Rogue One A Star Wars Story - Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso and Diego Luna as Cassian Andor

Kathleen Kennedy Says a Woman Can Direct a Star Wars Movie

In one of the press conference’s few tense moments, Kathleen Kennedy was asked about her recent comments where she said, “We want to make sure that when we bring a female director in to do Star Wars, they’re set up for success. They’re gigantic films, and you can’t come into them with essentially no experience.” Haven’t men without much experience making large films been given a chance to helm large studio movies? Kennedy claims the original quote was taken out of context:

That’s not true. This gentleman [motions to Gareth Edwards] did Godzilla before we hired him to direct the movie. That quote was taken out of context and I, as you can imagine, have every intention of giving somebody an opportunity. If somebody actually moves through the process of making movies and wants to make a Star Wars movie and shows that they have actually stepped into the role on that level, of course we’re going to consider a woman. That goes without saying.

When asked to name a female director who could be a good fit for Star Wars, Kennedy declined to answer:

I think there’s many. And I’ve talked to most of them. There are many out there.

There are two ways to read her response: either she’s deflecting the question or she’s deliberately not mentioning any names because she doesn’t want to drag any names into the public and potentially derail a future project. I certainly hope it’s the latter.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story

On the Importance of Diversity

Since both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One both feature diverse casts, Kennedy fielded a question about the importance of representing men and women of all races in the Star Wars universe:

I think it’s incredibly important to Star Wars. I think it’s more important to the film industry in general. Having casts that represent and reflect the world today and having characters people can relate to all over the world…this is very much a global industry. Films mean something to people all over the world. It was certainly important to this story. It lent itself very, very well. This is a group of people who come together in ways that are inexplicable, but they share a very common belief and they feel very strong in their desire to do the right thing and they work together incredibly well and having that sense of diversity as people come together was really important to our story. Every movie has reasons for why you cast certain people, but I think what we’re doing today is being much more mindful of that and I think it’s important.

Later, Kennedy spoke about the importance of creating strong female heroes in these movies, especially since the internet has the wrong idea about what it means to be a strong woman in a story:

I think it is really important. I found it really interesting when I first stepped into this job and I started to look at what does it mean to be a female hero. And when you started to look, certainly online, at imagery, it was pretty shocking what came up. I think the character of Rey, the character of Jyn, these are empowered women that are not necessarily just taking on male characteristics. They’re genuinely female heroines. I think that’s really important to the way we tell stories.

rogue one clip

On Kicking Stormtrooper Ass

When asked about finding her inner warrior to play Jyn Erso, Felicity Jones said she simply had to tap into the fact that her character despises the Empire with every fiber of her being…and get a little stunt assistance, of course:

In Jyn’s head, it’s very clear. She hates the Empire. So anytime she sees Stormtroopers, she has this very clear instinct to take them down. So I just tapped into that energy that Jyn has. I had never done that kind of thing before. It was very new, the whole kind of physical preparation, that side of acting. I’m kind of used to lots of talking in corsets, so it was really nice to be running around with a blaster and a baton to bash Stormtroopers with. It was an extraordinary process and you work very closely with the stunt team, who take you through every kind of move and moment and support you throughout the whole thing. I was very lucky to have great support from the stunt team.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story - Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe, Wen Jiang as Baze Malbus, Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso

The Cast Reacts to Their New Action Figures

A touchstone moment for any Star Wars actor involves the moment when they first receive a small plastic version of themselves. Naturally, the assembled cast was asked to talk about what it’s like to be immortalized as action figures:

Kathleen Kennedy: I was laughing to myself as these guys were all standing in the hall as we were waiting to come in here because they were all scrutinizing the toys that are lined up [on display] there.

Andi Gutierrez: You guys are Hot Wheels now.

Diego Luna: Yeah, Hot Wheels. That’s the weirdest one. You know, I always felt sorry for those musicians or those writers who for Christmas give their own record as a gift. But this Christmas, I think I’m going to be giving a lot of those toys. It’s so cool. When I saw my kids playing with them, it was perfect. It just made complete sense. My daughter, I gave her mine and she was like “Nah, do you have Jyn?” She loves Felicity. It’s a cool feeling. Probably in twenty, thirty years, it’s going to be really cool to open that drawer and find your toy. I like Alan’s because it doesn’t have his face. And it doesn’t do the voice, so he cannot really say it’s his toy! [Laughs uproariously in Alan Tudyk’s direction]

Alan Tudyk: [To Diego Luna] Mine is a lot bigger than yours, I should say. There’s one that’s like this tall [uses his hand to measure about a foot off the ground] and I have it sitting on my couch, kind of chilling, chilling at home. K2’s just there. It’s neat. They don’t make just one action figure of you. There’s like five. And a car! Although yeah, I don’t have a car…yet.

Of course, Donnie Yen has been a superstar in China for years, so the four-inch Chirrut Îmwe is not the first time he’s seen a toy version of himself:

Donnie Yen: I have…quite a few. [Enormous laugher from cast] The biggest one I have is like nine feet tall. [To Alan Tudyk] Bigger than you, baby.

Alan Tudyk: Yours could just crush mine with your foot!

Of the cast, Riz Ahmed has the most sentimental and moving reaction to seeing a toy version of himself:

I did get an action figure. I was very pleased because I think he’s a lot better looking than I am. I think they accidentally modeled it on Diego or something! It was a kind of surreal, amazing moment to be honest. I remember playing with those toys as a kid so to be a part of that universe, in plastic, is an amazing thing.

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