Rogue One A Star Wars Story - Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic header

The Hardest Scene…and Ben Mendelsohn’s Singing

Gareth Edwards says that the hardest scene to film was the opening sequence, where they were forced to battle Iceland’s natural elements. However, these hardships brought out an amusing anecdote: Ben Mendelsohn sings songs between takes to get himself into character:

Gareth Edwards: Filming that scene, with Ben [Mendelsohn] and Mads [Mikkelsen], it was one of the hardest things we’ve ever filmed. People say “What the hardest scene you ever did?” I think it was probably that one because we were freezing our tits off out there. The worst thing was fog was coming in, so we’d set up these amazing shots and we’d be really excited and suddenly there’d be a white out and you couldn’t see three meters ahead of you. You’d have to wait and suddenly it would clear. And these are two of the most incredible actors in the world and it was just so good to put them up against each other and let it unfold. Ben is so relaxed in front of the camera that he would start messing around. He’s very playful. I thought he was reciting Shakespeare or something to get himself into camera. I would listen carefully and realize he was singing “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson! And even Frozen, I think.

Ben Mendelsohn: I did sing a bit of Frozen.

Gareth Edwards: What was it? “We used to be friends” or whatever?

Ben Mendelsohn: That’s right! Yeah, yeah, yeah, I did the “we used to be friends” [song]. It’s escaping me now. [NOTE: he’s thinking of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”] But yes.

Mads Mikkelsen: [With a perfect deadpan] I remember it vividly.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story - Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera

Will More Television Characters Show Up in Future Movies?

In Rogue One, Forest Whitaker plays Saw Gerrera, a character originally introduced in the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series. However, Kathleen Kennedy says that there is no master plan for bringing characters from other media into their films:

You know, that isn’t really the approach that we have. We don’t sit down and start isolating a list of characters and then build stories around those. We are starting with the stories themselves and if some of those stories might come in to what it is we want to do or say, we’ll consider it then. That’s not part of the strategy.

darth vader rogue one

You Don’t Direct Darth Vader

As we’ve seen from the trailers, Darth Vader plays some kind of role in Rogue One. As you’d imagine, the most famous villain in movie history left quite an impression on the cast and crew:

Ben Mendelsohn: The first thing you have to do is just get over the fact that you’re doing a scene with Darth Vader. That takes…that took me a little while. Because I am a first-generation fanboy. It took a little while to feel like I could answer him with some solidity, like we could have a discussion, as it were. That took a little while. Darth, his gestures and his mannerisms are so familiar that finding someone that can execute that in a way that is fluid is its own skill set. That requires a certain amount of thought and consideration when you’re doing it.

Gareth Edwards: You all know Ben’s work. He’s got this ability, if he wants to, to be incredibly intimidating. In the entire process of making the film, he was a kid in a candy store, had an amazing time. I kept thinking “I wonder if there will ever be this moment where I’ll ever see some of the characters he’s played pop out.” We were in the middle of filming a scene with Darth and Ben was like, “Gareth, I need to talk to you.” And I was like, “What’s the matter?” And he goes “I need to go to the corner and talk to you. We need to have a word.” And it was like uh, shit. Here we go. What’s the matter? And we go over and I’m like “You alright, Ben?” and he’s like “No.” And it’s like “What’s the matter?” And he goes “It’s Darth fucking Vader.” And I was like “I know!” And we both had this moment where we melted and we could just admit it and we would turn around really professionally like “Okay, we’ll try to fix that” and walk back.

Edwards also explained that they had to rehearse the Darth Vader scenes without a costume because you simply do not direct Darth Vader:

Gareth Edwards: You can tell when he’s coming on set. We learned that we should do the rehearsals and walk through a scene without the costume because as soon as that helmet goes on, it’s too intimidating. You can’t direction to Darth Vader. He tells you what he’s going to do. Then what happens…film sets are really noisy and suddenly it just starts to get quiet and you’re chatting with someone and “Why has it gone so quiet…?” And in comes Darth Vader and the whole crew is just like five-year-olds. It happens to everybody. And then you think, “Oh, shit. I have to go over and speak to him.” And you have to snap out of it. It’s probably one of the highlights of getting to do this film. You’re very aware of it. Everyone there is very aware of it. You become the most popular person in the world the day you’re filming those scenes. You look around and –

Ben Mendelsohn: Everyone turns up. Everyone turns up when Darth is there.

***

For additional details, you can read my already published one-on-interviews with Gareth Edwards, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, and Riz Ahmed. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens on December 16, 2016.

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