I'd say that Carrie Fisher was my first crush, but that would be a lie... Susan Dey actually holds that "honor". Laurie Partridge was the first girl I remember having a thing for. I listened to the album "Up to Date" on heavy rotation on my Fisher Price record player and stared longingly at Laurie's photo on the cheesy cover, hand awkwardly placed on her cheek. I still remember her birthday from the cover's artwork... December 10th.
But Carrie Fisher was the first WOMAN I ever loved.
Well, me and about 20 million other adolescent boys.
Star Wars came out at the PERFECT time for me. I was almost ten. And that film made me believe in magic. For years, my brother and I would listen to the soundtrack at full volume in our living room, playing with our cheap plastic lightsabers, imagining ourselves saving the world, pretending to be Luke and Han... and talking about rescuing the princess. But I realized much later that the reason I actually loved Leia was that she didn't need to be rescued... she talked back, had an attitude, held her own in a gun fight, and oh my God... those BUNS... I'm talking, of course, about her hair. "Somebody has to save our skins! Into the garbage chute, fly-boy!"
Princess Leia was the first feminist icon that I had a personal relationship with as a young boy.
But that doesn't mean I didn't have a relationship with her as a sexual icon as well... I remember lying in my bed at night, with my stuffed king-sized bear named Louis, and pretending he was Leia, and needing to kiss the bear 100 times before I was allowed to fall asleep.
The Empire Strikes Back did little to relieve my crush. I remember feeling the same jealousy that Han felt when she impulsively kissed Luke in the hospital bed. I imagined her calling ME a stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder.
God, I so wanted to be her scruffy nerf-herder.
Carrie Fisher was the first woman I remember really having feelings of LOVE for. She was my ideal woman. I know, I know, as I said, me and about 20 million other boys.
But 20 million other boys didn't get the chance to hang out with her!
I spent a week with (okay, AROUND, not "with") Carrie during the filming of our movie Sorority Row. Carrie was cast at the house mother, Mrs. Crenshaw, in the film. I'd follow her around the set, just hoping to find a "natural" way to bump into her and start up a conversation. By this time, while my crush was still strong, I admired her for completely different reasons. For those who don't know, Carrie was an INCREDIBLE writer. Postcards from the Edge, while not a perfect movie, was INCREDIBLY funny and moving and the kind of script that I would have KILLED to have written: "I did not lift my skirt, it TWIRLED UP!" Perfection!
Anyway, I was still in love. And, over the week of work, I was able to arrange for a half-dozen of these "chance" encounters, whether at the craft service table or between rehearsals... or waiting outside her trailer like some crazy stalker.
Carrie's bouts with mental illness are well-documented, and she had an assistant that walked around with her. One of his responsibilities was to quickly whisper into her ear the name of the person that was approaching. Despite being the writer on the film that she was shooting, her assistant had to remind her of my name each time I approached.
The third or fourth time I chatted with her, I swallowed my pride and asked for a photo. She happily obliged. While most of the time, when taking a picture with a celebrity, it looks like an awkward high school prom picture, but, as you can see from the shot above, Carrie leaned in and really gave me a warm hug. For all I know, she was doing it to balance herself, but I can't tell you how incredible that moment was for me.
After the shot, I told her that the 14-year-old me would be DYING if I told him that I'd just hugged CARRIE FISHER! She then said, "Well, let's give him something to really die over" and she pulled down my head and planted a huge kiss on my lips. Not nearly obscene, but far from chaste. When she pulled away, I could NOT stop smiling. "I'd just as soon kiss a Wookie" Carrie Fisher just kissed me!
She smiled at my stunned expression and walked back to her trailer.
The next day, as I approached Carrie on the set, and her assistant started to lean down to remind her of my name, Carrie turned to him, and said: "I know Josh's name!" I'm not so sure if she actually did, but she played it off well.
Although Sorority Row was probably just an insignificant blip in Carrie's incredible life, I am thankful that it gave me the opportunity to have a few conversations about writing, and acting, and our childhoods.
Sure, the 14-year-old would have died if he'd seen that kiss from Carrie Fisher coming. But it meant SO much more to the 40-year-old.