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Exclusief interview met Paul Warren (Varmik)

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Paul Warren

Van post-Punk naar Harry Potter naar Star Wars: het overkwam Paul Warren! Medio jaren 90 speelde hij nog in de band Monkey Boy maar eenmaal in de film business kreeg hij rollen in Harry Potter (als weerwolf én hij fungeerde als stand-in voor Daniel Radcliffe) en was hij als Varmik te zien in de kasteelscènes in The Force Awakens. Begin mei kon ik hem namens StarWarsAwakens.nl diverse vragen stellen, onder andere over zijn eigen Funko! figuur!

Interview met Paul Warren

How did you start your career in movies?

When I was young, I was very keen on being an actor or a special effects makeup artist. I attended drama classes and appeared in a lot of school plays, as well as making monster movies and action shorts with my friends. When I left school, I actually ended up forming a punk rock band with my brother. We were lucky enough to be signed to an independent label quite early on and for about 10 years we toured Europe to some small success. It wasn’t until I attended an open audition for Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men in 2005, where I was cast in a very small role as an injured refugee, that I decided to pursue a career in the film industry. Being on a set, wearing prosthetics and having to perform physically under some quite extreme conditions was a real thrill. In 2006, I was offered the job of Daniel Radcliffe’s body double on Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix.  I spent much of my time 20ft up in the air on the hydraulic broomstick system and doing other physically demanding activities during the shoot, whilst building a good rapport with the cast/crew and a reputation as a versatile performer. It wasn’t long after that I was recommended to the legendary Stan Winston Studio as a good choice to play a character in prosthetics in The Deaths of Ian Stone. This door opening into the world of acting under silicone and foam latex, is what ultimately led to a film career playing characters in heavy prosthetics and creature suits.

In The Force Awakens you played Varmik, one of the three Hassk aliens. How did you get cast for The Force Awakens and how did you get this specific role?

By the time they were casting creatures for The Force Awakens, I had already worked with a lot of the people in Star Wars creature shop on films such as Clash of the Titans, Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy, so I was recommended to Neal Scanlan (creature shop supervisor) and joined a core team they were putting together to perform and puppeteer the creatures.

What can you tell about the Hassk costume? Was the head filled with electronics to operate the eyes, mouth and facial expressions for example?

Yes, that’s exactly right. There was a creature crew member off to the side of the set, looking at a monitor, operating the eyes and the snarl, while I operated the mouth opening with my chin and of course the body movement. The costume was made very similar to Chewbacca’s costume. I wore a woollen suit with hand punched hair, which was very hot, but beautifully made by the creature department.

Paul Warren

A lot must have happened on and off the set of Maz Kanata’s castle. Could you share some good stories?

So many great memories. I wouldn’t be able to do them justice in just a few lines. But what I will say is, that if you are a Star Wars fan, working on and being in a Star Wars film is everything you think it will be.

Your character was one of the first Star Wars creatures illustrated by Ralph McQuarrie 40 years ago. I bet you are aware that a ‘werewolf-like’ creature is on the Mos Eisley painting he did for the first Star Wars?

Yes, Varmik is based on that classic Ralph McQuarrie cantina concept art. J.J. Abrams loves that image and wanted to bring the character to life, so it seemed a natural fit for me to play, as I bear a somewhat physical resemblance to that character’s body. It’s quite ironic, because that cantina art has also always been one of my favourite pieces. I couldn’t quite believe it when I was asked to bring that character to life. It’s still very surreal to me and hasn’t quite sunk in.

09-Cantina

Since you knew about the concept art I bet you were a Star Wars fan before you got cast? 

Yes a massive fan. I’m very lucky and grateful I was given the opportunity.

Varmik has got his own action figure and there’s a Funko Pop figure of him. I’m sure you have both of them, right?

I have both and I love them. I’ve played quite a lot of creatures in my career, but this is the first character to get his own toys. I never expected it would be Star Wars toys!

How do you look back on the whole Star Wars experience?

Every month there seems to be something new about the film coming out and with the recent release of the Blu-ray, which features more Varmik behind the scenes, I don’t think I’m ready to look back just yet. It’s still on-going.

Besides Star Wars you’ve worked as a double in Captain America, X-Men: First Class and Harry Potter. What are –in your opinion- the differences between working on these movies and on Star Wars?

The fundamentals of making the film are pretty much the same. You get up early, you work really hard and you want to do the best job for the director that you can. It’s challenging, very exciting and a lot of fun. But this is Star Wars. It’s so iconic in pop culture and film history, that it transcends everything.

Final question: you were in in post-punk rock band called Monkey Boy. Who were your musical influences and will your band perform again in the future?

We were big fans of late 80’s and early 90’s post rock bands like Minor Threat, The Birthday Party, The Jesus Lizard, and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. That kind of stuff. I don’t know if we will play again. We have talked about it and we are all still very close, but we all started new chapters in our lives…maybe.

Thank you for your time! Let’s end this interview with a good track from the Monkey Boy album The Creature of Doctor Rumpledink called Strutter!

SWIsmallbannerStar Wars Interviews – ‘Mem-Wars’ from a galaxy far, far away…

Geboren toen de opnames van A New Hope van start gingen. Voormalig assistent van Anthony Daniels. Auteur van de 'Star Wars Interviews' boekenreeks waarvoor hij 180+ cast en crewleden interviewde. Trots op zijn vermeldingen in de credits van de boeken The Making of Return of the Jedi, Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor, The Star Wars Historical Sourcebook, The Star Wars Archives en Star Wars Icons: Han Solo.

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Interviews

Collector’s Edition: #2 Shane Garrad

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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 collectionIn 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.

A big hi from Australia to all Dutch Star Wars fans. My name’s Shane Garrad, 46 years old, married, with 1 daughter (named Leia Ahsoka) from a small country town called Port Pirie where I’m employed as a Night Duty/Fill Manager at a Large Supermarket Chain. I’m a lifelong Star Wars fan and 6 months ago decided to start an Instagram page devoted to sharing my collection, hoping to connect with like-minded fans across the world. So far it’s been a lot of fun.

How did you get into collecting Star Wars?

I guess collecting sort of become an extension of my childhood. I remember as a kid growing up with toys like Star Wars, He-Man, Transformers etc. in the 80’s, but my first love was always Star Wars from the 1st time I watched A New Hope. My collecting became rekindled with the relaunch of the Power of the Force 2 during the Mid 90’s. I remained pretty active collecting from there up until about the release of Attack of the Clones. Unfortunately I had to sell my collection then due to personal circumstances. I picked it up again at the time of Revenge of the Sith on a casual basis until about late 2014, where now it’s my hobby and passion.

You have a big Star Wars room, what is the focus of your collection?

I guess my main focus collecting has always been predominately about the characters that populate the Star Wars universe, so I mainly target 3.75 figures and also Black Series 6 inch. My goal is to one day own complete sets of every figure line released. It’s a patient focus that takes time, but the reward is great when you accomplish. I’m also passionate about original vintage Mint n cards as these were the toys I loved the most. I think currently I have 204 vintage MOC which includes a lot of variants. I guess over the last 5 years I’ve also just expanded to include anything I find that I think is cool for the collection. It’s definitely become an eclectic mix of everything.

What is your most valuable item?  

My most valuable item in the collection is a tough one… I would probably have to go with my collection of vintage Mint on card Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker figures. Like a lot of fans growing up Luke was and still is my idol. Watching Return of the Jedi and just being in awe of this powerful Jedi was just so impressionable to an 8 year old. So I have a weakness for the vintage carded version, currently owning 16 (lol). The other item that is priceless to me is an autographed photo taken with Mark Hamill at Star Wars Celebration Orlando in 2017.

Any white whales you are still searching for?

There are still a few “white whales” I’m keen to find and add to the collection hopefully in the next few years. The primary one is a vintage Mint on card Luke Farm boy which I know will take some saving and patience. That would complete my Luke collection for vintage. A few others are a nice complete loose vintage Yak face, Naboo Royal Starship & Duel on Mustafar playset (both mint in box) are on the wishlist.

Any items in your collection that were exclusive for Australia?

No, unfortunately I can’t say there are any specific to just us here Australians in the collection. It has been increasingly more difficult to gain any international exclusives either. It can be a frustrating time for collectors with all the US exclusives launched over the past few years. A lot of patience needed and fingers crossed they can be sourced.

Is there a big collectors scene in Australia?

Absolutely, there is a very healthy community of collectors here in Australia. Like many countries there are plenty of Facebook groups for all different facets of collecting, ranging from vintage figures, modern stuff, Black Series, etc. Many discussion groups, buy/swap pages and some good sites to just chat & share information.
Thank you so much for your time Shane! Please follow Shane Garrad on Instagram @leias_legacy_74
Heb je al een verzameling of wil je er een beginnen kijk dan eens op de Facebook site van Echo base.

Shane’s verzameling:

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Interviews

Collector’s Edition: #1 Mark Newbold

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Mark newbold collection 2

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

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Interviews

Exclusief interview met Nick Stanner (Stunt performer – The Mandalorian)

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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

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Interviews

Exclusief interview met Jake Cannavale (Toro Calican)

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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

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