Exclusief interview met Laela French (Director of Archives van het Lucas Cultural Arts Museum) en Sophie Desbiens (Communications & Museum Relations Director van X3Productions)
Op vrijdag 29 september, daags voor de publieksopening van Star Wars Identities, had ik de eer om twee van de makers van deze expo te mogen interviewen. Laela French, die als hoofd van het archief van het Lucas museum over al die duizenden kostuums, modellen en props gaat en Sophie Desbiens van X3, het bedrijf wat deze expo mede mogelijk maakt.
Nog voordat ik met het interview kan beginnen wordt direct duidelijk dat de dames een echte passie voor hun werk en Star Wars hebben: Sophie ziet mijn T-shirt (12 Parsecs verwerkt in het HotWheels logo) en begint te vertellen hoe ze fan werd van de acteur die de Kessel Run in minder dan 12 Parsecs deed…
Sophie: I was a huge fan of Indiana Jones. We did an exhibit about Indiana too by the way. I did see Star Wars back in 1977 and I was fascinated by Princess Leia but I thought Star Wars was more for boys. But then I fell in love with Indiana Jones and I discovered that Han Solo was played by the same actor. There are even some people who say that Indiana Jones is a dream of Han Solo when he is in the carbonite!
You just mentioned the Indiana Jones exhibit. Is there any chance this one will come to Europe?
Sophie: No, it is finished.
Even now there’s an Indiana Jones 5 in the works?
Sophie: Yes, because when we did the exhibit it was before Disney took over.
Luckily we do have Star Wars Identities! What is your own favorite item of this exhibit and is there a special story attached to it?
Sophie: My favorite is the eyes of Jabba. I think it’s fascinating to see it all because when you see it from the side all the wiring is visible. Seeing the eyes is seeing the rest. I just love it. It’s also a testament of the old ways of filmmaking you know. Before CGI, when things were material and mechanical. I thought that was amazing.
Laela: I’ll go with the Star Destroyer, one of the largest models we have and it’s quite iconic. The opening shot of Star Wars with the Star Destroyer changed movies and the expectations of the viewer forever. George raised the bar so high. You don’t see things made like this anymore.
Sophie: You can really see all these tiny details.
Yes, I saw two years ago when it was in Cologne and I was blown away by it.
Identities has toured all over the world: Canada, England, Germany… and now the Netherlands. Why was the Netherlands and specifically Utrecht selected for Identities?
Sophie: The Netherlands because there are many Star Wars fans in the Netherlands. In Utrecht we found this venue where we are now. As you know we need loads of space, 10.000 square foot (930 m²). So sometimes it’s a challenge to find a place that can host us with all the required conditions like climate control and all that because the objects are very precious. All of it is needed to make sure they keep the right structure and sometimes it’s difficult to find a big hall that has all that is needed. So we scored big with this location. Utrecht is an amazing city and it’s in the center of the Netherlands. It’s very accessible for people, everybody can get to Utrecht easy. So I think it’s a fantastic place and we’re really happy to be here.
Laela: And we’ve never been to the Netherlands. We’ve been touring for 25 years and we’ve been to a lot of European countries like Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Sweden, and Finland… but never the Netherlands.
Sophie: And you get the best of all the exhibits we’ve done.
You just mentioned you’ve been touring for 25 many years with Star Wars exhibits. One of them was Magic of Myth and in 2008 there was the Star Wars Expo in Brussels. What are the differences between the previous exhibits and Identities?
Laela: Every time we come up with a new theme. Magic of Myth was our first blockbuster we did with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. It was about the mythology. The Star Wars heroes journey was the inspiration back then. Unlike other shows we not just want to show you some artifacts or how everything is done but we want to inspire. We always have different items on display, so people who have been to previous exhibits like Magic of Myth, will discover new things.
And how did the selection procedure go? There are thousands of items in the Lucasfilm archives to choose from.
Laela: When we became partners with X3 Productions it was a matter of how we are going to tell the ‘story’. They had suggested using Anakin and Luke. Same genetics, same upbringing, but very different outcomes. So we have everyone’s favorite character on the exhibition but we’re telling it in a non-linear fashion. And so the artifacts literally fell into place when we got all these ideas about origins, influences and choices.
Is that also the reason why there aren’t many items from The Force Awakens and Rogue One on display?
Laela: We developed this exhibition in 2012 and it was built to go on the road. When you do things like that it’s hard to constantly add new things and change because it is tied to the storyline and identity quest; everything is intertwined which makes us unique and different. It’s not like; here’s a bunch of stuff from Star Wars and that’s it. Still, we did add a couple of things from The Force Awakens, but it was hard to squeeze in. In addition to that, the production team doesn’t allow us to add new things. They’re rolling one movie now as we speak (the Han Solo movie). They’re holding it all together and moving it from one production to the next. Their priority is making movies.
Sophie: Now we have the BB-8 and a First Order Stormtrooper next to the classic one and the three helmets from A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Laela: The helmet from The Empire Strikes Back is unique; it has never been on the road before. You now have the whole iteration of Stormtroopers which I think is important for fan groups like the 501st and hardcore fans. So, we try to keep our fans like you happy because you’re our toughest critics.
Why should everyone, Star Wars fan or not, go to Star Wars Identities?
Laela: Everyone recognizes Darth Vader for instance. People see the power in the design. And even when it will never be their favorite movie they understand it on a new level. It’s like Shakespeare. Loads of stories tie back to his work and Star Wars is fitting in to that now as well. It is part of that historic mythology. Kids today know Star Wars without having ever seen one of the movies.
That is absolutely true. I’ve got two kids, 6 and 3, and although they have never seen a Star Wars movie they know who Darth Vader, Chewbacca and Yoda are.
Laela: It’s just like kids know who Cinderella is, or a knight, a cowboy. Star Wars characters have the same status. I think it’s a good challenge. You know we’ve never had anyone come out of the exhibit and go “eww”, but you know, there’s always a first for everything! We designed it for everybody. We designed it for fans, non-fans, families. It’s a social thing.
Sophie: Provoking conversation.
I’m positive it will! Thanks for the interview!
STAR WARS Identities: The Exhibition
Locatie: Naast CineMec – Utrecht (Berlijnplein 100, Utrecht)
Datum: Van 30 september 2017 t/m 11 maart 2018
Tickets: Vanaf € 16 (excl. servicekosten)
Ga voor meer informatie en tickets naar www.starwarsidentities.nl
Audiotour en de RFID polsband zijn inbegrepen bij het ticket en worden uitgedeeld voordat men de tentoonstelling betreedt. Er wordt gewerkt met entree tickets met tijdslots, de laatste toegang is een half uur voor sluitingstijd.
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