The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: Rogue One's Rebellious Captain - an interview with Diego Luna! #rogueoneevent
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Friday, December 9, 2016

Rogue One's Rebellious Captain - an interview with Diego Luna! #rogueoneevent

Disclosure: I attended the #Rogueoneevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

You have to love Diego Luna. I know I do. When we had the opportunity to interview him, I found him refreshingly humble. He was also very funny and sweet. There is a boyish and roguish charm to Diego. That makes him perfect to play Cassian Andor in Rogue One.

In this interview, Diego talks about his role as Cassian, his kids and his cast mates. He also would have played a Storm Trooper! It was such a pleasure to speak with him. At one point he said he wanted to stay in the room and I was all for that! Here are some highlights from Diego's interview.

Q: If you could tell us a little bit about your character of what you can say.

Diego:  I can say a lot. My character is called Cassian Andor he's a captain; an intelligence officer for the rebellion. [He’s] a pretty damned good rebellion captain. He's in charge of the most important mission for the rebellion and he has to make sure this thing works together.

He’s a spy; quite a mysterious man. He has a lot of information he would like to forget. He doesn't like war but he believes in the cause and would, would do anything for the cause. He's ready to sacrifice everything and he's a true hero. He's the kind of hero we could be, right? He doesn't have special powers; he's no Jedi. He's just a man with conviction and [who] knows that working together as a team makes you stronger. That's Cassian.

Q: You did a film about Cesar Chavez and you did things that had to do with a rebellious nature trying to find the good and help the good causes. This is kind of a tie-in, in a way, his character of trying to fight the evil empire. How did you feel preparing all these different roles- did they help you prepare for this in real life?

Diego: Yeah, I think, theme is freedom. Living in Mexico and growing [up] there I saw beautiful things. I saw [and] heard amazing stories, but there's also a contrast there. Those who have are very few, but they have a lot.

We have one of the richest men on the planet in a country that has so much poverty. That contrast shaped my view and my point of view. And to me, film is a way to get all that out and put it on the table and make sure you share it with others and generate a debate, and some things starts from there. When Gareth [Edwards] sat down with me and started talking about the film, and about the theme, and about the rebellion, and about the moment in the, in the history of Star Wars when this happens, I suddenly was listening.

[I knew] I would join just as a fan, just as part of the crew, or whatever. [Gareth] said I want you to be a Storm Trooper and just wear that outfit and be miserable for quite a long time until Felicity's character kills you, I would've said yeah, let's do it. I'm glad he didn't say that, but it I would've said yes because I think this film has, has a lovely message behind [it]. It's about people getting involved and taking control of their, of their reality and shaping the reality. And we need that in this world that is going crazy now. We need also to live different as a society and understand the diversity, culture and racial diversity. It just makes us stronger and richer. There's a great thing there for us to find. Let's live different as a society and, and just do it.

Film takes so much time of your life. It's so challenging; it's so risky, also suddenly everyone has an opinion. That's tough to take, so you don't want to do it about a theme you don't care about. You don't wanna be three years talking about something that doesn't mean anything to you.

Q: Because Star Wars is a franchise that the roles are family, and it's part of generations of family, so how do you feel about being part of a film where your kids, your son, your daughters will be watching you, and in the future and know that my dad is the hero or part of the crew of the heroes in this film?

Diego: Sadly, my son already knows what the film is about and everything. I bring my kids to see how we're doing it so they can see it more from the perspective I see it and get less affected by the story. I grew up in theater, so I used to witness things I should probably had not witness but because I was watching from the dressing rooms or from the inside of the theater, I always saw the actor coming out and he was alive.

I saw the actor coming out crying and then going, oh my god, what happened? What was that, and getting ready for the next [scene], and realizing those tears didn't mean what people thought it meant. I understood the representation of these fiction that it has to look real but doesn't mean it's real. I invited my kids to witness this process because my son is huge fan of Star Wars.

He knows the world of Star Wars better than I do. He's eight years old. I didn't want it to stop him because everyone's going to be talking about it. I want him to feel part of this. And he's so excited. I like telling this story because it's true. This film is important for me as an actor for many reasons, but one is because it connects me with the kid.

At seven years old; six years old, I saw A New Hope. I saw it because I wanted to belong to the world of my cousins. All of my cousins were playing something I didn't get. I wanted to be part of that universe to be able to be part of that gang. And belong to that. But it also connects me with my kids as a parent. And as a fan, it connects me with my son.

I share the excitement with him. When we were watching The Force Awakens, we were there holding hands, and enjoying the moment. It wasn't me, like let's watch this cartoon, and let's talk about what they're saying. I wasn't the dad there. It was two pals watching a film, and that was very sweet.

My work is something that always separates us. It represents something very negative to my kids. It's what keeps me away. It's that thing that I go do that they cannot be part of. And then I finish the films, and they cannot watch them. I did show my son Cesar Chavez but he just didn't wanted to watch it. He fell asleep. My stuff is not meant for them. Until I did The Book of Life, that's the first film I could actually share with my, with my kids.

So this is a special because I [tell them] I'm going to work, and my son, instead of crying goes, like, yeah, yeah, go, go. You've got to be on time, Dad, and make sure you do it right. Do what Gareth says. Don't mess up.

Q: You have a very physical part. Uh, what kind of training did you do?

Diego: I went to the gym. A place I didn't like before. They got me into a whole program and they were even taking care of my sleep. But it was necessary because I've never worked seven months in a film so intense and everyday we were doing something crazy- running, jumping, climbing.

And Gareth really likes things to happen. He doesn't like pretending. He goes we're going do this, so you're going be running, and there's going be explosions, and these guys are going be shooting from this angle, this from this other angle, and you have to make it work. He gave us military training. I had two weeks of a military training where I learned how to patrol.

And I spent a lot of time with them and that was very helpful. But he actually thought a soldier was going to come back from these two weeks. And I go that takes years, and he goes, you're the captain. Solve this. I had to talk to Felicity and start to organize a plan, and then execute, and he would be following us, covering and improvising on the way, reacting to what we were doing.

So it was a very free process. It's was full of that feeling of not knowing what's going to happen which brings some interesting tension and gives you those little moments of vulnerability that Gareth was looking for.

Q : What happened afterwards? I mean, you, you tried to forget about Star Wars? How do you separate your work from afterwards?

Diego: It was difficult because I'm a fan, so I would go home and [say] oh my god, this is great. But imagine you're a fan, and they tell you you're going to go live this amazing experience, actually live that world from the inside, but you cannot tell anyone. And you go that's a dream. It's not happening until I tell my best friend. It's not real until I share this with my father.

It doesn't make sense but obviously it makes sense for, for the idea of actually hiding everything from people, and I love that because the experience of watching it with an audience that doesn't know what's going to happen, it's so unique and it doesn't happen anymore in cinema. So that is very cool. But the process of living through this was painful and very frustrating. Amazing stuff would happen, or very difficult things happened, and I had to talk to myself about it.

That also created a nice, beautiful family because we were going through this, and we had the same thing. We couldn't tell anyone out there, so Felicity was my shrink, my friend, a little bit of everything, and I was the same for her. That kept us sane.

I loved this interview because of the honesty of it. I think Diego shared some really interesting things about his life. I was impressed on how he was parenting and teaching his kids about reality vs. fiction. And like Felicity's interview, the common thread is family and how ordinary people make a difference.

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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY arrives in theaters everywhere on December 16th In RealD 3D and IMAX 3D!

Interview photos by Louise Manning Bishop -

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