Press junkets have become an intrinsic part of how movies are released these days, with actors grinning their way through the same set of questions journalists know they have to ask, over and over and over again.
So when someone interrupts the usual script, that's when the real fun (or danger, if you're Jeremy Renner) begins.
Carrie Fisher's career began with Star Wars when she was just 19 years old, but she has since become a comedian, author, and performer in her own one-woman variety show. She has also been in and around Hollywood all her life thanks to her famous parents, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Thus, she's no stranger to interviews and publicity tours. And as she prepares the world to see her as General Leia in The Force Awakens, Fisher is doing the whole rigmarole with not just a wink, but an uncanny way of dismantling what's expected of her.
Here are seven of the best moments from Fisher's Star Wars: The Force Awakens press tour to date.
1) Carrie Fisher and Gary the bulldog take over Good Morning America
This is the clip that's shot around the galaxy and back again, and with good reason: It's just about perfect. Neither GMA host Amy Robach nor the crew could keep it together as Fisher answered a series of boilerplate questions with unapologetic candor.
When asked about losing weight for the movie, Fisher threw the question back at Robach, calling the topic "a stupid conversation ... but you're so thin, let's talk about it. How do you keep that going on?" Meanwhile, Fisher's beloved bulldog Gary sat on a separate director's chair with his giant pink tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. (Fisher: "The tongue wasn't out of his mouth before he saw the movie, and now...") At one point, Fisher pointed out that Gary fell asleep during the interview, causing Robach to say through tears of laughter, "This is a low moment for me and my interviewing skills."
Choice Fisher quote: "I think in my mouth, so I don't lie."
2) Carrie Fisher and Gary the bulldog take over Live With Kelly and Michael
Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan are obviously obsessed with Carrie Fisher and Gary, which is a good and correct opinion.
That didn't stop them from succumbing to the pull of annoying questions, however, which yielded a lengthy aside devoted to what Fisher wore underneath her Princess Leia robes while filming the original Star Wars trilogy. "I wore a kilt," Fisher responded in deadpan. When pressed, she conceded that Leia wasn't exactly wearing lingerie, since it would be silly to be able to see racy unmentionables through her robes in the middle of a war (Fisher, imagining that scenario: "'I’ve got my lingerie, so now we can go get the Dark Side?'")
And to be fair, Fisher's been answering questions about Leia's underwear for almost 40 years now — which is, when you think about it, one of the most depressing takeaways from this entire junket.
Choice Fisher quote: "[Gary] weighs 38 pounds. They made him lose weight for Star Wars, though."
3) Carrie Fisher (sans Gary the bulldog) throws boring questions back at Time
In an impressive feat of media manipulation, Fisher turned even a brief Q&A session with Time into a comedy bit.
"Was it a difficult decision to come back and do this movie?" was met with a terse and unequivocal, "No," leading into Fisher's commentary on how things change as you age in Hollywood. "I’m a female and in Hollywood it’s difficult to get work after 30 — maybe it’s getting to be 40 now," she said. "I long ago accepted that I am Princess Leia."
Then, Time's "Do you bring aspects as an actress to this that you didn’t when you first played her?" received a wry, "Probably, but I try not to." And just for good measure, Fisher then pointed out, "I wear less makeup, and I need it more."
Choice Fisher quote: In response to the question of whether Leia has changed over the years: "Oh my God, she got so much older. I tried to stop her, but apparently that includes death so that didn’t seem like a good solution."
4) Carrie Fisher turns the official Force Awakens press conference into a one-woman comedy show
Press conferences are pretty straightforward, as far as media appearances go. But when you're dealing with a live wire like Fisher, there's just no telling what type of answers you'll get.
During the film's December 6 press conference, moderator Mindy Kaling tried to inject some of her signature humor into the questions — and Fisher outpaced her almost every time. Kaling's first (facetious) question, "Aren’t you rich? Why did you want to do these movies?" was immediately met with a wry Fisher response: "Do you want to borrow money?" And when asked what director J.J. Abrams brought to the new movie, Fisher grinned. ""We drank through the whole trilogy in the beginning," she said. "[The Force Awakens] was a sober set. That’s what J.J. brought to it. Sobriety!"
Choice Fisher quote: When a reporter asked if Gary the bulldog could have played a Star Wars alien: "I begged J.J. Gary was willing to sleep with J.J.! I mean nap — but still."
5) Carrie Fisher isn't charmed by Mario Lopez
Mario Lopez and his deep dimples have conducted many interviews for Extra, but you wouldn't know it from watching his sit-down with Fisher.
As Gary happily licked her hand just off screen, Fisher sized up Lopez — and then dressed him down. This was especially true when Lopez tried to get saucy about Fisher and Harrison Ford's time acting together. "How was it playing with Harrison Ford?" he asked, and Fisher had to laugh. "'Playing' with him? Oh, they had a sandbox for us..."
As Lopez tried to recover, saying that getting to kiss Ford — and Ford getting to kiss Fisher — wasn't "a bad thing," she kept countering with, "How do you know?"
At least Gary was having a good time.
Choice Fisher quote: Apropos of nothing, Fisher offered up one of her favorite lines from the original trilogy: "People don’t notice this line, it’s lovely: [screaming] 'PUT THAT THING AWAY, YOU’RE GOING TO GET US ALL KILLED!' [pause] It’s in the trash compactor."
6) Carrie Fisher and Daisy Ridley have a frank conversation about becoming nerd icons
One of the best interviews Fisher has done this year is, unsurprisingly, one in which she got to ask the questions. Interview magazine recently had her talk with Daisy Ridley, the new star of The Force Awakens, and it was a refreshing break from the usual to hear the two women speak candidly about how downright weird it is to be part of something as huge as Star Wars — especially when people start referring to you as a "sex symbol":
FISHER: Oh, you're going to have people have fantasies about you! That will make you uncomfortable, I'm guessing ... Have you been asked that?
RIDLEY: No, they always talk about how you're a sex symbol, and how do I feel about that. [Fisher sighs] I'm not a sex symbol! [laughs]
FISHER: Listen! I am not a sex symbol, so that's an opinion of someone. I don't share that ... Well, you should fight for your outfit. Don't be a slave like I was.
Fisher then gave her younger co-star some advice on an unfortunate reality of fame:
RIDLEY: I remember you saying that when you take pictures with people, you can feel their heart racing, and it humanizes them.
FISHER: Aw. I also said it's hard to date once you're a big Star Wars star because you don't want to give people the ability to say, "I had sex with Princess Leia."
This interview did something movie interviews rarely do: let two women at the center of a huge franchise talk without reservations, entirely on their terms. The result was a wonderfully telling discussion of fame, hero worship, and what happens when fandom crosses the line from "enthusiastic" into "dangerous."
Choice Fisher quote: "This is what I can teach you. This is how I make friends in foreign countries: Ask them about the biggest scandal since Fascism."
7) Carrie Fisher reminds everyone that the infamous "slave Leia" bikini was worn by a slave
While the gold chain bikini Leia wore in Return of the Jedi has become synonymous with "nerd boy fantasy," Fisher recently took the time to remind us that this supposedly sexy ensemble wasn't actually Leia's choice, but something that was forced upon her by Jabba the Hutt.
The Los Angeles Times asked Fisher if she had anything to say to a Pennsylvanian father whose frustration over seeing a scantily clad Leia action figure in Target went viral, and Fisher did not mince her words:
How about telling his daughter that the character is wearing that outfit not because she's chosen to wear it. She's been forced to wear it. She's a prisoner of a giant testicle who has a lot of saliva going on and she does not want to wear that thing and it's ultimately that chain, which you're now indicating is some sort of accessory to S&M, that is used to kill the giant saliva testicle. …That's asinine.
Choice Fisher quote: All of the above.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18.