In the latest Star Wars Film, Rogue One, Alan Tudyk & Mads Mikkelsen play some unforgettable characters. Mads plays Jyn’s father scientist Galen Erso, while Alan plays K-2SO, a very funny protocol droid. They sat down to give us some laughs as the talked about their characters and what it was like to be in the new highly anticipated movie.
Alan Tudyk & Mads Mikkelsen
Ahh, boys will be boys. The first thing they notice are the toys.
Mads: It’s been a very brutal day for me; everybody else got one [an action figure]. Then again I got the Death Star.
Alan: What is this one? He’s so small; I haven’t seen this one.
Mads: That’s probably me then.
Alan: It’s a cake topper for like a wedding or something.
Can you talk a little about your characters?
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. The other hero. Got it. (Jyn Erso)
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 before our introduction, to Jyn, so he’s a soldier in the Alliance. He’s been reprogrammed—the reprogram has caused him to be… free with his personality, which invites some brutal honesty in moments where honesty isn’t required, and he can be funny in that way… and sarcastic, and… passive-aggressive, and all those fun things that sort of sidekicks—although they’re partners. They’re partners. He wouldn’t see himself as a sidekick.
Was there some ad-libbing going on?
Alan: I luckily got to ad-lib a lot. Gareth set up the set was conducive to having fun, playing around with the characters, and discovering how the scenes fit n the locations. That as opposed to saying, “Here we go, this is—this where you’re gonna be; you’re gonna stand here; you’re gonna move here; this is how it was” when we would get into this space, we would find the best way to bring life to the scenes, what we were given, and part of that became just saying whatever I wanted. In moments – I don’t want to say I just was off-roading the entire time, I can’t, that becomes problematic in moviemaking. I’ve worked with actors who do that. A lot of my improving is based on the line that was there, and it’s just a version of what was there.
We heard a lot about how everybody became a family on set. Were there ever any moments where it was like siblings fighting, or did everyone gel?
Mads: Well, my interaction was not what a lot of people… this gang, I don’t meet too often.
Alan: You’re the older brothers in college.
Alan: We don’t get to hang out as much as we’d like to, but you know…
Mads: Even though he’s a scientist, he’s still in college. Yes. Well I mean, 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.
Alan: Which one did you like the best?
Mads: I loved them all. (laughing) Felicity’s playing it. She’s really good. I spend a lot of time with Ben, and he’s very hard not to love. So yes, that became very brotherly really fast for us.
Alan: I guess it was like a family. I don’t think anybody was a Republican, so in that way, it wasn’t like family.I’m from Texas originally, so we’ve been negotiating that the last couple of months, but um…. We all got along very well. It was a lot of fun. We played a lot on set, Diego’s just hysterical. Felicity… I have such huge respect for her. She was such a leader, and a harder worker than anybody; never complained, which was annoying. I complained about her inability to complain… a huge point of contention. You need that on a set. You need a leader, and she’s the lead. She was a great leader. And… certainly better than I was at her age, or even as of yet, I’ve never had that kind of maturity that she has, so it was a blast.
Droids are such an important part of Star Wars. Did you feel pressured to make your character unique, or to match the rest of the droids?
Alan: I guess I did. I don’t remember it if I did. I just focused on the script, like any job. I did have a concern when… like 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, I want to stay this side of Jar Jar, you know, I don’t want to be this bigger than the movie character that’s in his world. He assured me that he wouldn’t allow that, you know, he would keep me within the world as long as I was focused on it and I think we did it.
Before this movie, what were your 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 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. 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. I like Guinness, man. That guy’s amazing.
Was there a specific location that was challenging?
Alan: Yeah, all of them. I mean something funny and interesting happened, though. We went to Iceland for a week, we shot there, so that was my debut in the film, and my very first scene, I’m walking and walking and… 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, it’s not every day you see storm troopers.
Mads: It was constantly raining. 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 the rain. So I I am wet the whole film. Those were cold and long days, but yeah. It’s worth it. It looks fantastic on film.
Mads: I’ve done a lot of villainous; 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. I honestly, think my favorite villains have humor in them. You know even if it’s evil, they’re just using it to make a point that is murderous. That’s the way my mind bends, and it just makes for an easier, connection with the character. I watched Ben in his role, and I’ve had to play a bad guy before and I just started doing this thing and like I’m into it, and then I am like “why the hell am I even talking like that? I don’t talk like that.” And to see him do such a dark character with such charm, that’s what’s good.
Mads: You have to be a nice person to play a good villain.
Alan: That’s why I had trouble.
*I attended a Rogue One press event sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.