Just the other day, Ewan McGregor did an Ask Me Anything (‘AMA’) on Reddit. He was quite terse in it. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s his God-given right as a Scotsman. Hilariously, he also pointedly ignored any and all references or questions in reference to Star Wars.
More recently it was Rogue One director Gareth Edwards’ turn. Naturally, he talked about Star Wars a lot. Didn’t mention Trainspotting 2 even once though! We demand blood!
Check it out, some highlights from the AMA:
What inspired you to become a director?
I saw Star Wars, found out it was a lie called filmmaking… figured the second best option in life would to become a liar, and make films… Then you learn about the job called directing, mainly from Steven Spielberg’s success, so all those late 70’s early 80’s films are to blame for me getting into this crazy industry.
Who’s the funniest cast member behind the scenes on Rogue One? Any stories?
Alan for sure… with Riz a close second… and perhaps Toby the Assistant Director third. He kept me smiling the whole film, which is quite a task.
What was your favourite easter egg that made it into Rogue One, and did you have any input on the inclusion of them?
I’m very bias… But my cameo would be my favorite… I don’t want to give it away, but let’s just say he was probably the savior of the entire rebellion ;)
Gareth pulls lever
Edit: I’m serious, that’s him
He’s one of the rebel soldiers on Tantive IV (Leia’s ship) in the final scene. The ship detaches from the main frigate and jumps to hyperspace. Gareth is the guy who pulls the lever.
Hey Gareth! Big fan of Rogue One, Godzilla, and Monsters, so glad you decided to do this!
My question is: was there anything cut out of Rogue One that you’d like to put back in?
There are millions of things that I would like to have put in the film… unfortunately films are only 2 hours long, so many ideas fall away before the final release… I guess if we had another 10 years to finish the film, the final version would evolve even more. The goal is to make sure the version that goes out into the world is the best possible version. So in that sense, no real regrets :)
Will we ever find out what the changes and reshoots were behind the scenes of Rogue One? From the first promotional material to the final cut of the film, it’s pretty clear a lot changed during production.
Lots of great shots were grabbed during filming, some of them were specifically designed for a sequence, others were just opportunistic. Marketing end up falling in love with things that might fall away during the post production of a film, and also might help strengthen others. I’m just glad they found a way to get into the world.
Loved Rogue One and how bold it was. Couple questions
How did it feel knowing that George Lucas approved and really enjoyed your adaptation of the star wars universe.
Do you plan on doing any more sci-fi in the future, or are you soon going to be branching out on more genres?
The biggest relief in the world. George Lucas is GOD. Without him, no of this would exist. I would have traded his positive review for everyone else in the world if I’m honest. I definitely want to do other genres, but if I had to be trapped in one, scifi would be it!
How many of the decisions that will probably influence the rest of the anthology films did you yourself take part in? Like, the lack of the opening crawl, or not having John Williams score…things that separate them from the core “episodes.” Were those decisions you made?
We knew from the start that John Williams would not be available for our film… The opening crawl decision was made before we started filming.
‘The opening crawl decision was made before we started filming.’
Kathleen Kennedy was all like ‘we’ll see.. we’re yet to make a decision’ a few weeks before the movie came out. That sneaky devil…
Hi Gareth, If you had to add an opening crawl to Rogue One, what would you have it say?
Gary Whitta actualy wrote one in the first draft. You’ll have to pester him for it ;) …I do believe that those opening crawl words are actually floating out there in space somewhere. We just have to fund NASA well enough so their deep-space telescopes can find them, lets crowd fund it and make it happen.
What lessons did you learn from doing Godzilla that translated over to when you did Rogue One?
Btw, I’m a huge fan of Godzilla. You did a fantastic job!!!
Thank you. I guess there are many lessons. Visually, I wanted to have a team of concept artists working on Rogue One ALL the way through the film. Typically on a big movie, the artists only work during the script writing phase, but you end up always tweaking and improving everything, so having designers and concpet artists work and redesign and keep pushing things all the way until the last month of the process was something we did on Rogue that wasn’t on Godzilla so much.
Did you feel like you were under a lot of pressure with this story considering how different it was to all the rest of the saga?
The biggest thing was trying to figure out what the film would be. The initial idea was it’s like a heist movie. But I feel that Star Wars is not just one genre, it’s a whole load of different genre’s mixed together, like fairytale, war, western, samurai, biblical epic etc… Even though our story was not going to involve the Skywalker story, it was important to me that it had all the emotional and mythical ingredients of the sagas… god, that was a long answer.STINKO_DE_MAYO: How did you feel the first day you were directing Darth Vader on set?
You kind of get nervous. Even though you know it’s an actor inside, once that helmet goes in, it’s DARTH! and as strange as it seems, it’s really hard to tell him what to do, no-one tells DARTH what to do. So you find you have to talk with the actor and figure it all out before the helmet goes on, as once he’s in character, Darth is in charge, and if you screw up the shot, he is not that forgiving.
Could you tell us a bit about what George Lucas said to you after seeing Rogue One? And did you meet with him at all before filming?
He came to visit Pinewood before we started filming…. to take the pressure off us, I had posters in my room of the previous ‘Star Wars spinoffs’ - ‘Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure’ and the ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’… my main goal when he came in was to try and stop him seeing these… my second goal was him liking the film.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations in life that didn’t work in the entertainment industry?
Bill Hicks… the comedian, if you haven’t seen him, check out Revelations.
Would you rather fight a Godzilla sized Darth Vader, or a Darth Vader sized Godzilla?
It’s got to be a Godzilla sized Darth Vader… in fact, that visual is probably the coolest thing anyone could ever put in a movie… Will keep my fingers crossed for this after the Han Solo spin-off!
Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?
No, sorry, I hope he gets well soon.