Peter Diamond - Swashbuckler and Tusken Raider
One of the things that makes Star Wars so exciting is it's amazing swordfights.
Who hasn't played out the duel between Vader and Luke with pair of cheesy
plastic toy sabers?
We have stunt coordinator Peter Diamond to thank for those thrilling scenes in
all the original movies. Not only did he train the actors and co-ordinate the
fights, he also made several cameo appearances on the screen.
First as the Tusken Raider who attacked Luke in A New Hope, as Garouf Lafoe; the
character who gave Obi-Wan and Luke away to the Stormtroopers in Mos Eisley, as
Corporal Prescott; one of the Death Star detention block guards, and as a Biker
Scout in Return of the Jedi.
Here's what he had to say:
Peter, your professional life spans almost 50 years in the business
and you've worked on projects ranging from "The Dark Avenger" with Errol
Flynn and the classical TV series "Doctor Who" to such blockbusters as
"Raiders of the Lost Ark", "An American Werewolf in London", "Highlander"
and of course the 3 original Star Wars movies.
Since BlueHarvest.net is a Star Wars site we are naturally very curious
about that part of your career, however that withstanding, which project
did you enjoy the most working on and why?
I've enjoyed all projects. I like the creative ideas you have to bring
and devise to the production - I am also a theatre fight director
co-ordinator which I believe is a necessity for any stunt.
How did you get started in the business in the first place?
Fenced in the British Army, then taken I trained as an actor on a
scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
How was it that you became involved in Star Wars and was shipped off
to Tunisia to co-ordinate stunts and slip on a robe and mask to play a
fierce Tusken Raider?
Apart from co-ordinating the action, I was the only stunt person on the
film in Tunisia, so I had to play the Tusken Raider for the safety of Mark
As I understand it there was a lot of skepticism, even among the cast
and crew, before the first Star Wars movie was released. Were you
surprised at all over the reaction, by the movie-going public, to the
Not really, my young sons read the script and their reaction gave me an
indication that this may be a good children's film.
Since you worked on all 3 original Star Wars movies you came in
contact with all 3 directors, i.e. George Lucas who of course directed "A
New Hope", Irving Kerschner who directed "The Empire Strikes Back" and
Richard Marquand who directed "Return of the Jedi". What are your
thoughts on these 3 different directors? Did you find any of them
particularly easy or hard to work with?
I thought Empire was the better film. But all three directors were
friendly and were not afraid to ask how to achieve the end result.
As stunt co-ordinator you helped, among others, Mark Hamill, David
Prowse and the late Sir Alec Gunniess with their fencing. What was your
impression of the lead actors? Any one in particular who stands out in
your memory, if so why?
The humility of Alec Guinness and his helpful attitude to crew and other
Have you seen "The Phantom Menace"? If so, what did you think of the
new stunt co-ordinator; Nick Gillard's performance?
A very difficult question to answer as I gave Nick one of his first
stunt jobs and didn't know him as a swordsman.
To a lay(wo)man like myself Gillard's style of fighting, which is
inspired by Hong Kong action movies, seems quite different from your more
classical style - which brings the great pirate movies of the 30's and
40's to mind. (A style which later, I'm sure much thanks to your
influence, experienced a big revival with "Highlander".) Do you agree?
I'm a romantic, I should have been a Musketeer - I agree.
50 years in the business and you're still going strong... According to
your official site
some of the most recent work you've done was helping
Sir Anthony Hopkins on "The Mask of Zorro". What future projects are
there in store for you?
My own production company, planning a series of romantic , swashbuckling
adventures films with a Captain Blood type character.
Last but not least; spending so much time on the different sets you
must have accumulated quite a few good stories over the years. Do you
have any funny anecdotes or stories of interest you'd like to share? :-)
Errol Flynn - whilst fighting him on the Dark Avenger he almost hit me
with his broadsword - He gasped and said sorry Peter - this is dangerous
come with me. He walked me over to the producer and told him to pay me a
bigger fee because of the danger, as we walked back to the set he whispered
to me one of his most reported quotations - "Just take the money and run
Peter"- so I did and thanked him.
Thanks to Peter for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer my
questions. Don't forget to look for Peter the next time you watch the original
trilogy and visit his official website at
Back to Scoops