She was just 19 when she was cast in the role of Princess Leia in the original 1977 Star Wars movie, but before she became an icon, the late Carrie Fisher had to audition for the part
Before she became an icon as Princess Leia, the late Carrie Fisher had to audition for the part. In a leaked audition tape, the actress and author can be seen reading for the role in the original 1977 Star Wars movie alongside star Harrison Ford. She was just 19 at the time.
Ford, then-33, was a far more experienced actor with 10 years of acting experience, including a breakout role in American Graffiti. Fisher had only one big-screen credit — a small role in 1975’s Shampoo, filmed when she was just 17 years old.
But in watching the tape, it’s clear Fisher wasn’t at all intimidated. She held her own against Ford in the reading and showed signs of the fearless Leia we’d all come to know and love.
There’s also a lot of chemistry between Fisher and Ford — chemistry that transferred onscreen and off. Their two characters, Han Solo and Princess Leia, would fall for one another in the film — and the two actors would have a a whirlwind love affair on the set.
“It was so intense,” she previously explained to PEOPLE. “It was Han and Leia during the week, and Carrie and Harrison during the weekend.”
While writing her latest book The Princess Diarist, Fisher stumbled upon her old, often angst-ridden journals that she kept while filming on location in London. She said she felt the time had come to open up about the formative experience.
“It’s been 40 years!” she told PEOPLE. “I didn’t say anything to anybody for years but it’s not like anyone’s deeply affected by it anymore.”
Fisher, 60, was aboard an 11-hour flight from London to Los Angeles on Friday when she went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics removed her from the flight and rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for a heart attack. She later died in the hospital.
After her death, Ford mourned her loss.
“Carrie was one-of-a-kind…brilliant, original,” he said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Funny and emotionally fearless. She lived her life, bravely… My thoughts are with her daughter Billie, her mother Debbie, her brother Todd, and her many friends. We will all miss her.”
Fisher is survived by mother Debbie Reynolds and daughter Billie Lourd.