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Exclusief interview met Keith Szarabajka (Vizago in Star Wars Rebels)

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Keith Szarabajka

In de Star Wars Rebels animatiereeks hebben we met de meest uiteenlopende nieuwe personages kennisgemaakt. Eén daarvan is de misdaadbaas Cikatro Vizago, een Devaronian die op Lothal actief is. De stem van Vizago is ingesproken door (stem)acteur Keith Szarabajka. Velen zullen hem kennen van zijn rol als Gerard Stephens in The Dark Knight waarin hij met The Joker (Heath Ledger) wordt geconfronteerd. Daarnaast zat hij in films als Argo, Transformers: Dark of the Moon (als Laserbeak) en TV series als The Equalizer, Golden Years en Law & Order.

Interview met Keith Szarabajka

How did you get started in the (voice)acting business?

I started in the voice acting business pretty much like anyone else. An agent saw me in a play in New York, and asked if she could start sending me out. Things clicked and there goes my life. I also did a reading of a short story at Symphony Space in New York City before a live audience. The man who ran Symphony Space and Selected Shorts, Isaiah Sheffer , lived in my building, which was just a couple of blocks away from Symphony Space on New York’s Upper West Side. He invited me to do one, and I went to the theater around 6 PM to do a sound check and look the place over. It was a cold rainy, February evening in 1987. The sound check was unremarkable and I walked back home for dinner afterwards. When I returned to the theater for half hour, around 730, the audience was lined up around the block . When we started the show around 8pm, it was packed! It felt like people were hanging from the rafters. I felt like a rock star! A lot of people in the industry attended those readings, and I began getting steady work in voice acting.

Star Wars fans know you as Cikatro Vizago from Star Wars Rebels. How did you get this part?

I auditioned for it. But unknown to me, I had a little inside help. Greg Weissman, with whom I worked on the Godzilla animation series and other things, was one of the writers, and he and I always got along. So I’m sure he had something to do with my hiring.

Keith Szarabajka

How did you create the voice of Cikatro?

I looked at the drawing and just let it dictate what he would sound like. I wanted him to sound foreign but not Russian. Alien but still understandable. Greg and Dave Filoni liked what I came up with, so there you have it.

Besides Rebels you also did some voices for the game Star Wars: Force Commander. Were you a Star Wars fan before your first ‘Star Wars job’?

I have always been a huge Star Wars fan. I even think Jar Jar Binks has been unfairly slandered. I just wish it were all true.

Your non-voice acting resume includes some critically acclaimed movies and series; especially Argo and The Dark Knight! Can you share some memories regarding working with directors like Ben Affleck, Christopher Nolan and Clint Eastwood?

One thing in common among all three of these directors: They were uncommonly kind and polite in their dealings with me and in what I could see of their interaction with the other actors, but also still firmly in charge. None of them were pushovers, by any means. Clint liked to do one or two takes and then move on. Actually, all three were pretty much in that mode, even though each of the movies was a different genre from the rest. Ben hired me without an audition, as I did an ABC After School special with him when he was 12 or 14. He actually remembered me. Mr. Nolan really knew what he wanted from a scene and could get it. He added me into a lot of scenes. I just wish he’d added me into The Dark Knight Rises, but that didn’t happen.

Keith Szarabajka

Keith Szarabajka als Gerard Stephens in The Dark Knight, hier in een scène met Heath Ledger als The Joker.

Of all the projects you have done….which one are you most proud of? And why?

I come from the theater, and the six years I spent at the Organic Theater of Chicago are my fondest memories and from which I drew my closest friends. John Heard, Joe Mantegna, Dennis Franz, the late Meshach Taylor and the late Roberta Custer. Jack Wallace. Stuart and Carolyn Gordon. These are my theatrical family. I just directed a new play at Ensemble Studio Theatre Los Angeles Project, Watching O.J. by David McMillan, which ran for 7 weeks to sold out houses in Los Angeles. It is slated to come again back in February.

In TV: Daniel Holtz in Angel was the most fun; Harlan Williams in Stephen King’s The Golden Years was the role of which I’m proudest. And Profit was my favorite show that I did. Too bad it only had 8 hours of life. It was terrific and ahead of its time in 1996. I also loved doing The Equalizer and Edward Woodward.

The film I’m proudest of is Missing by Costa-Gavras in 1982.

What is your dream role? If you could play any role in a movie (acting or voice acting): what would it be?

The next job for which I get hired is my dream job.

Final question: who (or what) has been your greatest influence in your (voice)acting career?

The Organic Theater Company of Chicago made me who I am today, for good or for bad.

Thank you for the interview! I hope we’ll see Cikatro show up again in Rebels soon!

 

Meer interviews vind je (behalve op StarWarsAwakens.nl) op StarWarsInterviews!

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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