Mark Hamill's First Job Offer After Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Was A Celebrity Circus

Strange as it sounds when you say it out loud, starring in one of the highest-grossing films of all time is no guarantee people will be knocking down your door with job offers — doubly so if you're a woman or a person of color (and especially if you're both). It's why someone like Mena Massoud has struggled to find work despite being praised by critics as one of the highlights of Disney's billion dollar live-action "Aladdin" remake. In keeping with that theme, most would agree Daisy Ridley was part of the glue that held the Mouse House's "Star Wars" sequel trilogy together ... and yet, her career hasn't really taken off since her breakout turn in "The Force Awakens."

If it's any comfort to Ridley, she's not the first "Star Wars" actor to find themselves in this position. Going all the way back to the OT (that is, the Original Trilogy), there was no guarantee Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, or Carrie Fisher would enjoy much success after starring in George Lucas' 1977 blockbuster, "A New Hope," and its sequels. In Fisher's case, she would spend the '80s segueing into a gainful career as a writer and then a script doctor, in between acting gigs. Even Ford wouldn't fully cement himself as a box office draw separate from Lucas until starring in 1985's "Witness."

This brings us to Hamill, who vented his career-related frustrations during a 1980 interview with Rolling Stone, explaining:

"After I came back from filming 'Empire Strikes Back,' my first job offer was to walk on nails and swallow fire on some celebrity circus in Las Vegas — whatever that was. It's so bizarre. Here I am a grown-up and this is how I earn my living. What's my son gonna think of me?"

'There are so many elements that aren't in your control'

In his defense, Mark Hamill seemingly didn't mean to imply performing elaborate circus stunts doesn't require immense skill or isn't hard work in and of itself. No, what clearly frustrated him was that this offer was a blatant attempt to cash in on his newfound fame and had nothing to do with his qualities as an actor. "All of a sudden there are so many elements that aren't in your control. You wind up almost being another one of the public watching this 'public' you," he told Rolling Stone.

Continuing, Hamill made it clear his primary interest was developing his craft and not, per se, securing a big paycheck:

"I'd work for scale for somebody willing to take a chance with me, because it's real frustrating to be in something this big and popular and not really feel you're stretching yourself. I met Miloš Forman yesterday on an interview [for the film version of the best-selling novel 'Ragtime'], and I would kill to work with that man!"

Although he would miss out on a role in "Ragtime," Hamill would eventually find his niche as an incredibly accomplished voice actor over the decades that came after that interview. When he reprised his role as Luke Skywalker for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" in 2017 (following his brief cameo at the end of "The Force Awakens"), the strong critical response to his performance as the now older and far more disillusioned Jedi Knight was a testament to just how much he had evolved and refined his acting since his days whining about Tosche Station in "A New Hope" 40 years prior. Would that all deserving actors in Hollywood got a happy ending as well earned as Hamill's.