Rogue One Event
Did you follow along last weekend? So much fun! Read all about it in the Rogue One Event posts.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters December 16!
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY follows a group of unlikely heroes in a time of conflict who band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY is directed by Gareth Edwards and stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, with Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker. Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel are producing, with John Knoll and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The story is by John Knoll and Gary Whitta, and the screenplay is by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy.
Dashing, debonair, charming. All words that describe actor Ben Mendelsohn. The character he portrays in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, not so much. I’d describe Director Orson Krennic as heartless, unfeeling, and evil. I will say that I only watched 28 minutes of the movie during our press trip, but that alone had me hating his character. But, the interview with Ben Mendelsohn was both funny and lighthearted.
Ben Mendelsohn portrays Director Orson Krennic in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Can you tell us a little bit about your character?
Sure. He is the director of military intelligence and operations. And for the purposes of our film, it means he’s the dude that built the Death Star and is bringing it to its final brilliance.
You grew up being a Star Wars fan. Did you ever imagine yourself being on The Empire side?
No. No, I mean but that’s the folly of youth, isn’t it? No one imagines that they’re going to end up on the side of The Empire. But you get older. You come to realize the peace and stability in the galaxy is worth fighting for and that all these airy, fairy ideals of The Rebellion are very well and good but what happens when they get into power?
No, I didn’t but I wish I could have told myself at various points through life, don’t worry. One day you’ll be in Star Wars. That would have been good turn but there you go.
Your characters have been trademarked collectively as unlikable sociopaths. How do you feel about being –-?
That’s my recent body of work. You might call it my unlikable sociopath phase.
Do you kind of prefer those evil roles to the good roles?
No. Well, I do think if you like a palette of emotions that you get to work with more if you’re playing the bad guys like the angry, resentful, enraged sort of stuff. I consider it a real honor to be playing bad guys certainly in this film and there’ll be one or two more.
Yeah, I consider it a real honor. I’ve had a long and varied career so I don’t associate myself with my characters it’s fine that everyone else does.
So you’re not an unlikable sociopath?
I wouldn’t say that.
Gareth was telling us the story about being in LA on the rooftop whenever he came to you with this role. Can you tell us your side of the story?
Well, I sort of got summoned to go and meet. And he basically told me the story and then he told me who he wanted me to play. I was just a little concerned. I thought like are you sure? But I was incredibly flattered and I wasn’t sure whether he’d actually really –.
It was one of those things that he got a little bit foggy because I started to get a little bit overwhelmed by it. So you know I was pretty sure by the end of it that he had offered it to me. And you know and I’d rang in and reported as much. But then I had to keep it quiet for a very, very long time. But yeah, that’s about it.
Who do you think is more dangerous, your character or Darth Vader?
Well, I think you know I think my guy is more like you know –. I mean in a personal sense? I don’t think there’s any competition in a one-on-one. But I think The Empire being what it is Darth’s pretty good but I’d hate to see him go up against a couple of squadrons.
I’d hate to see him go one-on-one against the Death Star. And so really that’s about influences where you sit. You know Emperor’s here and how close can you get? And I think Krennic is going for that number. I think he regards Darth as the Emperor’s kind of pet and he’s all fascinated with him. He’s a very impressive dude but there’s a bit of this going on there as well.
I mean what does he do? He’s like a very important figurehead. But in terms of the strategies and what we actually have to get done. He’s a great car, you know? But someone’s got to drive it.
What was the atmosphere on your set? Was there a team of bad guys? We heard from the others today how it was a family and they were you know together. So what was that like for you?
They lie. You know what you can say about the Empire is at least you know where you stand. I mean you know it’s, no I mean there was –, and I think they did. I think those guys did form that [relationship] because they went through a lot. And you know obviously in this sort of balance of shooting those guys are spending a lot of time together. The Empire’s a bit more of a solitary place in that way.
But I had a good group, a good little cadre with me. Like I had the dude that’s my second in command and the Death Troopers with me. But the atmosphere on set it changes but you can’t have a bad day. You look up and you see Storm Troopers around and stuff like that in your workplace. You really can’t have a terribly bad day.
When we watched the 28 minutes of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, there was a short section with Director Krinnec. In that short section that we saw you had the moment when you were looking for the child and you said, ‘find it’. I thought, oh, I hate him already. Who did you study to prepare for that? I just think that’s such ‘a you’ character and when you said that it was perfect.
When we were going into this the main thing that I looked at was just the officers in the original film. And then you have to do a bit of a rewind and think about what it was like when they were making it in ‘77 because they were all very British. And it’s all very sort of Royal Shakespeare bad guy kind of very straight kind of stuff. So I wanted Krennic to sound like enough of one of those guys.
But then after that and that costume, you know what? I mean you put that costume on and you’ve got those boots on and you have that cape. And all of a sudden you just feel that power. Basically the thing about those guys like the thing you saw last night is that from his perspective they’re just in the way. They’re just in the way. And I mean, I’m sorry but she came out with a gun ready to shoot me.
Like what are they thinking? And so yeah, but that was a very, very good set up. I thought that that set up told us a lot about what we were doing in this film.
As a father you have children and you think oh, get her. How do you get into that mind frame? Was it something that was easy?
Yeah because look, at the end of all of this I never ever confuse the two. There have been plenty of things I’ve done where you feel uncomfortable or you feel a whole bunch of things because you know they are but they tend to be a lot more of the up close and personal things. But I never confuse the two. It’s sort of like, we’re going to play, here’s playtime.
And were going to play cops and robbers or whatever. And then now we’re back to normal. So you’ve got to be able to do that I think with that. But I think the thing that people find the hardest is how do you take on these things knowing that people are going to look at you and go, I hate that guy? But I think when you’ve been acting for a little while you hope that people feel you in whatever way that is.
And if you have a respect for the thing as its whole then they can feel you like this or they can feel you like this. As long as they feel you, you know. So when you say, find it. And I have to say, the first time I heard that when I saw it, I remember going, oh that’s so wrong. “Find it.” And I hated him at that moment too. That’s a really clever set up I think. I don’t know if they had written it as ‘find it’ either. I don’t know, I’m trying to remember.
That was a great line.
Yeah, it was a great line. I don’t think it’s mine but damn.
What was the most difficult part for you?
I think it was the first few days of being there and walking in front of having taken Stormtroopers into those Imperial sets. It took a while to sort of just be able to go, okay. You’ve got this. Like you got this. That was difficult.
Are you going to keep anything from the set? It was the waterproof cape, wasn’t it?
That would be the thing to keep. That would be the thing to keep. They’re very good at not letting you keep stuff from the film.
What would be your best scene, the one that you like the most, you were in it or somebody was?
That scene you saw with Mads, that’s amongst my favorite. That was a brutally difficult day. We were in Iceland. It was absolutely prohibitively freezing. And the weather changed greatly. There’s a scene with Darth Vader that it is pretty special. That’s pretty special.
And there’s also another scene which you guys haven’t seen I think that it’s in the Imperial territories that I am, that was wonderful to do as well.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY arrives in theaters everywhere on December 16th In RealD 3D and IMAX 3D!