When we first heard that George Lucas was planning to make a new Star Wars prequel trilogy back in 1999, we were all super excited to see how Anakin became Darth Vader. Even the trailers for The Phantom Menace and its sequels looked pretty spectacular, but who knew that it would turn out to be a trainwreck.
During an episode of Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, actor Peter Serafinowicz, who voiced the badass Sith warrior Darth Maul in the movie, shared his experience of being a Star Wars fan, being excited for the film after seeing the trailer, landing the role of Darth Maul, his disappointment in the Phantom Menace after he paid a thousand dollars to attend the premiere to watch it, what it's like working with Lucas, and the surprising gift he got from him: a Phantom Menace stencil set! He also said that the film was racist, saying:
"It reminds me of, if you're watching Channel 4 during the day and there's an old black-and-white film on, and someone's in blackface, and they just bought this film for eight pounds to show and nobody's checked it. It was like, the most racist film of the twentieth century!"
Serafinowicz recalled how most of the fans felt the same way he did, and how terrible the film was.
The actor went on to say that the Star Wars gig was one of the worst-paying jobs he ever did. At one point, he talked to Terrence Stamp, who played Chancellor Valorum in the film, and at that point, he learned that he wasn't the only actor that was paid terribly on the film. Stamp said that he agreed to play the role for the low pay under the promise that Lucas would give him a gift after shooting, and it turned out to be a Phantom Menace stencil set for kids!
You can listen to the amusing interview below: