Rogue One Star Wars riz ahmed

One day, we will run out of news concerning what could have been in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But that day is not today. Star Wars fans are as interested in the making of these movies as they are in the movies themselves, which makes the production of Rogue One so very fascinating – the first of the saga’s spin-off movies was massaged into many different positions during development and the alternate versions make for a great game of “What if?”.

That’s what makes actor Riz Ahmed‘s audition tape for the film especially interesting – he’s literally trying out several completely different characters for director Gareth Edwards.

You can see chunks of the audition tape in the video below, which also explains that Ahmed (who plays Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook in the film) sent in a number of tapes, each with a unique take on the character. Since we know Bodhi was in flux more than any other central character, this makes sense. As a bonus: Ahmed appears to be having a grand old time.

When I spoke to Ahmed last year, he described the audition process in detail, explaining that he sent in so many different takes that Edwards had to literally ask him to stop:

I don’t think you can plan to be in something like this. It always happens by accident. What happened is, [director] Gareth Edwards comes from a British indie movie background as well, so he knows my work from that circuit and I know Monsters and stuff like that, his work before Godzilla. He contacted me and said, “Look, come and audition for this role, I’m doing this Star Wars standalone movie.” I didn’t even know they were doing standalone movies. It wasn’t something I was tracking and following or knew existed. The role was very different from what it is now. It was a lot smaller. Different name, different guy, different relationship to the others. Once I came on board and we started working, it evolved a lot by the end of the shoot into what it is now.

But yeah, he knew my work from those indie movies and that’s why he asked me to audition. And I started spamming him with auditions. I went totally overboard. I sent him fourteen different takes in three days. He emailed me and said, “Please stop emailing me.” And I thought, okay, I’ve screwed this up. Then a month later he calls and says, “You’ve got the role. Stop emailing me auditions!”

Today’s other piece of trivia arrives on our doorstep courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, who discovered that the planet Dantooine was going to play a role in the movie at one point. However, cutting it out (and not building the set) meant saving some production money to spend elsewhere. As Edwards explains:

We did a few things to save money and one of them was they go to a Rebel base in the first half of the film, then go off on their adventure, and the second half of the film they return to a Rebel base. It used to be that the first half of the movie was not on Yavin it was Dantooine.

As you may remember, Dantooine is the name of the planet Princess Leia gives Grand Moff Tarkin when he demands to know the location of the rebel base in the original Star Wars. As you may also remember, the Imperials discover that there was a rebel base on Dantooine, a peaceful, rural planet, but it had been abandoned. In other words, Rogue One was going to actually feature the Rebellion pulling up stakes and moving from Dantooine to Yavin IV. While pretty cool, this is an easy cut – it’s not necessary at all to the plot!

Rogue One is out for digital download today and hits Blu-ray and DVD on April 4, 2017.

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