Man can’t subsist on books alone, so last weekend my brother-in-law - the Irish novelist Robert Cremins – and I went to the movies. Sure, if it had been just the two of us, we probably would have opted for the new re-adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, but since we had my two pre-teen nephews in tow, we opted instead for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
It had to be a less risqué choice than a film version of Evelyn Waugh’s novel about “The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder” and his frolicking and philandering among the English upper classes. Right?
Wrong: Two thirds of the way through Star Wars: The Clone Wars appears the character of Ziro the Hutt – a villain who has orchestrated the kidnapping of his own great-nephew, the son of Jabba the Hutt. Jabba, you may remember is the giant alien slug that flash froze Han Solo and always seems to have an exotic dancer somewhere in his line of sight (even here, in a cartoon).
Well, Ziro it turns out is the spitting image of author Truman Capote in drag, complete with a peacock feather tucked into the purple scarf wrapped around his head and Capote’s fey, affected Southern accent.
Poor Truman, as if being a gay, alcoholic, unfulfilled genius wasn’t difficult enough. Now, he’s portrayed as a villainous cartoon alien slug, one willing to arrange the kidnapping of his own great nephew (a major plot point of the film).
Fortunately, my nephews appeared oblivious as to why their father and uncle were nearly choking with laughter. I think they were just waiting for some Jedi Knight to dispatch that weird thing and get back to the blaster fights.
So, what gives?
George Lucas insisted on it, “Clone Wars” director Dave Filoni confessed to the MTV Movie Blog:
“Ziro, Jabba’s uncle, originally spoke in Hutt-ese, like Jabba and then he had a different sluggish voice just like Jabba, and then George one day was watching it and said ‘I want him to sound like Truman Capote.’ He actually said that and we were like ‘Wow!’ ” Filion revealed.
What might Lucas do next? Perhaps he can write Hemingway into the script for the next Indiana Jones flick...