Behind the Saber with Alexis Denisof

July 10, 2013


Running in Course of the Force may not be the most athletically daunting task in the world, but then again few of us did it in the blistering heat at Skywalker Ranch wearing a full-body golden spandex C-3PO costume. Coincidentally, this is one of the many reasons we love Alexis Denisof (Much Ado About Nothing, Angel, HIMYM), shown above cooling his servos after  running the final leg of Day 1 of Course of the Force.

Although Denisof was one of many celebrity runners who carried the lightsaber yesterday at Skywalker Ranch, his costume shined the brightest thanks in no small part to his wife, actress Alyson Hannigan, and his two children cheering him on. We caught up with him yesterday to pick his brain on how he got involved in Course of the Force, what Star Wars means to him and who he’d like to play most.

Course of the Force: So how’s your day going so far? You’ve got a nice breathable fabric on.

Alexis Denisof: [laughs] The gold spandex? This has been a great day. So exciting to bring the family up to Skywalker Ranch and get to participate in the start of the lightsaber relay. We are big supporters of Make-a-Wish Foundation, so it brought everything in one nice package.

COTF: Awesome!

AD: I lined up for this movie when I was eleven — the first one — when it was released. That was a loooong time ago. I didn’t think then that I’d be trotting up the front lawn of Skywalker Ranch in a homemade Threepio costume.

COTF: Tell us about this costume. How did you make it?

AD: I don’t mind saying that I think it’s an amateur masterpiece.

COTF: It’s jerry-rigged to perfection.

AD: It’s custom made for this special day. The legs are CDs covered in gold spandex. The mask is from a five-and-dime shop, but again covered in gold and modified. Then, a padded chest piece. The shorts are from the future, as you can tell, because they’re a shiny silver.

COTF: That color only exists in the future.

AD: The headband I just thought I’d honor the effort of it. It’s still an athletic event. It’s still close to July 4th and it’s the colors of the Union Jack, so I think it brings it all together.

COTF: How did you get involved in Course of the Force?

AD: Honestly, Course of the Force reached out to me and said they were doing this event and this year it was going to start here at the Ranch in San Francisco and asked if would be interested in participating. I said, “Absolutely, I would.” I love the Star Wars franchise, I love the Make-a-Wish Foundation and it gave me an excuse to dress up in a silly costume for a good cause, so it justified my own silliness. And we got to bring the kids and show them a really special place.

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COTF: Yeah, it’s really something else. Have you been to Skywalker Ranch before?

AD: Actually, my wife and I were here years ago before we had children, so that was part of why we wanted to come back – to show them. My daughter, the four year-old, has had a lasting interest in Darth Vader since she saw the mural of him on the Fox studio lot at age three and asked me, “Daddy, what is that?” I found myself trying to tell her the three year-old version of Star Wars.

COTF: I think that’s what Ewok Adventures is for.

AD: It was tricky. Very tricky. At the end of it, she said, “Daddy, maybe we should invite Darth Vader to come live with us so he can have a family. We should give him a hug, that way he would feel better.”

COTF: That is too cute.

AD: So there you have it – she solve the whole problem without violence. Just give him a hug.

COTF: Yeah, just talk it out.

AD: [laughs] Yeah, a lot of lives could have been saved.

COTF: So, what does Star Wars mean to you? Why are you a fan?

AD: Well, sitting in the theater at eleven when the first movie was released and having no idea what I was in for and having every cell of my brain blown by it made a very lasting impression. I was the kid out there breaking off tree branches and waving them like a lightsaber. I went to every single movie that followed that first one and I’ve loved it all. It’s a whole wonderful fantastic universe that George Lucas and all the people who worked on it created. So, this is my little chance to do some cosplay and be in the Star Wars universe.

COTF: One last question – if you could be any character in the Star Wars universe, who would it be?

AD: Part of why I dressed up like Threepio today is because I thought it would be funny, first and foremost, but if you watched me on Angel and Buffy, then it might not have escaped your notice that early Wesley is a little reminiscent of a certain droid we all know and love. So, I thought that would be a little amusing connection for fans.

COTF: Well, you have the walk down. I don’t think anyone else ran in character.

AD: Yeah, my calves are regretting it, but those are some of the sacrifices you make for comedy. I think I strained a comedy muscle doing that run.

COTF: Yeah, it’s right above the metatarsal. 

AD: That’s where the comedy muscle is? I do need to stretch my comedy muscle more because I think I pulled one today.

COTF: You’ve got to be careful.

AD: Yeah, they’re hard to come by, those comedy muscles. But, yeah, it was a great day and I was proud to be a part of it and I’m excited to see it come out the other end. In fact, we might be there in San Diego, so maybe I’ll have to dust off the golden robot again.

COTF: Please make this happen. Thank you so much for your time, Alexis! 

AD: Thank you! Take care.

You can follow Alexis Denisof on Twitter and keep up with all the latest Course of the Force happenings on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Want to get involved yourself? Find out how to register to run here or simply how to make a charitable donation to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. May the Force be with you always and I’ll see you on the Course!


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