Voorafgaand aan The Force Awakens werd er over één nieuw personage bijzonder geheimzinnig gedaan: Maz Kanata. Deze kleine vrouwelijke piraat werd door twee actrices gespeeld: Oscar-winnares Lupita Nyong’o deed de stem en de gezichtsuitdrukkingen (zoals bekend is Maz een CGI personage) en actrice Arti Shah was verantwoordelijk voor de motion capture. Onlangs had ik de kans om Arti (die ook films als Hary Potter en Guardians of the Galaxy op haar CV heeft staan) kort te interviewen, exclusief voor StarWarsAwakens en StarWarsInterviews!
Interview met Arti Shah
What or who made you decide to become an actress?
When I was at school, I very much enjoyed drama and always enjoyed watching films, however I ended up studying business. It was when I graduated from my degree, my year tutor said to me “Arti, I can see you working in the media industry”, which gave me the encouragement to go back to what I enjoyed. So, I moved to London and started to follow my passion.
How did you get cast for The Force Awakens?
I was recommended to do some puppeteering on the film which then lead to a meeting with JJ Abrams about Maz, where I would also motion capture this wonderful character with Lupita Nyong’o.
Were you a Star Wars fan before you got cast?
I suppose my relationship with Star Wars while growing up was on and off. When I was a kid, I’d obviously seen the film and was blown away by it. But as I grew older my interests changed. I was very much aware of Star Wars during the prequel era, but my focus at that point in my life was on other things so it was more about nostalgia for me back then, rather than full on fandom. But, when I was asked to come in to meet with creatures about Episode VII, I went back and saw the films again. Marathon sessions, although for me I feel it’s better to do marathons of each trilogy rather than attempting all 6 in one go! There’s just too much to take in! My superfan boyfriend, Rutvig, has helped me gain new insights into the films as well. Now I’m hooked again!
Do you recall the first time you saw a Star Wars movie?
I hope I’m not showing my age here now but, here goes. The first time I saw Star Wars was on television at Christmas in the early 80’s. Replete with adverts! I was very young but I recall feeling completely exhilarated by the experience. I’d never seen anything like it and as you can imagine, for a child to see such fantastical things on screen; it just made me feel so happy and opened up my imagination. I think it turned me on to what film and moving images could be. And to be honest, that’s probably where my interest in filmmaking and wanting to be an actress started.
At San Diego Comic Con a special behind the scenes reel was released. Millions saw you in your Gonk droid outfit -with a huge smile- (of course because you’re in Star Wars). I’d like to know what you felt when you saw this clip for the first time. Was it a surprise they included you?
So, the clip was shown on a Friday evening in San Diego and in London we’re 8 hours ahead. I was asleep when it was shown. When I woke, I went on my Facebook page and saw that I had been tagged in a YouTube clip and that there were a couple of screen shots of me in the Gonk. I was super happy and so surprised at the same time.
In The Force Awakens you performed as the body double for Maz Kanata. Did you get to play Maz in all her scenes in the movie? In other words: every time we see Maz we see you (with added CGI effects)?
Yes, I did get to play Maz in all the scenes with Lupita, so you see both of us with the added CGI effects every time.
The voice and facial expressions of Maz were done by Lupita Nyong’o. Did you meet her and talked about Maz and this role?
I was very lucky to have met Lupita, she was such a pleasure to work with. She would tell me how she wanted Maz to come across and also she would ask my perspective with regards to Maz’s height and how quickly she would walk. As a small person, I tend to take small but quick steps.
Can you share some of your memories regarding the time you worked on The Force Awakens?
I played a character which was nicknamed a “Fueller”, I don’t know the official name for this just yet, as soon as I do, I’ll put it onto social media. This character can be seen in D’Qar, near the Millennium Falcon and an X-Wing. I’m wearing a mustard cloak and have a gas mask on my face. I had to wear a fat suit to make this character look unique. Every day after lunch, everyone would say to me “Arti, you’ve had a big lunch”. I found this to be very funny!
Talking about other characters: Gwellis Bagnoro was also played by you. I’ve seen the costume and headgear, this character doesn’t appear to have a mouth! How could you breathe and perform in that costume?
Ah Gwellis…The creature creators, who are all very talented, do take into consideration breathing and air. So I had little holes that I could breathe out of. It was a very comfortable costume to wear.
How was JJ Abrams to work with?
JJ was such a nice director to work with, he spoke to and treated everyone equally. He was always so encouraging and you could definitely see his passion for the film come across when he was directing.
The big question everyone wants to know: will we see you again in Episode VIII and/or Rogue One?
All I can say is maybe, as I am not sure. Sorry!
Ms. Shah, many thanks for this interview. Hopefully we’ll see you again in a Star Wars movie.
Meer interviews vind je (behalve op StarWarsAwakens.nl) op StarWarsInterviews!
Collector’s Edition: #2 Shane Garrad
Collector’s Edition is een onderdeel op deze site waar we , in samenwerking met Echo Base, een aantal vragen stellen aan hele fanatieke Star Wars verzamelaars, over hun passie en over hun collection. In dit tweede deel een kort vraaggesprek met Shane Garrad, ik heb Shane zijn collectie ontdekt door zijn Instagram en ik wist direct dat hij meer dan geschikt was voor deze rubriek.
Hi Shane, please introduce yourself.
How did you get into collecting Star Wars?
You have a big Star Wars room, what is the focus of your collection?
What is your most valuable item?
Any white whales you are still searching for?
Any items in your collection that were exclusive for Australia?
Is there a big collectors scene in Australia?
Collector’s Edition: #1 Mark Newbold
Collector’s Edition is een nieuw onderdeel op deze site waar we een aantal vragen stellen aan hele fanatieke Star Wars verzamelaars, over hun passie en over hun collection. In dit eerste deel een kort vraaggesprek met Mark Newbold, oprichter van de site FanthaTracks.com en vaste schrijver voor Star Wars Insider en StarWars.com.
Hi Mark, please introduce yourself!
My name is Mark Newbold. I am the editor in chief of Fantha Tracks and I’ve been writing for StarWars.com, Starburst magazine (the longest running Sci-Fi magazine) and since 2006 for Star Wars Insider. I worked for De Agostini’s, build the Millennium Falcon, right now I am working on the Spanish version of the Fact Files series. I started a website in the ‘90s and there was not so much Star Wars going on at the time. So for a while it was a Star Trek site (don’t tell anybody) and then it became more of a general sci-fi site. And when it was clear in the late ‘90s that Star Wars was coming back, I started with the website and collecting again.
When did you start collecting?
Pretty much since the beginning. I saw the movie a couple of months after the release, it came out in December 1977 in London so probably I saw it in the months after that, I was six at the time. My aunt bought me a Star Wars magazine and that was the very first piece of my collection. In the years after ’83 there was nothing Star Wars anymore, and we made fanfiction. And in the 90’s when it was clear that Star Wars was coming back, I started with the website and collecting again.
What is the focus of your collection?
The problem is that I have no main focus. I like to collect all little bits and pieces, like stickers and buttons. It took me a bit, but I’ve got all the vintage figures together. I don’t need to have them in mint condition or anything so that made it easier. And I’ve also got a lot of Star Wars books. And I have different formats of soundtracks and audio books, laserdisc and games.
The good thing is I am not a completionist, so I don’t care too much about that. I like to collect small things. I always say that I would not be bothered if everything in my collection room would fit in the palm of my hand. I like it to have it a bit chaotic and have full shelves. Friends can come over and look around and pick things ups and ask questions. The most fun about collecting is the stories behind every piece.
What is the most valuable piece in your collection?
The Art of Star Wars signed by Ralph McQuarrie at a book signing in the mid 90’s. Nobody was in the queue behind me, so I got 5 minutes to talk with him, I wish I could say we had some deep conversations but it was probably small talk about the weather. Later, a friend of mine took the book to a convention in Paris and got it signed by Joe Johnston and that was the only time it left my side. If something would happen or if I could only keep one thing, it would probably be this this book.
What item took you very long to get, but in the end, you found it.
I was searching for years for SP FX: The Empire Strikes Back on VHS (a television documentary special hosted by actor Mark Hamill, about the special effects of Empire) and I knew a friend of mine had it and after some years he told me that he knew I wanted it. I made him an offer and in the end agreed on half of it and now I have it.
Any big wishes you have or white whales that you are after?
Luckily I don’t have one now. Like I said I love to collect everything, and I am not a completionist. It’s a shame because I like to look for something and search for something. It was a lot of fun in the days before the internet. I loved going to conventions and comic stores searching for that special missing piece.
I know from your social media that you visited Steve Sansweet at Rancho Obi-Wan, what is your relationship with him?
I contacted him when I was writing a piece for Star Wars Insider about the connection of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. And he was at the time still working for Lucasfilm so he could help me with advice on that article. And couple of years later I interviewed him for Star Wars Insider, and we stayed in contact through social media. I met him again at a convention and we became friends. I was at Rancho Obi-Wan for the Guinness Book of Records party. And a couple of times after that. we stayed at Steve’s house and hade breakfast with him, he is a very friendly and very funny guy. If you have the chance to visit Rancho Obi Wan, you should definitely do so!
De verzameling van Mark Newbold
Volg Mark Newbold op FanthaTracks.com en op Twitter @Prefect_Timing
Exclusief interview met Nick Stanner (Stunt performer – The Mandalorian)
Wat zou Star Wars zijn zonder goede stuntlui? Iemand moet de stormtrooper zijn die door een vlammenwerper in rook opgaat of van een rots af valt!
In The Mandalorian ging stuntman Nick Stanner meer dan 30 keer ‘dood’ en was hij als diverse personages te zien. Van Mandalorian tot stormtrooper! Onlangs interviewde ik hem voor StarWarsInterviews.com en zoals altijd is het ook hier te lezen!
How did your journey in movies start? How and why did you become a stuntman?
Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska I was not around film at all. I grew up competing in Gymnastics for my parents’ club all the way through college. I was always flipping off something and in eighth grade I remember watching a movie, not sure which one, but I mentioned I wanted to “do that” as I pointed at the screen. My mom asked if I wanted to be an actor, and I said, “No, I wanna do the cool stuff!” Mom said Oh a stuntman?! I said yeah, and went back to being an eighth grader. Fast forward to after college, I was looking for a new apartment in Lincoln Nebraska where I went to collegians was telling my mom and she said, “I thought you said you wanted to go be a stuntman! When are you going to do that?” The second I heard my mom say that and I knew she supported me no matter where I was, I decided to leave. I headed to Florida to get involved with the live stunt shows at the theme parks like Indiana Jones at Disney, Sindbad at Universal and many others in the Orlando area. Once I got into some of those shows I started to meet people in the film industry.
How did you manage to get hired for The Mandalorian TV series?
One of my best friends that I met at the very first show I did when I moved to Florida was Ryan Watson, the Stunt and Fight Coordinator for The Mandalorian now. We have known each other since 1999. He is one of the best in the industry for fights and creative camera work.
Which characters did you play as a stuntman? The Mandalorian himself?
I played a mandalorian, but not THE Mandalorian. The Mandalorian stunt double is Lateef Crowder. He is amazing with movement. I played numerous characters. I died 32 times in the first eighth episodes, many as a stormtrooper. I did all the high falls so any time someone falls from a roof, that’s me. You can count at least four in the final battle in episode 1. 3 falls in one circle of the gun and one when IG-11 shoots me before they walk in the door. That’s a couple examples, but I am all over the place. I also was the green face guy with Carl Weathers and speeder bike trooper.
You just mentioned that you ‘died’ 32 times. What was your favorite death scene?
Each death was unique. My favorite is high falls, which is why I get to do them all, but being torched by mandos flame thrower as a stormtrooper.
Which of these characters was your favorite?
They are all fun to play, but there is nothing like being a jet pack mandalorian flying on wires. Kids dream come true!
Did you meet the Mandalorian himself, Pedro Pascal? How was he to work with?
I met everyone and worked with the whole cast! It’s an amazing crew with no lack of talent and everyone is very down to earth. Being there every day, I had a chance to get to know everyone pretty well. Pedro is a jokester so we got along great. I’m a big comedy fan so I enjoyed Bill Burr.
Did any weird or funny things happen on or off the set?
There were a few funny moments on set. Lots of laughs all around really but when it was time to work playtime was over. Off the set there was plenty of laughs and good times. When you’re working 10-14-hour days it takes the whole crew to keep everyone in good moods and in the film biz there is no shortage of laughs.
What is your favorite anecdote regarding the production of The Mandalorian?
My fave laughs, not sure of anecdote, was when Bill burr would mess with the crew. He has such quick wit and had the entire crew laughing!
Were you a Star Wars fan before you got cast?
I was a so-so Star Wars fan. I liked the movies, mainly the first 3, and saw them pretty young. Being involved has brought me a little deeper into the world but I would not consider myself a diehard fan.
The question I have to ask every stuntman: what is the most dangerous stunt you’ve ever done?
Most dangerous stunt would be getting hit by car in Death Sentence with Kevin Bacon, or a 9-story high fall while being lit on fire, but it could be being hung underneath a helicopter by 75 feet of cable and flown over Los Angeles! Hard to pick just one, they are all super fun to me!
Meer unieke interviews vind je op: Star Wars Interviews
Exclusief interview met Jake Cannavale (Toro Calican)
In aflevering 5 van The Mandalorian maakten we kennis met de jonge premiejager Toro Calican, gespeeld door Jake Cannavale. Speciaal voor zustersite StarWarsInterviews.com beantwoordde hij kort enkele vragen!
How did you get cast for The Mandalorian and were you a Star Wars fan?
They asked my agent if I would like to be in it. And I’m a massive fan and always will be.
How did the shooting of your scenes (most of them with Pedro Pascal) go?
They went very well. There was not a single difficult person to work with on that entire set. In my so far very short career that’s already not something I take lightly. Pedro Pascal was awesome! Mad love to Pedro.
You were directed by Dave Filoni, who many fans see as George Lucas’ heir. What is your opinion of him?
Other than the fact that he genuinely loves The Phantom Menace I have literally nothing bad to say about Dave. He’s the man. I loved working with him as an actor, and I have nothing but faith in him as a fan.
Did any weird or funny things happen on or off the set?
During me and Ming’s fight scene, Dave told her stunt double -whose name is also Ming- to actually kinda beat me up…it looked fantastic.
What is the best memory you have regarding The Mandalorian?
Probably knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that I can pull off a blue leather outfit.
Besides acting you’re also a musician in a band called Vixen Maw. How would you describe the music you make and who are your musical influences?
Vixen Maw is an experimental grindcore band. I would describe us as the musical equivalent of getting lobotomized by an unlicensed brain surgeon with Parkinson’s disease and medical fetishism. I don’t like to speak on behalf of my band members (or anyone, as a general rule) but I can say we are all pretty eclectic in terms of our musical tastes, with extreme music being the anchor, or epicenter, so to speak. So our influences are pretty all over the place. I will say that we are currently writing a new album from our own respective quarantine spots and some of the bands I’ve been listening to for inspiration include Chepang, Bandit, Narayama, Vulva Essers, Cloud Rat, Botch, Wormrot, Coke Bust, Gulch, and Bryan Adams.
You’re almost 25 years old. Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what are your career goals?
In ten years I see myself hopefully having had enough memorable screen time to be sampled in some kids shitty grindcore band that his parents are sick of hearing rehearse from their garage. Also I would genuinely love to be writing for a living. Theater, film and animated television.
Meer unieke interviews vind je op: Star Wars Interviews