This Halloween, I was at the White House, cast as Threepio and it was unreal.
The White House contacted Lucasfilm and asked if they could have any characters visit for Halloween. Lucasfilm sent a list of characters that could be available and Michelle Obama herself made the choices. C-3PO, R2D2, Chewie, Ahsoka Tano and 2 Stormtroopers. Chewie was the Lucasfilm tour actor Michael Healy. R2 was supplied and operated by Pat Coajou. Ahsoka Tano was a New York actor named Lamay and the troopers were Bill Ray, TK-0037 and James Gajarsa, TK-5530.
Lucasfilm contacted me about a week before Halloween saying only that I had been cast as Threepio for an event in Washington DC. I didn't find out it was at the White House until a day before Saturday's events.
It turns out the Obamas are Star Wars fans, because they all knew exactly who was who and the President never mispronounced C-3PO (as in C-P30 or 3-CPO, which I find is very common among people who are not really fans of the films.
I spoke with the President twice, once on the elevator and once when we were shooting photos with him.
The troopers and I were riding in a small elevator up to the main level. Unexpectedly, the car came to a stop one floor early. The door opened and there was the President. He came on saying "What's up guys! Hey let me get in here..." we were all surprised. He said, "Wow, you guys are awesome." I had my full costume on and was in character, rubbing shoulders with the President. I acted surprised, as Threepio would, and said, "Oh, why hello!" He laughed and said, "Hello C-3PO!" and as I was leaving, I turned to my Lucasfilm handler and said, "Well, he seems very friendly" recalling when Threepio met Lando on the landing platform on Cloud City. Later, that snippet cracked up the Lucasfilm staff who said, "That is so classic Threepio!"
During the entire trick-or-treating, I was standing there in front of Chewie, except for one part when they escorted me to another area on the grounds of the White House where I met with the Obama daughters Sasha and Malia and a few of their friends. It turns out that C-3PO is their favorite character and had requested the chance to meet him. It was great! The girls were very polite and I greeted them and their friends and thanked them for having us.
After the trick-or-treating ended, we were escorted inside where there was a party for the White House staff and their families. The White House staff told us that Johnny Depp would be in the Alice in Wonderland room, dressed as the Mad Hatter as well as Tim Burton. They were, and it was very cool.
We entertained the visitors and I was talking to a little boy dressed as Boba Fett, with a jetpack that was inflatable. I was commenting on what a great bounty hunter he was. Then I looked up and saw his father was partially dressed as Darth Vader. Vader was the President's press secretary Robert Gibbs.
The Star Wars characters got to get a photo with the President and his wife. When we came in the room I greeted them again and the President said, "Hey C-3PO, can you say something to Michelle for me?" I turned to her and said, "Oh, why hello! Thank you very much for having us. It's our pleasure to be here." She laughed and said, "Oh, thank YOU for coming!" Then he laughed and said, "Threepio, you stand here in front of me". Chewie was standing behind the President , but because of my limited vision, I don't know where the troopers or Ahsoka were standing. We'll see when the photo comes from LFL.
We didn't get to take any photos inside the White House, but LFL got some photos of all of us once we were suited up. I'll post those when we get them. Here's what I have so far...