By Scott Ross
For a 17 year-old slowly coming to terms with his sexuality, Mark Hamill’s presence on screen in Star Wars provided some rather sweet, projected puppy-love.
Hamill’s appeal came via a mix of elements: His strong, dimpled chin contrasted with his boyish cuteness and short stature (the latter always a strong attraction for me, as was his slight overbite.) In his mid-20s, as he was when Star Wars was filmed, Hamill could still pass nicely for a young man in his late adolescence. The chief quality of his performance in the movie is a brash, youthfully naïve enthusiasm, but there is a buried gravitas in his acting that made him exceptionally effective as Luke Skywalker yet lent him a vulnerability that made you want to take him in your arms and comfort him. (Luke goes through a lot of loss in two hours’ screen time.)
There are moments in the movie, such as the one below, during the binary sunset on Tatooine in which Luke’s face reveals his longing for another life, where George Lucas presents Hamill almost as a fetishized object of breathtaking beauty.
Hamill’s face held a classical quality. The nose, in that pre-auto accident period, was aquiline, the lips sensual, the cheekbones chiseled. The mop of fine, but thick, sandy hair completed the image.
In his boy-next-door way, Hamill projected strong erotic/romantic appeal to a love-starved teenage boy wrestling with what he had long suspected about himself but was only now beginning to acknowledge, accept and, ultimately, embrace. He was surprisingly sexy.
After the accident (January, 1977 – well before Star Wars was released) the nose was blunter, a bit pug-like. And, of course, Hamill’s face was aging, as it naturally would during the period of years between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. But the eyes were still the same, bright and inviting and remarkably deep.
During his preparation for the rigors of Empire, Hamill’s physique filled out nicely. He was no Swarzenegger, thank heaven, but his upper body was now more pleasantly muscular.
One of the strongest memories Hamill held for me in Empire, and which I am more than a little astonished I cannot find a good photo to represent in this age of seemingly endless cyber-sexuality, was how perfectly his small but arousingly well-shaped bottom fit into those tight trousers he wore on Degobah while training with Yoda. Oh, well. The on-set picture below will have to suffice. It gives a reasonably good representation of Hamill’s pert, curved gluteus maximus.
At a romantic 17, Hamill’s Luke was a boy I just wanted to hold; at a hornier 19, he had become a young man I wanted… for other things.
Text copyright 2013 by Scott Ross