Everyone loves Star Wars droids and I think it’ll hold true for K-2SO based on the scenes we’ve seen so far. We don’t know much about Jyn’s dad other than his prior connection to the empire but I’m betting there’s a good backstory. We sat down with Alan Tudyk (K-2SO) & Mads Mikkelsen (Galen Erso) and interviewed them together about their roles in Rogue One. Here’s what we learned:
Who is Galen Erso
Mads : My character is called Galen Erso. I am a scientist, working closely together with Krennic in the film. Before the film actually and working on a project that has the potential of making the world a better place, and also the potential of not doing so. I’m also the father of our hero, K-2. No, the other hero (Jyn). 😉
Who is K-2SO
Alan : K-2SO is a droid who was formerly of the Empire, and he’s been reprogrammed by Cassian’s character and has been working with him prior to our introduction to Jyn. He’s a soldier in the Alliance. He’s been reprogrammed and the reprogram has caused him to be free with his own personality, which invites some brutal honesty in moments where honesty isn’t really required. He can be funny in that way and sarcastic, and passive-aggressive. They’re partners (with Cassian). He wouldn’t see himself as a sidekick.
From Motion Capture Expert to Auditioning
Alan: I was told that Gareth wanted to talk to me and we Skyped. And I knew it was for a droid in Star Wars. But I didn’t think he was calling me to talk about ME being in it, he just wanted to talk about droids and motion capture. And I had done a motion capture robot in I, Robot. And so I was like that makes sense – I’d be the go-to actor to just discuss how it’s done, how to do it.
It was a really frank conversation between the two of us, because I didn’t think of myself as in the running, just sort of a someone he’s gathering information from. And so, I was like, ‘Yeah, you don’t wanna do it this way. Here are the traps that you’re going to find yourself in. Don’t do this; don’t do that.’ Give your actor a lot of takes. Don’t just give ‘em short shift because you can fix it in post (production). You need to get it on set while the other actors are there, or else you’re going to be struggling to make up the performance in post, and then you’re screwed. It was really not the conversation I would’ve had if I had thought I was being considered. And then he asked me to audition. I auditioned, I put an audition on tape. I recorded it at home with my wife.
Alan: It was a scene that isn’t in the movie. It was a scene where they’re arriving on a planet that has a magnetic field that scrambles his circuitry. And so he’s drunk, and he starts to slo-o-o-w… are we there yet? I did it as me (not in costume). I did it with an American accent; I did it with what is called mid-Atlantic accent, and then I did it with an English accent.
Mads: Good thing you didn’t do it with a Danish, you wouldn’t have got it 😉
Alan: My Danish is really bad.
Galen not in the rebel family
Mads: Well my interaction was not with a lot of people. Well I had quite a few scenes with Felicity, and three different versions of her – a four-year-old, and an eight-year-old, and then the real deal. I loved them all. I spend a lot of time with Ben. He’s very hard not to love. So yes, that became very brotherly really fast for us.
Felicity as a leader
Alan: Felicity. I have such huge respect for her, she was such a leader, and a harder worker than anybody. She never complained which was annoying. I complained about her inability to complain. A huge point of contention. 😉 But you need that on a set, you need a leader. She was a great leader. And certainly better than I was at her age or as of yet, I’ve never had that kind of maturity that she has. So it was great, it was a blast.
K-2SO on fire
Alan: I caught on fire! We were in the trenches, literally. There was a battle going on, and they had explosions, and I’m wearing my skin tight pajamas (motion capture suit). There are spots of just explosions, and people are ducking down, and suddenly my back gets hot. I think, ‘Oh, ow—ow—ow I’m on fire’ and it was like a spark hit it and then just spread out. It was very flammable. I didn’t realize it. And they (crew) were not aware. What is the statute of limitations? I don’t think I could go up against their lawyers. But I wore fire retardant undershirts after that.
K-2SO not becoming a Jar Jar Binks
Alan: I just focused on the script, like any job. I did have a concern when after a take, people would go, “Oh that was really funny” that I was going to be a Jar Jar Binks. And I did talk to Gareth saying, am I want to stay this side of Jar Jar. I don’t want to be this bigger than the movie character that’s in his own world, and he assured me that he wouldn’t allow that. He would keep me within the world as long as I was focused on it and I think we did it, so that was my concern beyond being a droid.
Challenging Set Locations
Mads: Yeah, all of them, basically. Something funny and interesting happened, though. We went to Iceland for a week, we shot there, so that was my debut on the film, and my very first scene, I’m walking and walking. I’m meeting Krennic but after five hours of walking alone, they turn up the actors and the storm troopers, and then I realize, ‘Whoa, I’m in a Star Wars film, because obviously I’ve been walking like I could have done in any film – but it’s not every day you see storm troopers.
It was raining constantly. It was just pouring down. It was windy, chilly, and I was like, ‘God, we’re done here’ but it was such a beautiful place. I love Iceland. And we’re going back to the studio, but they came up with this brilliant idea that all the shots inside in the studio should be in rain. So I basically I am wet the whole film. Those were cold and long days, but yeah. It’s worth it. It looks fantastic on film.
Alan: They have a soundstage where it rains inside. It’s amazing. It looks great. My character luckily, there’s a rainy day in the spaceship everybody goes out and I go, ‘See ya!’ I’m gonna stay in here. 🙂
Playing villainous character
Mads: I’ve done a lot of villains. I’ve also done a lot of good guys and also normal people and a butcher once. I think they go hand-in-hand. I mean, you gotta find something likable, something you can relate to in a bad guy. And, vice-versa in the good guy, you have to find his flaws, the stuff he’s struggling with, or she’s struggling with. So for me, they go hand-in-hand. But there are a lot of interesting villains out there.
Alan : I don’t care if they’re villain or a hero, as long as they have humor. Honestly, my favorite villain’s have humor in them, you know even if it’s evil, they’re just using it to make a point that is murderous. So that’s the way my mind bends, and it just makes for an easier connection with the character.
Yeah. I watched Ben in his role, and I’ve had to play a bad guy before and I just started doing this (speaks in a low evil voice) like I’m into it, why the hell am I even talking like that? I don’t talk like that. And to see him (Ben) do such a dark character with such charm. That’s what’s good.
Mads: You have to be a really nice person to play a good villain.
Alan: That’s why I had trouble. 🙂
Favorite Star Wars Characters
Mads: I think it’s Han Solo, for me. For the simple reason that he’s not really on anybody’s side—his own side. And obviously Harrison Ford playing him charmingly, it’s just something you can relate to, so you’re not the good, or the bad, but you’re that guy who’s just there for the fun ride, and then he’ll leave you in a second if there’s no money in that, right? And it’s just recognizable in a wonderful way. I like him a lot.
Alan: I like several characters. Today, I like Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was just great, you know, he was the one who could say, “These are not the droids you’re looking for” he had the force. He was magic. He was wise. I liked him. Alec Guinness, man. That guy’s amazing.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY OPENS IN THEATERS ON DECEMBER 16TH!
Disney hosted me during the #RogueOneEvent press event. As always, all opinions, and experiences are my own.