Remembering Our Favorite Carrie Fisher Moments
Of all the celebrity deaths in 2016, Carrie Fisher’s might hurt the worst. At 60 years old, she was still a young woman; she should have had many great performances, books, and scripts ahead of her. And with her recent work in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it seemed like she was finally getting her due as an actor, after years spent in the spotlight as an author and activist.
With any loss this painful, it can be hard to summon the words to describe how you’re feeling. The staff of ScreenCrush is mostly processing things by revisiting Fisher’s great work as both a performer and writer. Below, we’ve each assembled a few of Fisher’s many career highlights, with supplementary video clips where applicable. It’s just a small way of showing our appreciation for an artist whose gifts we can never fully repay.
A Beacon of New Hope
The new Star Wars films are led by heroes like Rey and Jyn, but that courageous feminine spirit has been embedded in the DNA of the Star Wars universe for nearly 40 years. Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia refused to be labeled a damsel, much less one in distress. A New Hope wasted no time introducing her as one of the series’ most fearless characters; she’s the first of our heroes to meet Darth Vader face-to-face and, instead of cowering in fear, she challenges him. The way Fisher delivers her first line — uttering Vader’s name with an air of condescension, then cocking her head to one side — instantly made Princess Leia an archetype of female heroism. On paper, Leia was an inspiring hero to look up to, but it was Fisher who infused her with a biting charm and wit that made her one of the most iconic women in movie history. — Erin Whitney
Chasing The Blues Brothers
The Blues brothers are on a mission from God, but they’re on the run from Carrie Fisher, who plays a mystery woman chasing Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) all across the American Midwest. Throughout the film, Fisher pops up to spy on Jake and Elwood and, occasionally, to blow up their apartment, but the revelation of her identity only comes near the finale. In her big scene, which you can watch above (like you haven’t already a million times), Fisher confronts the musical duo, and demands an explanation from Jake, who no-showed their wedding. The role is a bit of an inside joke; Fisher was actually dating Aykroyd at the time. (He even proposed on the set, hopefully not during this scene.) But you don’t need to know any of that to adore Fisher’s delivery of the line “I remained…celibate for you!” or the pose she strikes with that massive rifle on her hip. — Matt Singer
Script Doctor Supreme
Fisher’s talents as an author, actor, and generally superb human being are common knowledge. Her career as a script doctor is a bit more obscure. In recent years, Fisher’s script work went from being a curious bit of trivia to a notable aspect of her life and career. Steven Spielberg hired Fisher to punch-up the dialogue for Hook (and gave her an uncredited cameo in the film), which led to gigs polishing scripts like The River Wild, Outbreak, and The Wedding Singer. (There’s a reason why the latter is one of the few genuinely good Adam Sandler movies.) Fisher also did her best to doctor the scripts for George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels before deciding to close this chapter of her career. As she told Newsweek back in 2008, the business had taken a turn for the worse:
Now in order to get a rewrite job, you have to submit your notes for your ideas on how to fix the script. So they can get all the notes from all the different writers, keep the notes and not hire you. That’s free work and that’s what I always call life-wasting events.
One thing is for certain: Carrie Fisher hardly lived a life that was wasted. — Britt Hayes
When Harry and Sally Met Carrie
When we think of When Harry Met Sally, we often recall the restaurant orgasm, the sex dream walk in the park, the kiss at the end. Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal may have been the core of Nora Ephron’s classic rom-com, but it was Carrie Fisher who gave the film some of its most delightful moments. As Sally’s best friend Marie, Fisher was warm and charismatic, injecting slivers of comedy without missing a beat. When Harry erupts after running into his ex, Marie steals back the scene, lovingly teasing her husband that if they ever get divorced, he can keep the coffee table. In Fisher’s best moment, she pulls out a Rolodex at lunch to dig through available bachelors for Sally. “I don’t happen to find him attractive, but you might,” Fisher says before delivering the perfect aside: “She doesn’t have a problem with chins.” Marie was the quippy best friend we all wanted who didn’t shy away from saying what was on her mind or giving blunt advice others might sugarcoat. — EW
Rocking 30 Rock
Tina Fey’s brilliant sitcom hosted many fantastic guests in its seven-season run, but none more notable, entertaining, or meaningful than Carrie Fisher. Though Liz Lemon was mostly a work of fiction, Fey did share a few real-life similarities with her quasi-autobiographical alter-ego, namely an affinity for Star Wars. Throughout the show’s run, Liz’s Princess Leia costume became a recurring bit: She wore it to get out of jury duty (twice; it didn’t work the second time), and again when she got married because, as she told Jack, it was the only white dress she owned. So to say that Fisher’s Season 2 guest spot was special would be something of an understatement. In “Rosemary’s Baby,” Fisher plays Rosemary Howard, a comedy writer known for her subversive genius (and based loosely on Fisher herself). Liz meets her childhood hero, whose star has faded somewhat since her heyday, at a signing for Rosemary’s new book, and asks her to write for The Girlie Show, but things quickly fall apart. It’s a great episode (one of the series’ best) that functions as a shrewd, fully-dimensional satire of ageism in Hollywood, and it allows Fisher to really shine, especially when Liz spends more time with Rosemary and discovers the real reason why people stopped hiring her: She’s kind of nuts. Fisher’s best line is also the simplest: “Help me, Liz Lemon! You’re my only hope!” — BH
“That’s General Leia to you.”
It was easy to overlook Carrie Fisher’s work in Star Wars: The Force Awakens; she didn’t get a flashy death sequence or a huge emotional moment in the film’s final scene. But in many ways, Fisher was the bedrock of the Star Wars revival, and Leia’s promotion from Princess to General mirrored Fisher’s growth as an artist and a person. So much of the conversation around her role in the original Star Wars trilogy was about her hair or the way she filled out a metal bikini, but in The Force Awakens, Leia became what Fisher had become for so many people: A source of wisdom, hope, and inspiration. Like a true leader, she faced adversity and overcame it. No wonder we feel a little lost without her. — MS