy by any stretch. Tired is an understatement but it doesn't fully hit me until my nose hits the drawing board at 4 am.

*Beyond Pets Illustrated I worked diligently to make a deadline (Oct) for the La Quinta Arts Festival I powered it out and made it early. I found out a month later that I'd been juried in...aren't waits torture? The show spans 4 days in mid March 2006. I have much work yet to do before then but I'm very excited.


Highlights
~~
A few actor highlights:
I discovered the voice of Salacious B. Crumb, that cackle belonged to, Mark Dodson. After the discovery I was able to interview him. He gave a great interview and some serious bonus extras to boot. A funny and great guy.

~~
We solved a mystery of who the original Captain Antilles was in ANH - Peter Geddis

~~
The most bankable/marketable Star Wars stars (from a list of other, non SW related stars) were: Christopher Lee, who was considered to be the most bankable star of 2005 that's a mighty accomplishment from an octogenarian, Ewan McGregor and Samuel L. Jackson.

In a similar list (IMDB - most searched actor/actress) the most popular stars (picking out only Star Wars related, again) were Keira Knightly (8) followed by Natalie Portman (9).

James Earl Jones made more headlines, with substance (not a trace of gossip), than any other Star Wars star. He's constantly on the move and working. He works very hard speaking at schools, etc., to get children to keep reading. He had time to fit in a Broadway play as well, taking the lead role of Norman Thayer Jr., in On Golden Pond.

Ewan McGregor starred in Guys and Dolls in London.John Lithgow starred in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Broadway which was very popular and garnered him a Tony nomination for the performance and shoed him into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Jonathan Pryce will be taking over Lithgow's part this year.

Natalie Portman shaved her head for the role of Evey Hammond in V for Vendetta coming out this March and made an appearance at Comic Con in San Diego in July.

Peter Mayhew became a US citizen - Arlington, TX.

Bai Ling (Senator Bana Breemu ROTS - deleted scenes) "sang" on TV's But Can They Sing?, very "interesting." Not that this is a "highlight" but it was different. Note: The words Bai Ling mean a type of Chinese mushroom but her name is actually Ling Bai.

We saw Deep Roy (Droopy McCool/Ewok - ROTJ; R2-D2 stand-in ESB/ROTJ) - in a truly unforgettable role as an Oompa Loompa (well, Oompa Loompas) in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A role for which he trained for months to get just right. Amazing.

Books:
Tim Dry: Falling Upwards (autobiography)

John Lithgow:
Ladies or Gentlemen: A Pictorial History of Male Cross-Dressing in the Movies (introduction)Marsupial Sue Presents the Runaway Pancake (children's book)
Boredom Blasters: Halloween Edition (parent/child activity book)

John Coppinger: Tertiary (Sci-Fi novel)

George Lucas was covered in Michael Rubin's George Lucas: Droidmaker

Steven Sansweet: Star Wars Poster Book (with Pete Vilmer)

J.W. Rinzler: The Art of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith & The Making Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Carrie Fisher announced that she would release her Star Wars diaries at some point in the future.

Music/recorded performances:
Sean Crawford and Tim Dry (as Tik and Tok) put out a teaser CD for their upcoming album. First in 20 years.

Cree Summer released an album

Grey DeLisle released an album

Hamilton Camp finished an album (his last before passing) which looks to be released this year.

James Earl Jones used his incredible voice on two CDs:
The American Christmas Carol (as narrator)
Golden Slumbers, A Father's Love (as reader/participant)

David Warner had a performance (from a past production) on The Essential Shakespeare Live as did Lindsay Duncan.

Awards and nominations:
Adam Arkin
Samuel L. Jackson
James Earl Jones
Harrison Ford
Keira Knightly
John Lithgow
George Lucas
Ian McDiarmid
Ewan McGregor
Liam Neeson
Natalie Portman
Phil Tippett
Matthew Wood

And, finally, those Star Wars actors who became one with the Force in 2005:
Long John Baldry - Ewok voices (Ewoks TV)
Hamilton Camp - Rune Haako/TIE Bomber Pilot (Galactic Battegrounds)
Stephen Elliott - voice of Prestor (Bail Organa) (ANH Radio Drama)
John Hollis - Lobot - Lando's Aide (ESB)
William Hootkins - Jek Porkins (ANH)
Brock Peters - Lord Darth Vader (ANH, ESB, ROTJ Radio Drama)
Charles Rocket - Nym (Star Fighter)
Michael Sheard - Admiral Ozzel (ESB)

Thanks to everyone!
LM

9 comments:

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

janlomona
Smugglers Rants

date Posted: Jan 08, 2006 10:42 PM
Wow Leah, what a great article, and many thanks for the namecheck. Only 6 days to go until it goes live!

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

cestus183

date Posted: Jan 09, 2006 3:00 AM
That's a wonderful entry, i cud never figure out how u do ur research...happy for McGregor abt the awards
the part about Bai Ling's name: the particular character Ling means quick, agile and witty. Bai is the surname, translated literally is white. i dont know abt the mushroom part

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

NerfHerdersAnonymous
Life, the Star Wars Universe and Everything

date Posted: Jan 09, 2006 3:06 AM
No prob, Mark Countdown! Woohoo!

Thank you cestus.

"i cud never figure out how u do ur research"
I read a LOT.

"i dont know abt the mushroom part"
Just a type of mushroom.
I'd heard that about her names, the literal meanings that is. Thank you!

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

janlomona
Smugglers Rants

date Posted: Jan 09, 2006 10:27 AM
That's true, my name apparently means "Special Person" in Swaheli.
Although I'm not quite sure what they mean by `special'...

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

cestus183

date Posted: Jan 10, 2006 3:00 AM
oh and can u please provide the picture u use for Ewan's page (not the Obi one, the Ewan one) , it's a really cool one, thanks
No prob for the name, I'm studying the Chinese language

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

NerfHerdersAnonymous
Life, the Star Wars Universe and Everything

date Posted: Jan 10, 2006 11:23 AM
can u please provide the picture u use for Ewan's page
I'm not sure what you are asking.


my name apparently means "Special Person" in Swaheli.
That's interesting. Mine means "grassy meadow"

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

cestus183

date Posted: Jan 11, 2006 3:28 AM
i mean the picture on Ewan's page on your website, ya know when the cursor moves over his photo, it switches to Obi-Wan? I really want the first one, can you please like provide a link or something? Thanks

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

NerfHerdersAnonymous
Life, the Star Wars Universe and Everything

date Posted: Jan 11, 2006 3:50 AM
I know which picture. I didn't understand what you were asking about it.

Google it under ' "Ewan McGregor" SWAD ' There you can click the pic for the link.

LM

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

cestus183

date Posted: Jan 13, 2006 2:27 AM
thanks really appreciate it and MTFBWY