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On Michael Giacchino’s Score

While composer Michael Giacchino (stepping in for the brilliant John Williams) was not present, Gareth Edwards spoke about his work and implied that he may be the biggest Star Wars fan working on the film:

Michael did an amazing score for us. He’s a massive, massive, massive, massive Star Wars fan. I think a lot of us compete for who’s the biggest Star Wars fan working on the film and you go around his house and walk in the door and in his main front room is a 13-foot framed poster of A New Hope. So we’d joke “You didn’t have to do that for us” and he’d be like “No, this has been up for like thirteen years.” He said he listened to the Empire Strikes Back soundtrack to death as a kid and I think the vocabulary of that music is in him. It just poured out. There’s particular moments in the film, musically, especially toward the end, that are truly stunning and very emotional. I think he just knocked it out of the park. We’re very lucky.

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Rogue One Is Intended to Be a Completely Standalone Movie

When I watched the extended preview of Rogue One, I wondered if newcomers or casual Star Wars fans would be able to understand and appreciate the film. Kathleen Kennedy claims this is the perfect entry point for the uninitiated:

It’s absolutely a standalone. I think the great thing is this could be a real introduction to the whole franchise for many people who haven’t necessarily followed it or younger people who don’t know that much about Star Wars and other parts of the world that don’t know much about Star Wars. It really does stand on its own.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story - K-2SO

Creating K-2SO, the Motion Capture Droid

While the hulking security droid K-2SO was created digitally by ILM, Alan Tudyk was present on set wearing a motion capture suit and standing on stilts for all of his character’s scenes. When asked about this particular process, Diego Luna can barely contain his laughter:

Alan Tudyk: Diego is very funny about certain aspects of my costume. I was wearing a full body jumpsuit sort of thing. It’s such a new technology, even still. We’ve been introduced to it in a lot of different ways. Sometimes they’ll wear cameras on their heads, sometimes there’s dots all over their face, they have balls all over their suit. The way ILM did it, I wore a suit that was very comfortable and didn’t have all that restriction on it. It just had interesting designs on it–

[Diego Luna starts giggling]

John Knoll: It was cool looking.

Alan Tudyk: It was very cool looking! It was like a luge costume from the Italian team. It didn’t have the colors, but still! And I was on stilts, so I was seven foot one and towered over everyone most of the time. It was great. Even at that height, it colors how you move and helped me get into character. It was fantastic.

Diego Luna: It wasn’t!

Alan Tudyk: It was basically just acting, but then the make-up and the costume came later. But because you’re on set, you are able to create a character with the other actors. Without that, you can’t tell a story with a true character who can react in the moment to some of the stuff Diego is throwing at you. You need to be able to throw it right back!

Rogue One A Star Wars Story - K-2SO

The Importance of Having Alan Tudyk On-Set

Gareth Edwards also emphasized just how important Tudyk’s presence on set was to the entire character:

Gareth Edwards: There’s a feeling…you can’t help it, because it’s CGI, there’s a feeling on set which is “If we change our minds, if we want to change his performance a little bit, it’s the computer and we can worry about that later…”

Alan Tudyk: You kept saying that!

Gareth Edwards: We shot the whole thing as if K2 was…whatever Alan did on set, whatever it was, was exactly what K2 was going to do in the film. No offense, but when Alan would screw up a few times, we’d do multiple takes, even though you’d think “Can’t we just animate this stuff?” You can’t. What we learned was that on the very few occasions where there were times we wanted to tweak something, we’d go “You know what, just do something a little different to what Alan did” and every single time it didn’t work. We had to be true to Alan’s performance all the time. Even when we wanted to tweak something, we got Alan back and we re-recorded him on film and copied his performance because he is K2. All of the humor in the film that is really funny is just this guy improvising. He was given freedom to do whatever he wanted and there shots we couldn’t use because sometimes I was holding the camera and I’m laughing and the camera is rocking up and down. There’s stuff we can’t even talk about. It was hilarious.

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…and Alan Tudyk’s Balls

And then, after everyone had a chance to say nice things, Diego Luna was unleashed:

Diego Luna: I can tell you the truth now! [laughs] When they go “You’re going to do a science fiction film and you’re going to work with droids,” you have the feeling that you’re just going to have to imagine everything. Here, we were interacting with an actor and making choices. After the first month…because the first month, we just couldn’t look at [Alan] because he did look ridiculous. It was the tightest pajamas ever. Because he had these stilts, you were always the height of his balls. It was quite intimidating! He’s really tall, right? When he had to run, there was a version of [K2] that was just a backpack–

Alan Tudyk: The backpack of shame.

Diego Luna: Without the stilts, with the face of K2 on the top [of the backpack]. It just looked so cheesy, like so badly done, like suddenly they went for the Mexican version!

Rogue One Footage Reactions

A Brand New Camera Was Built to Make Rogue One

Although “What kind of camera did you shot on?” has entered the lexicon of bad film Q&A questions, Rogue One is the rare movie to actually have a genuinely fascinating answer to that query. It turns out that two different companies had to team up to blend cutting edge camera tech with old school lens technology to achieve a very specific look. As Gareth Edwards explained:

We had the difficult task…we were kind of making a period piece as well. We’re making a film that sort of, we’d say to the crew and the designers, imagine this is set in 1977. Don’t do anything we couldn’t have done back then in terms of aesthetic. That applied to the camerawork to some extent. Obviously, in today’s cinema, we’ve got this 4K projections and things going on IMAX. This brand new camera had come out, from ARRI, and it was incredible. It was like four times the resolution of normal film cameras. But Greig [Fraser], the [director of photography], was like “This is fantastic, but we also want to go back to the ’70s with the analog kind of look of the movie.”

So he got this Panavision lens that’s 70mm anamorphic. They shot [the original] Ben-Hur with this actual lens. For the first time ever in cinema, ARRI and Panavision, which are two separate companies in the film industry, came together to make one camera for Star Wars. It was incredible. For those who are technically minded, the result is you get this very narrow depth of field so if you’re focused on me, the background is quite blurred and the foreground is quite blurred. It was a nightmare for the focus puller. There was this young guy called Jake and he performed a miracle because there were battle scenes and we didn’t put marks down and we were just running in there with the camera and he was always getting the focus. We didn’t drop any shot out of the movie because it was out of focus. I think a lot of the beauty of the film is down to the cameras that we used. It was like a modern version of the past.

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