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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Rundown with Cast and Producer

December 14, 2016

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By: Lynn Barker

Maybe the rebels blew up the empire’s Death Star in the very first Star Wars movie but who were these brave rebels who stole the plans enabling Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and gang to plan the attack? In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we find out as we follow rebel Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) who, for her own personal reasons, hates the empire with a passion, Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) a Rebel Alliance Intelligence officer and Alan Tudyk in motion capture gear as K-2SO, a Rebel-owned Imperial enforcer droid whose memory is wiped by Andor.

Jyn (Felicity) and Cassian (Diego) on their missionJyn (Felicity) and Cassian (Diego) on their missionCourtesy of Disney

Producer Kathleen Kennedy has something to say about female heroines and making sure the film had an ethnically-diverse cast and Alan and Diego tease about Alan’s crazy, on-set K-2 droid costume. He was on stilts! Check it out!

Cassian (Diego), Jyn (Felicity) and K-2S0 (Alan)Cassian (Diego), Jyn (Felicity) and K-2S0 (Alan)Courtesy of Disney

Q: Jyn kicks major Stormtrooper butt while Cassian just has to stand back. Felicity, did you find your inner warrior for that scene?

  • Felicity: Yeah, well, it’s in Jyn’s head, it’s very clear. She hates the Empire. So anytime she sees Stormtroopers she has this kind of a very clear instinct to take them down. So I just tapped into that energy that Jyn has. And I’d never done that kind of thing before. It was very new, the whole kind of physical preparation, that side of acting. I’m kind of used to lots of talking in corsets so it was really nice to be running around with a blaster and a baton to bash Stormtroopers with. It was an extraordinary process and you work very closely with the stunt team who take you through very kind of move and moment and support you throughout the whole thing. I’m very lucky to have great support from the stunt team doing it.

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) undercover on her missionJyn Erso (Felicity Jones) undercover on her missionCourtesy of Disney

Q: Hi. Diego, could you talk about developing the Cassian character? Was it all in the script or did you go back and look at other Star Wars films to figure out where your character fits into the (overall story)?

  • Diego: It was a mixture of everything. At the beginning, yes, I started just with the script that was already interesting enough for me to kind of dig into myself and try to find this captain inside me. I guess the most important part was to do the military training. You have to establish a parallel too with this galaxy far, far away and the world they live in, and it was very interesting. I spent two weeks with this ex-military guy in London, just taking about experiences and about the last 10 or 15 years of his life, and that gave me enough material.
  • I love Star Wars and I love all the films. A New Hope (the 1977 original movie) is probably the first film I really connected with, so I would go back to that film to find that connection again. But it was more about seeing war films, you know. Apocalypse Now, for example, stuff like that. Because my character needs that kind of military structure. Cassian is a guy that is willing to risk anything for this cause, you know? But he thinks in a hierarchical kind of a structure and he has to start there at least in this film so that was the research I did.

Diego Luna (Cassian) signs autographs at fan eventDiego Luna (Cassian) signs autographs at fan eventCourtesy of Disney

Q: One of the most exciting things about this film is seeing the diversity represented in these main characters. How important was that in crafting the cast and characters of this film? And, for future Star Wars movies, what would you like to see from under-represented groups?

  • Kathleen: I think it’s incredibly important to Star Wars. I think it’s more important to the film industry in general. I think that having a cast that represents and reflects the world today and having characters that people can relate to all over the world (is important). This is very much a global industry, films mean something to people all over the world, and it was certainly important to this story. It lent itself very, very well.
  • These are a group of people who come together in ways that are kind of inexplicable, but they share a very common belief and they feel very strongly in their desire to do the right thing and they work together incredibly well, and having that sense of diversity as people come together was really important to our story. Every movie has reasons for why you cast certain people, but I think what we’re doing today is just being much more mindful of that, and I think it’s important.

Felicity Jones (Jyn) talks to fansFelicity Jones (Jyn) talks to fansCourtesy of Disney

Q: What about women in leading roles in the Star Wars universe? Are you working for more of that? How can that help change the world?

  • Kathleen: Well, first of all, I hope it has that level of impact. That would be great. I think it is really important. I found it really interesting when I first stepped into this job I started to look at what does it mean to be a female hero, a female heroine. And when you started to look certainly online at imagery, it was pretty shocking what came up, and I think the character of Rey and the character of Jyn are empowered women that are not necessarily just taking on male characteristics, they’re genuinely female heroines. And I think that’s really important to the way we tell stories and so I do hope you’re right, I think it will make a difference.
  • I find that it is a bit irritating that when there’s progress being made and strong female characters being created, it tends to be forgotten, and I think that’s because long periods of time go on in between. These (films) were big tent pole movies and sort of frankly male driven, boy driven kinds of entertainment in the past, and the idea of a female hero is what’s new. I think that heroine concept is what’s been lacking, and I think in this movie the irony is she’s not just a female hero, she’s just a very strong, wonderful character not specific to being a woman. I hope, in time, that we’re not constantly highlighting this (female hero thing) as though it’s something unusual, but that it actually just becomes the vernacular of storytelling.

Alan's character K-2S0 as he appears in the filmAlan's character K-2S0 as he appears in the filmCourtesy of Disney

Q: Well said. Alan was it cool to see a K-2S0 droid action figure and other toys?

  • Alan: It’s a selling point. Mine is bigger (than many of the other figures). There’s one that’s like this tall (indicates over a foot) and I have it sitting on my couch, just kind of chillin’, chillin’ at home. K-2 is just there. It’s neat. And they don’t just make one action figure of you, there’s like five, and a car, although yeah, I don’t have a car – yet. But yeah, it’s pretty exciting!

Alan (K-2S0) signs posters for fansAlan (K-2S0) signs posters for fansCourtesy of Disney

Q: Diego, Cassian isn’t a perfectly shiny hero. There are gray areas in his make-up. Can you talk about that?

  • Diego: I think it’s a modern approach to Star Wars, and we live in a different world today. If you revisit all the films, there’s a stamp of what was going on and a reflection on the world back then (when they were made). And ours has to do the same. And we live in a diverse world where racial and cultural diversity is making us richer and more interesting. But it is a complex world we live in, and making the right choice many times looks horrible, you know?
  • These people are in a war. Cassian is a true hero, as Jyn and everyone in this team.  It’s just that, as heroes, we can be, just regular people doing amazing stuff with no special powers, no Jedi’s, it’s just conviction and teamwork and the hope of being able to shape the reality they live in, and that makes them great but yes, they have to make choices on the way and war is horrible. I mean, no one wants war to happen, none of these characters would choose war but it’s the last chance and they have to do it.

Jyn (Felicity) leading her secret missionJyn (Felicity) leading her secret mission

Q: Alan, more on K-2SO. A lot of people will probably think that the K2 is strictly CG (computer-generated), but you were actually on set in mocap suit and stilts so what was that performance like?

  • Alan: Diego can be very funny about certain aspects of my costume, let’s say. I was wearing a full body jumpsuit sort of thing, and it’s such a new technology, even still. We’ve been introduced to it a lot of different ways. Sometimes people wear cameras on their heads, sometimes there’s dots all over their face, they have balls all over their suits. The way that ILM did it, I wore a suit that was very comfortable, it didn’t have all of that restriction on it, it just had interesting designs on it and it was very cool looking. It was like a luge costume from like the Italian team, like it looked cool. Then I was on stilts so I was 7 foot 1 and I towered over everyone most of the time, and it was great. At that height it colors how you move and it helped me get into character. It was fantastic.
  • It was basically just acting, but then the makeup and the costume came later, but because you’re on set you are able to create a character with the other actors. Without that, you can’t tell a story with the true character who can react in a moment. With some of the stuff Diego’s throwing at you (on set), you need to be able to throw it right back.
  • Diego: Okay, I can tell you the truth now. When they (tell you) you’re going to do a science fiction film, or you’re gonna, yeah, work with droids, you have the feeling you’re just going to have to imagine everything. And here we were interacting with an actor and making choices on the way. The first month we just couldn’t look at him because he did look ridiculous with this outfit. It was the tightest pajamas ever, and because he had the stilts you were always the height of his (crotch) here, you know? (laughter) It was quite intimidating. He was really tall!  But then when he had to run there was a version of him that (just turned into) a backpack
  • Alan: The pack of shame.
  • Diego: It was without the stilts, with like the face of K2 on the top. But it just looked so cheesy (more laughing).

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story PosterRogue One: A Star Wars Story PosterCourtesy of Disney

See Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in theaters this Friday, December 16th!

 

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