Yesterday I was lucky enough to see the new Star Wars movie in Leicester Square a day before it went on general release. I loved the film, it captured the essence of Star Wars but propelled it into the arena of 21st century cinema in a more convincing way than The Force Awakens managed (and I loved The Force Awakens). Afterwards the cast and crew talked for half an hour about the making of the movie. This was even more fun than the film! Here they are, director Gareth Edwards with actors Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed and Alan Tudyk:
Alan was particularly entertaining, talking about the process of performing as a sarcastic droid.
And Gareth discussed the origin of the character of Chirrut and why he’s blind – it’s to do with Kyber dust.
Deigo revealed how he struggled to keep his role a secret, and how his son bragged about a set visit to entertain teenage girls.
As I was leaving I bumped into Kevin Cecil, co-creator of Hyperdrive. I worked on Hyperdrive producing the animation and vfx for the show, including being involved in the development and design of the main space ship, the HMS Camden Lock. I hadn’t seen Kevin for a few years so we grabbed a quick drink to catch up. As we were waiting to be served Kevin turned to me and said, “Do you know the big connection between you and Gareth Edwards?”
Gareth’s background is in CGI and visual effects, so I was immediately intrigued. I was already impressed by his determination as a film-maker, and how he made the jump from VFX into writing and directing. But I hadn’t got a clue how we might be connected. Had we met and I’d forgotten all about it perhaps?
“No, you’ve not met,” Kevin said. “But you have a really big connection.”
Our drinks arrived just as I ran out of guesses. “OK, Kevin, tell me.”
“Gareth built the first version of the HMS Camden Lock.”
Before Hyperdrive was commissioned there was a short non-broadcast pilot made featuring Mark Gatiss, Robert Webb and a few other actors not in the series. I never saw this until about a year ago, so as we began development on the show I had no idea what Gareth had built. The pilot has surfaced on YouTube so it’s interesting to compare this to the full series. Why Gareth didn’t work on the full series remains a bit of a mystery but I presume he was off starting his directing career or working on other animation projects.
It’s odd to think that, just over a decade ago, our paths almost crossed and now he’s directing the biggest movie of the year. I could sit here and mumble and moan about my career path but I won’t… not for too long anyway!
One downside of the event was that by time it was over the last train home had left. Not wanting to stay in London overnight I did something I hadn’t had to do in more than twenty years: I got the bus. It took over six hours and was like Mos Eisley on wheels. It’s a night I won’t forget in a hurry.