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C-3PO star: 'Making Star Wars was not a comfortable experience for any of us.'

Polite, well-spoken, a bit fussy, a tad bothered: As it turns out, Anthony Daniels has a lot in common with C-3PO, the prissy protocol droid the Brit has played in all six installments of George Lucas' Star Wars saga.

That said, the 63-year-old actor is also inherently cool, especially when he casually calls his golden alter ego "3PO," as if they're old pals hanging at the corner pub.

On Sunday at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Daniels will be representin' the galaxy at Star Wars: In Concert, a multimedia blend of music, film and special effects that retell the story of Darth Vader & Co.

Because they are fluent in over 6 million forms of dork, Stuck in the '80s shut-ins Sean Daly and Steve Spears pulled on their homemade stormtrooper outfits and interviewed Daniels about the concert, the saga and how it once seemed like a really bad idea dressing up as a droid.

After hearing your voice, Anthony, we're officially getting wicked nerd chills about C-3PO coming to Tampa.

It won't be my first time in Tampa. Years ago, I dressed as 3PO in the middle of a huge stage presentation with lasers and smoke and an enormous box of Kellogg's C-3POs. I came out of the back of it. I was a breakfast cereal for a time.

Yeah! We totally ate you!

And you survived!

And thrived! We wish we could eat a big bowl before this Sunday's massive Star Wars extravaganza.

That's a good word for it. You have a huge stage with a full orchestra of 86 people. Behind them, there's about 100 singers in a choir. And behind them is a three-story, 100-foot LED screen. We have physical onstage effects, but I don't want to tell you about them. I don't want to destroy the shock value.

And you're the narrator?

Yes, then we have me, walking out on stage in a lounge suit. I won't be there in my gold suit, I'm afraid. I tell the story of Star Wars from the beginning, when the galaxy was a wonderful place, right through to the end where Darth Vader has been redeemed through the love of his son.

Do fans come dressed up? If we come as a couple of wookiees, will we feel out of place?

Even if you came dressed as Princess Leia, I don't think you'd feel out of place. I love it when people come dressed up. Just put away your lightsaber during the music because it's irritating to other people around you.

You made the first film in the franchise more than three decades ago. You were a serious stage actor. Was it a little awkward?

Making Star Wars was not a comfortable experience for any of us. It was hard work. It was confusing. There were tensions. Nobody thought it would be a proper movie.

Did your co-stars feel the same way?

Mark Hamill and I would go through lines in the car and I remember saying, "How can you say this drivel with a straight face?" And he said, "Well, look at what you have to say." I said, "But I have a mask on. None of my friends know I'm in this movie." Some of the lines were absolutely wince-making. We were all wrong. George was all right.

How often do see George Lucas?

I saw George a few days ago in Anaheim. And we smiled. When he came to the premiere in London, he came backstage for (intermission) and stayed with me. We talked about how neither he or I could be a fan of Star Wars because we made the films. We know what they're all about.

Your acting career mainly revolves around one character. Does that bother you?

There are times in my life when I've sort of doubted my involvement in Star Wars and whether it was a good thing. And then a kind of epiphany took over and I realized that it's a wonderful thing. The enjoyment and affection of the audience over the years gives you a really good feeling.

Sean Daly's Pop Life blog is at blogs.tampabay.com/popmusic. Steve Spears' Stuck in the '80s blog is at blogs.tampabay.com/80s.

If you go

Star Wars: In Concert

Sunday, 4 p.m., St. Pete Times Forum. 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-6500. Tickets $32.25, $52.25 and $72.25. Go to www.starwarsinconcert.com for a video preview.

C-3PO star: 'Making Star Wars was not a comfortable experience for any of us.' 10/29/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 29, 2009 9:56pm]

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