Carrie Fisher Wrote Her Funniest 'Last Jedi' Lines & Improved These 11 Other Classic Films
Whether you realized it or not, a year after Carrie Fisher's death, she's still making us laugh. Director Rian Johnson told Entertainment Weekly that Fisher wrote some of the funniest lines in The Last Jedi. And you don't have to imagine which lines are hers because Johnson revealed that Fisher had a hand in crafting some of her most memorable scenes in her final film. Specifically, Fisher came up with the joke about Leia's hair when she reunited with Luke for the first time. “That was her,” Johnson said. “That was a Carrie Fisher line. Of course it was.” Of course, that's far from the only thing Carrie Fisher has written over the years.
In the same interview, Johnson also said that it was her that helped write the touching exchange between Leia and Admiral Amilyn Holdo, in which she urges Holdo to say a line she's said many times before, "May the force be with you": “You go, I’ve said it enough." But it's no surprise Fisher was so helpful to Johnson considering the fact that she was a successful script doctor in the '90s, something she says sort of happened by accident. "I would rewrite my parts if I did little parts too," she told The New Phoenix Times in 2008. "I rewrite the dialogue. That’s sort of how I got to do it."
While script doctors are brought in to help improve a script, whether it's by adding a few jokes or re-working major plot points, they often go uncredited and unacknowledged. This was the case for Fisher. But her knack for re-writing shouldn't go ignored — especially since some of your favorite films might have been touched by Fisher's deft scriptwriting hand. And it's about time you knew that.
1'Postcards From The Edge' (1990)
To tell the (slightly) dramatized version of her own life with her Hollywood mother — based on her 1987 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name — Fisher didn't hold back about her addictions. The film covers the funnier side of trying to restart your career after getting clean, especially when you're doing it with your mom by your side. What Fisher also shows in this film is that you should get Meryl Streep to play you whenever possible.
It was Postcards From the Edge that got her the job script doctoring Hook. In 2008, Fisher told The Phoenix New Times that director Steven Spielberg brought her in because they "wanted me to rewrite Tinkerbell's part," which was played by Julia Roberts. This was mostly supposed to be her comedic dialogue, "but if Tinkerbell interacts, you're writing scenes." So if you enjoyed this new take on Tinkerbell, you know who to thank.
It's also the film she thanks for launching her script doctor career, despite disliking the movie. While she liked working with Spielberg on the project, she told The Phoenix New Times that she “took another rewrite job” just “to get off of that.”
3'Lethal Weapon 3' (1992)
Yes, Fisher put her stamp on the threequel of this buddy cop comedy starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. She is an uncredited script doctor of the film, which went through multiple re-writes. Slash Film reported that Fisher helped "rework Rene Russo’s character and dialogue." So, for every funny line Russo has, you have Fisher to thank, as if you need another reason to praise her.
4'These Old Broads' (2001)
Fisher wrote this television movie, which starred her mom Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor, in her final role, about reuniting old Hollywood stars who really can't stand each other. Think Bette and Joan before Ryan Murphy stepped in to serialize their feud. This movie was fiction, but that doesn't mean there wasn't some fact in that. Fisher used her mom's own public feud with Taylor over husband (and Carrie's dad) Eddie Fisher as fodder for this funny film, which shows that she was never afraid to take the horrible and make it hilarious.
5'Sister Act' (1992)
You might have loved Sister Act, but Whoopi Goldberg? Not so much. According to Entertainment Weekly, Fisher was asked to work on Goldberg's dialogue by Goldberg, but Fisher actually ended up saving the production after Goldberg reportedly got into a fight with Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg over the casting of her love interest.
The studio wanted to hire a black actor to play Goldberg's possible beau, but she just wanted someone good, no matter their race. It was Fisher that suggested Goldberg bury the hatchet with Katzenberg by literally sending him a hatchet along with the note, "Please bury this on both our behalfs." In the end, the love interest was scrapped and Katzenberg sent Goldberg two brass balls for her bold move.
It's a story that shows why Fisher was so good at writing characters: she understood people and what they needed to hear and say to get their way.
6'The Wedding Singer' (1998)
There were a lot of films that Fisher had a lot of fun on, as she would tell the AV Club in 2011, and this is one of them. "My favorite films are ones that have my lines in it, and I like those lines," she said. "And I like to hear them." Fisher didn't go as far to say which lines she liked from that movie, but previously she told WebMD that, as a script doctor, her job was to "make the women smarter and the love scenes better." Drew Barrymore said in her book Wildflower that Fisher was brought in to “write the girl’s part to make it balanced.”
Knowing this, you can have fun guessing which of your favorite lines from this Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore film were penned by Fisher. One thing that wouldn't have been in there? That final wedding scene. In Fisher's version of the script, Robbie and Julia reportedly don't get married. Shocking, I know.
7'Last Action Hero' (1993)
Fisher tried to help this film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it just couldn't be helped. It was a serious flop and, according to Empire, Fisher was brought in to give "a woman's touch" to the action-comedy. But no man or woman could save this film no matter how hard they tried. And, oh, did they try, because multiple writers — including The Hunt For Red October’s Larry Ferguson — were brought in to help the script to no avail.
8'The River Wild' (1994)
Out of the films she's helped re-work, Fisher told the AV Club in 2011 that this is the one she's most proud of. "It was taken on right after I split up with Bryan [Lourd]," she said of the thriller starring Meryl Streep, in which she plays a mother who gets taken hostage with her family while river rafting. "That was, not therapeutic, but distracting, at least.”
9'Coyote Ugly' (2000)
The Wrap reported that Fisher's re-write of this movie about an aspiring songwriter who gets a job at a very outrageous bar happened during the "height of her career as script doctor."
10'Scream 3' (2000)
Fisher took a pass at the script for this horror threequel that's filled with a bit of humor and romance. She even got a cameo in the film, which has her playing an actress who gets mistaken for, who else? Carrie Fisher.
11'Star Wars' Prequel Trilogy (1999, 2002, 2005)
According to Los Angeles Times, there's a rumor that Fisher worked on the Star Wars prequels. It hasn't been confirmed, and her name isn't anywhere in the credits — though, she left her name off many movies that she worked on as a doctor. Considering that the prequels were not celebrated for the writing (or anything, really), you can't blame her for wanting to keep mum about her possible role in those films. However, she did tell The Phoenix New Times that "George asked me to punch up one of the prequels," giving no specifics on the matter.
So, next time you're talking about how amazing Carrie Fisher is, remember that she wasn't just amazing for her acting or for her book writing or for her sense of humor. Hollywood has a lot to thank her for behind-the-scenes, too.