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‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Filmed Scenes From A Hotel Kitchen

It’s not unusual for movies to experience bad weather while filming, delaying their shoot for days at a time. However, while filming The Empire Strikes Back in the late 1970’s a snowstorm made director Irvin Kershner get creative.

In a video uploaded to the YouTube channel, Hollywood’s Master Storytellers, Empire director Irvin Kershner recounts a story about the first day of shooting in Norway. Part of the shoot was meant to capture the many outdoor scenes in the film that take place on the ice planet Hoth.

However, when Kershner woke up on the first day of shooting there was a major snowstorm that was so bad that he, the cast, and the crew, were all practically snowed in at the hotel. According to Kershner, it was 26 degrees below zero.

He figured to get some shots of Mark Hamill that he needed anyway, depicting him alone outside the harsh conditions of snowy Hoth. So, they tried doing shots just outside of the hotel, but the film would crack because it was so cold.

Kershner realized that he had to keep the cameras inside while filming. So he was able to set up a camera in the hotel kitchen doorway.

The director explained that he then had Mark Hamill run outside alone as they filmed him from the comfortable confines of the hot kitchen. “I put the camera in the doorway of the kitchen. The crew was nice and cozy in the back. Poor Mark…he’d run out in the snow.”

When Kershner yelled “Cut,” Mark would run back to the kitchen and get warmed up before having to go back outside for next shot.

The scenes taken for this sequence were when Luke Skywalker is running from the Wampa, which Kershner describes as the “snow monster.” Kershner says that one of the shots is a closeup, and that Mark had to lay in the snow, yet did so just two feet away from the hotel’s kitchen door.

Star Wars fans certainly can envision Luke Skywalker laying in the snow after seeing the Force-ghost of Ben Kenobi. If you watch the behind the scenes footage, you can see them filming outside, nowhere near a hotel, but that particular closeup shot of Mark’s face is not seen, which seems to be the very shot Kershner was explaining.

Next time you watch The Empire Strikes Back, you’ll now see Mark Hamill in the snow, barely calling out Ben’s name and now know that he’s freezing his tail off while desperately looking into the kitchen two feet away.

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