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Thursday 26 April 2018

'I fell for Ireland 40 years ago', says Hamill

Actor Mark Hamill has spoken of his love for Ireland
Actor Mark Hamill has spoken of his love for Ireland

Hundreds of film fans turned out to see Star Wars actor Mark Hamill at the US ambassador's residence in the Phoenix Park.

Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the film series, spoke of his love for Ireland that has been "ongoing for 40 years".

The actor spent time on Skellig Michael filming the latest Star Wars movie.

However, it was in the 1970s when he first came to Ireland to shoot action film The Big Red One.

"Anyone who comes here is struck by the beauty of the countryside," he said.

"The follow-up is that the people here are so warm and friendly and treat you like family.

"I fell in love with this country 40 years ago."

Heritage

He was made aware of his Irish heritage early on by his father, who would "lecture" him about the Famine whenever he wouldn't finish his meals as a child.

Hamill, who is the international guest of honour at today's St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, told of his shock that the Star Wars franchise was brought back for more films.

"There were some critics that were really harsh and said, why mess with a good thing?" he said.

"I knew they were going to do the sequels but I thought it would be so far into the future that they wouldn't involve us.

"I thought Harrison Ford is not going to do it because he's too accomplished and is sick of Star Wars.

"But it was all settled when I saw the paper, 'Harrison Ford signs on', and thought, well, that's me drafted."

Hamill joked that he would have been "the most hated man in nerdom" had he refused to return.

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