James Earl Jones: Vader wasn't acting, just a 'special effect'

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Dec 16, 2012, 12:07 PM EST

We all know James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars (okay, some of us know him as the voice of Mufasa in The Lion King). But he could have easily not won the role. It turns out that George Lucas initially had someone else in mind for the part of Vader: acting/writing/directing mega-talent Orson Welles.

Jones told the BBC that Lucas eventually decided that Welles, who also had a deep, commanding voice, "would be too recogni[z]able," so Lucas chose him instead.

That was only one of the several tidbits Jones shared in his BBC interview. Another is that his sonorous voice is something he found after years of struggle: For a decade, Jones was functionally mute. Because of a stutter, he chose not to speak.

But Star Wars fans may or may not be surprised to learn that Jones does not consider himself an actor in that famous role.

Why not? Because actors were paid as actors and given "points," that is, a percentage of the movies' income ... and he was not. But he seems optimistic about the experience. "I'm happy to have been special effects," Jones said.

We'd embed the video of that interview if we could, but we can't, so visit BBC.