In korte tijd heeft Clem So een indrukwekkend CV opgebouwd: de laatste paar jaar was hij te zien in films en series als Spectre, Skyfall, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Who, Sherlock en Star Wars: The Force Awakens! Hoog tijd dus om hem een aantal vragen te stellen over zijn ervaringen en hoe het was op de set van de laatste Star Wars film!
Interview met Clem So
What, or who, made you decide to enter the movie business?
My brother Tom had an acting role in the James Bond movie Casino Royale, he played Mr. Fukutu and encouraged me to join some casting agencies for film extras. I have a similar look to him, so I thought, why not. I now do a lot of extra work as a supporting artist on many productions and I am also beginning to branch out into acting.
How did you get cast for The Force Awakens?
The Force Awakens was cast solely through one agency and through what is the normal procedure for a extras agency, production will send a criteria for what sort of characters they are looking for and the agency will then send back suggestions based on this, then they let you know if you are picked providing that you are available for the filming dates. I had to turn The Force Awakens down first time around because I was already working on another movie called Pan. Fortunately for me, I was asked back later on for a second round of filming with The Force Awakens. This may have been due to slight filming delays during the time that Harrison Ford was recovering from his foot injury. It’s a bonus if it’s a project your a fan of, but at the end the day you don’t get into these things because you’re a fan, everyone who clocks in is turning up to work.
Were you a Star Wars fan before you got cast? Do you recall the first time you saw a Star Wars movie?
I am a big fan of science fiction and comic books. I saw Star Wars: A New Hope when it first came out in the cinema in 1977. I was 16, there was such a buzz around it and it was like nothing I had seen before, you really felt like you were along for the ride, there was robots, big furry creatures, laser swords, what’s not to like? And of course the sound track was epic, who could forget the theme music now? I was at University when Return of the Jedi was first released and I remember the excitement of watching the trilogy back to back in Leicester Square and I also took all my kids to see the prequels which was a joy to share that with them.
I know you played a Resistance Fighter in The Force Awakens. I was wondering if you played more roles in this movie?
My role was as a Resistance Fighter and I played no other role.
In which specific scenes can we see you?
My scenes were shot at the RAF base at Greenham Common and I think it was widely publicized that filming was taking place there when a drone accidently stumbled upon it and published pictures revealing X-Wings and the Millennium Falcon. So I might be seen in the background at the air base. We also filmed at Pinewood Studios where all the internal Resistance base scenes were shot. I am clearly seen standing next to Finn in one scene where everyone is discussion the plan of attack on the Starkiller base.
Can you share some of your memories regarding the time you worked on The Force Awakens?
Walking pass a life size Millennium Falcon, that will stay with me forever. A lot of effects were hands on, so most of the droids and creatures were real not CGI. You did feel like you were living in a real Star Wars world where people are X-Wing pilots, droids are running about all over the place. I could almost hear the John Williams theme music in my head.
Did any strange, weird or remarkable things happen on the set?
A funny thing happened during a over head shot of the air force base. I don’t think this shot was used in the movie. For the shot I adopted a near by R2 unit, it was rather peculiar looking because it was pink. I later found out that it was called R2-KT and named after some ones daughter Katie. (editors note: for more about R2-KT visit her website) During the shot I help the R2 unit across the runway, it is of course done via remote control. I started to get into character and began talking to the R2 unit while walking. We did this for several takes, but during one of the breaks between takes I am still habitually talking to the droid like it’s my little pet and as I look up, of all the people to be standing there is Anthony Daniels looking at me as if I am raving mad.
Did you get to interact with some of the big stars of this movie like Harrison Ford, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver? How were they?
There is a chain of command during filming and it is understood by all involved that you don’t ever talk to main cast unless they are speaking to you. These actors are under tremendous pressure with a lot riding on them, so their focus is everything. Apart from Adam Driver and Mark Hamill, all the main cast were present during my scenes, but no interaction other than reaction for a scene.
How did JJ Abrams direct you? And what impression did he make on you?
What came across to me is how much J.J really cares about the franchise, I think he had an almost impossible task to fulfill the expectations of nearly 40 years of dedicated fan base, but I think he pulled it off.
The big question: will we see you again in Episode VIII and/or Rogue One? And if so: can you tell something more about this?
I think you will agree that Disney/Lucas Films has done a terrific job keeping The Force Awakens spoiler free, everyone involved in these films has to sign a non disclosure agreement before starting work on these projects, so even if I was involved, I couldn’t tell you even if I wanted to.
You have worked on other big productions like Spectre, Skyfall, Guardians of the Galaxy and TV shows like Sherlock and Doctor Who. Quite a list! Is there a difference in working on Star Wars and these other productions?
There’s a certain gravitas in the undertaking and making. Star Wars has prestige and you sense that when you are on set. It’s steeped in movie history. Star Wars is just like that Imperial Star Destroyer that you see looming into shot in the opening scene of A New Hope. It is just simply massive. Of course Doctor Who and James Bond are also iconic characters but Star Wars is the grand daddy of them all. Regarding whether there is a difference in working on Star Wars and these other shows. For me there is no difference other than scale and budget and I treat them all with the same work ethic with respect and professionalism.
My final question: Of all the things you have done so far…what do you regard as the highlight of your career?
I feel very grateful for all the wonderful films and TV shows that I have worked on so far and I value every experience equally. Achievement doesn’t interest me so much. It’s a hard industry to keep finding work in, so when I am working, that is the highlight for me.
Many thanks to Mr. So and to my friend Rick from Sci-Fi signers united for making this interview possible!
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