Carrie Fisher Tried to Get Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’

Carrie Fisher Tried to Get Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’
Legendary actress and genius-tier Hollywood script doctor Carrie Fisher is obviously best known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies (before she was eventually replaced with a soulless CGI doppelganger). But just three years after the original Star Wars film came out, Fisher appeared in another iconic movie about brave rebels battling a corrupt government: The Blues Brothers.

In case you haven’t seen it — or watched it more than 40 years ago while wearing sunglasses in a smoke-filled theater — Fisher plays the gun-toting “mystery woman” who keeps trying to murder Jake and Elwood Blues, and turns out to be Jake’s ex-fiancee, who he left at the altar.
How did the star of one of the biggest sci-fi movies of all-time end up in a musical comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch? As recounted in the biography Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge by Sheila Weller, Fisher started hanging out with the SNL gang in the late ‘70s, and became close platonic friends/cocaine buddies with John Belushi.

According to Fisher, Belushi and Dan Aykroyd “wanted to be monsters” in the much-hyped Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back. Belushi “would call and say, ‘Please ask George to get Danny and I to be in another bar scene,’” Fisher once told Kevin Smith.
Belushi was, for some reason, convinced that Empire would feature another cantina sequence, like in the original Star Wars, starring a bunch of drunken alien creatures. With Empire set to be filmed just months before The Blues Brothers in early 1979, Fisher offered up a trade: “Okay, then let me be in your movie, too,” she suggested.

The filmmakers behind The Blues Brothers were thrilled. “Princess Leia as the Mystery Woman — how cool was that! We were so excited!” claims producer Sean Daniel. The folks making The Empire Strikes Back were less enthused with Fisher’s proposal, specifically George Lucas, who Fisher actually pitched this idea to. Lucas “nixed the casting” of Belushi and Aykroyd as aliens because “Belushi was such a focus puller.”

To be fair, Lucas had plenty of reasons to be wary of adding goofy TV stars to Star Wars
The Blues Brothers shoot ended up being of great significance to Fisher. During filming, Belushi kept encouraging her to date Dan Aykroyd, and at one point, he invited both of them over to his house and then promptly passed out, which Fisher realized was Belushi’s “idea of a blind date.” Later, Aykroyd rescued Fisher after she choked on a Brussel sprout at dinner, swooping in to perform the Heimlich maneuver. According to Daniel, “Danny saved Carrie’s life.”

Aykroyd and Fisher ended up getting engaged, and though it didn’t last long, this story does show that saving someone from a premature vegetable-related death is never a bad opening move.

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