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  1. #1

    Realism in likenesses

    I wasn't able to find a specific thread on this topic, so here goes... and I apologize if this has been discussed a lot already.

    I recall hearing an radio interview with Mark Hamill a year or so ago, and he mentioned the fact that in his Star Wars contract he gets a cut from any action figure which bears his realistic likeness. In other words, if the figure looks like Mark Hamill, he gets a cut... if it doesn't, he gets nothing. In the interview he specifically refered to some Luke Skywalker figures that look like a "Ken doll" being the ones he gets nothing from.

    I was wondering if this might be the explanation for why some likenesses are so perfect and others are so terrible. Looking at a figure like the 12" Dooku, I'd say Christopher Lee would definitely get a piece of the pie on that one, if his contract works anything like Hamill's. But the 12" Zam Wesell looks nothing like Leeanna Walsman, so my guess is that she probably gets nothing from it.

    I was just thinking to myself that this is probably part of the reason why we collectors are often frustrated by the bad likenesses on some of the 12" figures. It has something to do with how the actors negotiated their contracts.

    Any thoughts on this?

  2. #2
    i too have wondered about this. it seems rather subjective for someone at lucasfilm to sit back and determine if this toy looks like the actor, but this one dosen't. it would seem to me that the actor would be paid if a toy was made of their character.

    i have also wondered if the actors were paid one flat fee for their likeness, or paid per toy.

    as for actors negotiating their contracts, i would bet a lesser known actress like leeanna walsman would have no clout in making demands on whether her likeness could be used. if she refused to allow her likeness to be used, lucas would just use another actor.

    i bet what really happened is different sculptors worked on the dooku and zam heads. if that's the case, the person who sculpted jango an dooku should sculpt for hasbro exclusively.

    i have read on occasion there are some actors, like tom cruise, russel crowe, and anthony hopkins who refused to let their likeness be used for the purpose of making toys. but for a star wars actor who is well aware of star wars toys, i would bet the "likeness" issue is agreed upon before all contracts are signed, or they don't get the job.
    Last edited by derek; 09-13-2002 at 01:47 PM.

  3. #3
    I agree derek. And besides, wouldn't an actor who wants to be in Star Wars want to be a figure? I'd expect it if I was in any of those films.

  4. #4
    This is a good point. One I have not thought of for some time. But there are a few holes to fill such as: 1) why do some of the characters have some sculpts that look like the actor and some that don't? 2) What about the ones that are an obvious attempt at a likeness...but done so poorly that the finnished product is highly questionable?

    I would be interested to find out if and how much the actors' contracts detail the use of their images on the figures.
    My wife treats me like an ATM machine. She pushes my buttons until I give her money.

  5. #5
    I was also thinking about something along the lines of what Derek said.

    Is it possible that the lesser known actors/actresses get shotty sculpts because they "arent that important?"A lesser know actor/actress might not be able to complain as freely,while someone like Chris Lee can,so they spend more time working on him while other projects get pushed aside.
    Treat your stepmother with respect Pantera, or you'll be sleeping in the streets!!

  6. #6
    that's a good point IJG.

    i wouldn't be suprised that for someone like chris lee, who lucas wanted in the movie, to have final approval on any toy made in his likeness. i've read about sara michelle gellar, aka "buffy" insisting on changes to her buffy toys.

    so this theory would hold true for an accomplished movie actor like chris lee, but then why was jango's 12 inch head so well done,when temurra morrison is no one famous, and hasbro has yet to make a decent 12 inch han solo, who was protrayed by one of the most successful movie stars ever?

    i just think it's gotta be different sculptors who made dooku and zam.

    and almost different companies who made the jango and zam 12 inchers!

  7. #7
    Originally posted by derek
    i just think it's gotta be different sculptors who made dooku and zam.

    and almost different companies who made the jango and zam 12 inchers!
    I wouldnt doubt that either,derek!Maybe,the Zam sculptor wasnt having a good time during his/her project.Wild partying will do that to you
    Treat your stepmother with respect Pantera, or you'll be sleeping in the streets!!

  8. #8
    I believe there are some cases where the likeness is made in such a way where it gives the "flavor" of a character but not a true likeness of the actor. I think a bunch of the Han Solos are like this... they kind of look like Harrison Ford, but not really... that way Hasbro doesn't need to give him a cut from the profits.

  9. #9
    I've always been under the impression that any actor who signs w/ Lucasfilm, signs away their likeness. Mark Hamill might have another set of circumstances than other actors. Original Trilogy actors are given a certain % of merchindise becasue Lucas had limited funds (back in the day) in order to pay the actors. But now Lucas had the world at his unending finantial fingertips. So Episode I and II actors may have different contacts.
    "Maybe I can help you. I am Boba Fett. The ship you seek is nearby." -Boba Fett

  10. #10
    Sigourny? Weaver sees herself as a serious actress, who donb't wanna be played as Barbie doll by children. Therefore Hasbro made their Alien 2-pack collector series with Col. Hicks instead of her. The 5?-inch figure was made with a likeness doesn't matter on that scale anyway, just look at the 4"-Star Wars scale.

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