don’t remember much about things like the order we shot scenes in or who I got to know well first. Nor did anyone mention that one day I would be called upon to remember any of this long-ago experience. That one day soon, and then for all the days after that, information about Star Wars would be considered desirable in the extreme. That there would be an insatiable appetite for it, as if it were food in a worldwide famine.
Everywhere I looked, things were new. British crew: new. The way I was treated: new. The feeling that so many things were possible it was difficult to name them, or focus on them, for long: very new.
I read the dialogue and it was impossible. On my first day I had a scene with Peter Cushing, who played Governor Tarkin. This is the scene when I was supposed to say, "I thought I recognized your foul stench when I arrived on board." Who talks like that, except maybe a pirate in the seventeenth century? I looked at it and thought it should be said more like, "Hey, Governor Tarkin, I knew I’d see you here. When I got on board this ship I thought, My God! What is that smell? It’s gotta be Governor Tarkin. Everyone knows that the guy smells like a wheel of cheese that someone found in their car after seven weeks!" So I did it like that, more sardonic than emotional. Fearless and like an actual human, but not serious. Ironic. Some chick from Long Island who's not scared of you or anyone you might know.
And this was when George gave me the only direction that I ever received from him other than his usual suggestion to make everything you’re saying "faster" or "more intense." He took me aside and in a very solemn voice told me, "This is a very big deal for Leia. Huge. I mean, her planet is about to get blown up by these guys. And that means everything that she knows is gonna be gone forever. So you're very upset. She is very upset."
I listened carefully because I was the one with most of the earnest lines, and prior to this I didn’t know whether I was going to have to deliver them earnestly. When you watch the movie, it turns out that the voice I used when I was upset was vaguely British, and my not-upset voice is less British.
Excerpt from The Princess Diarist