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5 Questions with Return of the Jedi's Klaatu, Corey Dee Williams

November 28, 2017

Let me start by saying that Return of the Jedi is my favorite Star Wars film. Yeah, I know the case can be made that Empire is a better film. However, ROTJ was the first Star Wars movie that I saw and it captivated me right away. The first act revolving around the rescue of Han Solo from the clutches of the vile intergalactic gangster, Jabba the Hutt, always draws my undivided attention. Later, as a teen, I discovered that this episode of the saga began principal photography on my birthday. It was an omen. Since that day I have never been afraid to state my love for ROTJ above all the others, Ewoks or not.

 

In addition to those lovable/loathable teddy bears, Lucasfilm did a great job at expanding the Star Wars universe and the varied species that inhabit it. Jabba's palace contained a cornucopia of new droids and aliens species unlike any I had ever dreamed. So when the opportunity arose to speak with an actor who portrayed one of my favorite minor villains from ROTJ, I jumped at it immediately.

 

What follows is five questions with the man who played one of Jabba's henchmen, Klaatu. His name is Corey Dee Williams.

 

Honor The Force:

It is well documented that not only did you do stunt work in Return of the Jedi, but you also portrayed the character of Klaatu. However, I have to ask, what was your first experience with Star Wars?

 

Corey:

My first experience was seeing the original movie Star Wars: A New Hope when it was released. I was about 17 years old at the time, and I loved Star Wars from the very beginning. I saw it so many times, I could recite the dialogue of various scenes. “...You are part of a Rebel alliance and a traitor!… take her away!!!” 

 

Honor The Force:

Return of the Jedi was a film that expanded the scope of Star Wars to include many new species. What can you share with us about your experience on the film as one of Jabba's henchmen, Klaatu?

 

Corey:

There are so many things to share about it. I’m actually considering writing a book about my experience. At the time, Stephen Costantino and I were working on an album for the purpose of securing a record deal. When my father asked me if I wanted to go to the desert with him to work as his stand-in; I was reluctant at first. Even though anyone would jump at the chance to be involved in a Star Wars movie, I was just that serious about writing music at the time. He offered to let me bring Stephen with me, so we could still continue writing during our down time. So. I said yes! Of course I had no idea about the legendary status that the original trilogy would eventually gain. I also had no idea that I would work as Klaatu, and that he would become an action figure!

 

Working as Klaatu in the scene was kind of a last minute thing they asked me to do. I had martial arts experience and I was a fitness/health enthusiast, so I was ready for the physical demands of being part of a fast paced action scene. The heat was definitely a challenge. An average temp for the day was usually well over 100 degrees! It also wasn’t very easy to breathe with the mask on.

 

Honor The Force:

Being a body double and doing stunts for your dad, Billy Dee Williams, must have been the ultimate bonding experience. How did you get into being a stuntman and what was it like to work alongside such a iconic actor like your father?

 

Corey:

Well, for as long as I could remember, my father was a working actor, though he was not famous yet. I grew up being alongside him during his stage performances in New York on broadway and during the filming of many movies and television shows. "Brian’s Song”  was the movie that gained him the most notoriety. We've always had a great relationship, so there have been many memorable bonding experiences aside from movie making. That said…it’s always a lot of fun being on the set together, and we have had so many memorable experiences with cast and crew members.

 

I was hired as a stand-in which lead to me doing one part of the stunt where Lando is hanging over the Sarlacc pit. It was actually a combination of me, my father, and Julius Leflore who was his actual stunt double. Julius happened to be doing a high fall in the same shot, so they asked me to do it. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but I was excited to do it.

 

Honor The Force:

Lando Calrissian is slated to be brought to the screen once again in Solo: A Star Wars Story. How do you feel about the casting choice of Donald Glover as Lando?

 

Corey:

I wish him the very best. That role was tailor made for my father, so I have a hard time seeing anyone else doing it. There are so many qualities of his actual personality in the character. Definitely not shoes I would want to have to fill, but Glover is a great actor in his own right. I’m sure he will take it, and do his own thing with it. Han Solo isn’t going to be easy either!

 

Honor The Force:

Actor, Stuntman, Fitness Coach, and Producer. I bet you don't get much downtime because you are so busy. What are some of your current projects that you can tell us about?

 

Corey:

Well, my passion for heath and fitness, and my enthusiasm for helping others is what lead me to become a Fitness Lifestyle Coach. I've been in the fitness industry for over 26 years, and have trained everyone from Jane Fonda to Ice Cube. I was never really an actor, though I auditioned for a few parts. I did work as a double for my father for several years, which a few times included minor stunts. My greatest passion has always been music, I started writing songs when I was about 12 years old, and I had several bands in the 80’s. I went on to do music production, and I love creating and editing. 

 

Right now, I am working on one of the most exciting music projects I have ever been involved in! It’s called the 3-Dee Nucleus Project. 3… because bass, guitar, and drums are the rhythm, at the nucleus of the music, and Dee... deriving from my middle name and involvement with the project. I wanted to create a project where different talented musicians could come together and collaborate for the main purpose of experimenting with unique ideas, and creating great music. We don’t have the constraints of a band, and different people can participate as they please. Most of what we create begins from musical improv which I edit into compositions. Eventually I would like to find independent film makers, game developers, etc, that are in need of various moods of unique funky rhythm based music and license it to them.

 

Honor The Force:

Mr. Williams, Thank you so much for your contribution to the greatest film of the Star Wars franchise IMO, and for honoring the force. 

 

Corey:

May the Force be with everyone! 

 

Check out Corey's latest projects at: https://www.3deenucleus.com

Visit his personal website: http://coreydeewilliams.com/home.html

 

Check out his most recent music production from Dragon Con 2017 below...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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