Thanks to this morning’s Black List announcement, we know there’s a movie in the works about David Prowse titled Strongman. Now, the name David Prowse may not ring a bell, but trust me, you’ve seen him before. How am I so sure? Well, for starters, he physically played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. So… was I right?
Written by Nicholas Jacobson-Larson and Dalton Leeb, Strongman earned eight votes on the 2017 Black List, which chronicles the best unproduced screenplays each year. The script is based on the confusing, sometimes offensive, borderline-insane memories of Prowse, the irascible Englishman behind Darth Vader’s mask.
Before he was cast in Star Wars, Prowse was known to most Brits as the first Green Cross Code man, a superhero character used in British road safety advertising aimed at children. He was also a weightlifting champion (so strong he was said to be able to rip a phonebook in half) who helped train Christopher Reeve for the role of Superman. As an actor, he also appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and played Frankenstein’s monster in three films, including 1967’s Casino Royale. And yet, even though his face is never seen onscreen, it’s Star Wars that Prowse is best known for.
Of course, Vader was voiced by James Earl Jones, and when Vader’s mask is removed at the end of Return of the Jedi, his face seen belongs to Sebastian Shaw. Prowse’s complicated history with Star Wars didn’t end there. Since he wasn’t a very skilled swordsman, he was replaced by stuntman/fight choreographer Bob Anderson during Vader’s lightsaber battles with Luke Skywalker, and in 2010, Prowse was reportedly banned from attending official Star Wars fan conventions by none other than George Lucas himself, who apparently said Prowse had burnt too many bridges with Lucasfilm. Still, Prowse’s iconic villain turn led to a starring role in the 2015 documentary I Am Your Father.
Jacobson-Larson is a composer who has been involved in preparing scores for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Disney’s John Carter. Leeb is an actor who previously worked with Jacobson-Larson on the indie TV series The Well. The scribes are represented by CAA and manager Brooklyn Weaver at Energy Entertainment.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief