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Robert Englund is probably a name that people closely identify with nightmares more than dreams, thanks to his long-standing association with the Nightmare on Elm Street series of movies. It turns out, however, that the former Freddy Krueger is also the man to thank for Star Wars as we know it today.
Talking to Yahoo! Movies, Englund explained that not only had he unsuccessfully auditioned for the role of Han Solo in George Lucas’ first space fantasy, but that he was also responsible for Mark Hamill trying out for the role of Luke Skywalker in the first place.
“I went home [from the audition] and told a little kid that was sleeping on my couch, after a six-pack of Heineken, all about [Star Wars], and his name was Mark Hamill,” the actor recalled. “I said, ‘Hey, Lucas is doing this space movie. Maybe you’re right for it.’”
His suggestion wasn’t based on any Force-like intuition about the movie, however. “The lead guy’s like a teenager, and Mark was playing teenagers then — Mark was playing high school kids, still,” Englund said. “Mark got on the phone to his agent, and I think he went up the next day. He nailed it, and the rest is history.”
After the revelation of this strange piece of movie history — made all the more surreal by the fact that Englund himself only ended up in the Star Wars audition because it was across the hall from auditions for Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now — we can only hope that someone, somewhere, is already working on fan-fiction where Luke Skywalker meets Freddy Krueger and feels as if he owes him a debt but can’t quite figure out why.
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