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'Andorra' director Toby Haynes on Forest Whitaker-Stelan Skarsgard scene: 'It was a career highlight'

[The following story contains spoilers for episode 8 of Andor , “Narkina 5.”]

WhenToby Hay Enns took over from creator Tony Gilroy to direct the first episode of Andor , and he was also struck by the bold direction of the show.

In addition to heavier themes and a more serious tone, it was extremely important for Gilroy that his series be realistic, which meant giving up the The series’ fondness for the famous Easter egg. Gilroy even encouraged his collaborators to put away their Star Wars in order ) fans make a show that doesn’t quite know it’s Star Wars .

Haynes, a lifelong Star Wars fan, admits there were concerns he had about it Team enthusiasm, but ultimately, he made it clear that he was a storyteller first and foremost.

“[Tony Gilroy] loves me so much STAR war is nervous, but I always say I’m a playwright first, then a star War fans are second,” Haynes told The Hollywood Reporter . “He never wanted to put the monster in the foreground. He never wanted the robot to be the foreground. He wanted it to be part of the structure of the work, but not to do a special shot when announcing a new alien or something like that. He really The hope is that it is fully integrated into the world that he presents, not the world that [itself] presents.”

In Andor In Episode 8, “Narkina 5”, Forest Whitaker reprises his Rogue One role as Saw Gerrera, with Stellan Had an extraordinary back and forth with Lucien Rael of Skarsgard. For Haynes, it was a day he will never forget.

“They really attacked each other, and when they read this scene, there was incredible tension in the room,” Haynes said. “It’s amazing to see [Forest Whitaker] do this, and having him play against a heavyweight like Stellan is a career highlight.”

The episode also featured the surprise appearance of Andy Serkis, who played Supreme Leader Serkis in the Star Wars sequel trilogy Knock. Returning to a galaxy far, far away, Serkis plays Kino Loy, Cassian Andor’s cellmate and foreman in Narkina 5, the Imperial Prison, and the Factory. Haynes noted that Serkis’ previous Star Wars role had no bearing on his casting, especially since snooker was a seven-and-a-half-minute Screen time for CG characters The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi .

“He has a lot of appearances in our shorts. In Harry Tom Felton as Malfoy in Potter only got likes WholeHarry Potter showtime for the series,” Haynes added. “So the opportunity to play a role like Chino, with such a big role and such a big journey, was a real acting opportunity for Andy, and he’s really excited about it.”

In a recent spoiler conversation with THR, Haynes had directed Black Mirror ‘ Emmy-winning series ‘USS Callister’ also discusses the creative freedom he has received from Gilroy.

So in late September 2020, you succeeding Tony Gilroy as the director of the first episode. Although it seems to be the last minute from the reported time, do you still have enough time to prepare?

Yes, I probably do more prep work than I do for most projects. So that’s a very generous prep time. But the scope and scale they want, like all projects, is always beyond the budget and the time you have to do it. So we had to get started. The next day, I went out and visited their building in Marlow, where they built the Ferrix, and I saw the scale of what they were doing. That’s when I realized how deeply I was in trouble. (laughs.) So it’s a huge responsibility, and it’s very exciting.

Denise Goff

Tell me that her first day on set was at Ferrix, and story-wise, her character Dedra Meero just arrived at Ferrix in episode eight. So did you stop filming the Ferrix scenes for all six of your episodes?

Yes we had a great month there and a little after Christmas it was the coldest of the shoot part. It snowed for a while, so someone used a heater to burn the snow off the ground to maintain continuity. But it’s cold. Malva’s interior and exterior sets are the same set, a completely 3D world. But it’s so cold that’s why you can see her breathing when she talks. You can see she’s cold, that’s why she didn’t have the heat on. Cassian worried that she would sit in the cold because she would get sick. So that’s a reality, and that sense of reality is what Tony has really been for along the way. Production designer Luke Hull was incredible, he just brought it to the screen. So it’s always exciting to walk into his set.

(LR): B2EMO and Maarva (Fiona Shaw) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR Courtesy of Lucasfilm

I keep wondering why Cassian and Brasso (Joplin Sibtain) keep commenting on Maarva’s (Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) with delivery guards (Kenny Fullwood and Josh Herdman) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR.Fiona Shaw) The heater needs to be on. Brasso even said she could afford it. SupervisorDedra Meero(Denise Gough) and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR.SupervisorDedra Meero(Denise Gough) and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR. SupervisorDedra Meero(Denise Gough) and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR. Yes, it’s weird. They must have written it in to justify it. We could have heated it up to the point where you couldn’t see her breathing, but putting actors in that condition and being able to see them breathing doesn’t happen very often and is worth pursuing. And it suits her character very well. So I think they incorporated that into the story, which was a very smart move.

As a TV director, you are ultimately about realizing the vision of a showrunner, but how would you describe your working relationship with Tony? Of course he knew what he wanted.

He’s super smart, and on the page he knows exactly what he wants. But he is also very flexible and open to ideas. He really wanted me to have it visually and bring my own style to it. I kept saying, “Do you want to know more about my lens choices?” He said, “Do you know what you’re going to do?” And I was like, “Yeah.” He was like, “This is what I need know everything.” So he’s the best executive to work with in this way. There’s something in District One that he’s really envisioned very clearly, and he’d like to see it come to fruition. But when there is a better idea or a different idea, he is equally prepared to throw it away. So he is very adaptable.

Early on, of course I wanted to bring my favorite Rogue A and how it feels on the ground. I feel that the handheld is used a lot. It is refreshing to see that the handheld is used in StarWars. Book. It’s a style that I can really get involved with, and it also puts me in the character’s shoes. I feel like I’m by their side. I feel like I’m going through the trenches with them and that’s where you want to go. It’s more dynamic and you feel more connected to the character. So everything I did visually was trying to bring the audience closer to what Cassian was going through throughout the story.

One of the things I like about Andor is that it doesn’t take precedence Star Wars Easter eggs, and what Tony told me about urging his collaborators Kino Loy (Andy Serkis) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR.Abandon their Star Wars reverence. So, as a big Star Wars fan , have you ever had to grab yourself for being too nostalgic or too referential?

Yeah, how much [Tony] loves me Celebrity Feeling nervouswar but I always say I’m a playwright first, then astarWars fans second. So first for me is the story and the characters and what we’re trying to do. But when you see your first robot on set, you get so excited, you have to pull together to make sure it stays in the background. Tony knows this very well. He never wanted to put monsters in the foreground. He never wanted robots to be a prospect. He wanted it to be part of the structure of the work, but not to do a special shot when announcing a new alien or anything like that. He really wanted it to feel fully integrated into the world he presented, not the world [itself] presented.

Out of curiosity, if the show was mostly filmed in reels, would you still take the chance? This isn’t a hit with volume; it’s an amazing tool when used properly.

I think I’ll use this technique at any opportunity. It looks incredible. But I’ll sigh, I won’t walk into the scene I end up walking into. It’s really special to see a new collection every day. It will inform me how to shoot it. It will inform the actor how to act on it. It brings so much to the whole universe you’re trying to build, and it feels very thorough. It feels very starting from scratch and I don’t think the story will fit the volume. In some ways, this wastes what Volume can do for you. What we need is reality. We need to walk in and feel the grit under our fingernails and under our feet. We need to hear it too. So it felt solid, and Tony’s guiding philosophy was to make sure it felt real.


Kino Loy (Andy Serkis) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR. by Lucasfilm Industry/Disney+ Provided

So Andy Serkis’ Kino Loy was a surprise. He obviously played a character named St. Nok’s CG character sequel trilogy, so how did his cast drop in this particular case?

Chatted with Andy for a while. He tried to get him in line, but he wasn’t sure if he would. He’s about to wrap up a big director gig. But we were all very excited about the idea of ​​him joining. I met Andy through an old friend of mine who I met a few times. So the opportunity to actually work with him was very exciting for me, and then all of a sudden, he was there. It all came together in a short amount of time, and he had some big ideas about what he wanted to do with the character. Now I can’t imagine it’s anyone else. Really, there was never an alternative. It has to be Andy.

The fact that he has the Star Wars legacy is neither there nor us. To us, he’s Kino, and it’s all about him and what he can bring to it. It was an opportunity for him to really perform a lot. He has a lot of screen time in our short films. Tom Felton who played Malfoy in Harry Potter only got likes Minutes of total screen time Harry Pot Three series. So the opportunity to play a role like Chino, with such a big role and such a big journey, was a real acting opportunity for Andy, and he was very excited about it. [Author’s note: Serkis’ previous Star Wars character snooker was only 7 minutes and screen time seconds. ]

I have seen the future and I can say with certainty that you made the right choice. It might be a silly question anyway, but does Andy consciously think it doesn’t sound like snooker?

No, but he did experiment with accents in one of the rehearsals. He played with the idea of ​​an Iraqi accent because he had some Iraqi ancestry. [Author’s note: Serkis’ mother is half Iraqi. ] but it was never quite appropriate. For Andor, I don’t think we ever had actors use accents that weren’t their own. We let everyone use their own original accents instead of trying to soften them or anything. It’s part of their own character. It’s their authenticity, so there’s no extra layer of forgery. So we dropped that accent and adopted Andy’s own. He wanted to find the right sound for it at the level of Kino’s class. We have a famous soap in the UK called EastEnders and we don’t want it to get too EastEnders too Chicken ribs. That would have a layer of tricks that we didn’t want. So it’s just trying to find the right level of realism.

Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) and Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR.

saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) and Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR. by Lucasfilm Industry/Disney+


What highlights do you have with Stellan Skarsgard and Forest Whitaker in such an incredible scene A toe-to-toe takeaway?

Oh my god, that was awesome. We are all nervous. I got a call from Forest the night before and he asked me about the Kyber crystal and the backstory. But we did this incredible rehearsal and they just read the scene for the first time and started it. They literally attacked each other and there was an incredible tension in the room as they read this scene. Honestly, if I could have filmed the scene when they first saw it, I would have been very happy to get such a performance from both of them. The craziest thing is that when we actually went and filmed it, it was almost like we had to deconstruct what they were doing, spontaneously and naturally. So they had to rebuild it and build it from scratch, and in a way, when we got the camera rolling, it took us a while to get to that goal.

I have this idea on how to structure the scene. I wanted an extreme close-up of the forest at the end of his rant against all the separatist groups in the coalition. A really direct, positive shot really gets you into the argument and builds that intensity. So I just had him do that speech over and over again. I was like, “Go crazy,” and that feature was one of the best features of my career. It’s amazing to see him do that, and having him fight a heavyweight opponent like Stellan is a career highlight.

This prison set is pretty intimidating. Did your crew configure the floor so that the actors could respond with some kind of physical sensation that day? Or Diego Luna and co. Just that agile?

They are just that agile. We just changed the lights. Like everything else, it’s timing and choreography. I have tried it myself. I took off my shoes and socks and walked out of the cell to the metal floor just to feel it and see how it felt. And you do feel very vulnerable, especially on a movie set with so much equipment. The sets are supported by a lot of scaffolding and stuff, so it feels very industrial when you’re standing there with your bare feet. It gives you a sense of vulnerability and I think it’s very useful for all actors. Let a hundred people stand there barefoot, and it brings its own atmosphere. Let’s put it this way. (laughs.)

SupervisorDedra Meero(Denise Gough) and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and Lucasfilm’s Antoine Dori’s Delivery Guys (Kenny Fullwood & Josh Hedman). by Lucasfilm Industry/Disney+

What exactly did they build in prison?

This is the cornerstone of the empire, but that might be Tony’s problem.

You portray the romance of Vel (Faye Marsay) and Cinta (Varada Sethu) in a meaningful way relative to the rest of the series. can you talk

To me, it doesn’t matter who is in a relationship with whom. about. It’s really just communicating what’s on the page in order to feel impactful. It’s about making sure you feel it and that you’re not too subtle or too bold. I just want to make sure I feel empathy for all of my characters and it doesn’t matter what the beat is. Actually, I’m completely indiscriminate. With any beat, I make sure it hits the right level at that moment, and I want to feel it. When I’m sitting on set watching a show, I’m like, “Am I feeling bored? Am I thinking of something else?” And when I’m sitting in the editor and seeing what we’re doing with it, I’m also asking same question. I keep asking these questions. I even ask them when I first read the script. “Did this moment land?” So I did the same at that moment.

Then you say to yourself “Oh my God, I’m in a Galaxy Far, Far Away’?

I mean, the [Stellan and Forest scene] is incredible. Just directing those guys on set, it’s kind of out of the body Experience, I felt like a very lucky director that day. You just have moments of pinching me a lot. In the first block, when we first introduced B2, I was nervous. When we were on Ferrix street When B2 was introduced I saw a sleeping giant animal on the street and it was breathing and I had all these sleeping robots around the place as B2 went through. Then we let these dogs go and one of them was in Peeing on B2. This is the craziest thing. I’m in a galaxy far, far away and I’m doing a scene with a robot. I’m doing Star Wars. This was amazing to me and then I did a scene where the dog was peeing on the robot. It was totally insane.

On the other hand, when you learn that your stars WAR Would a career start with a brothel and two dead cops?

(laughs.) Yeah, I was like, “Is this on Disney+? “I was really shocked. That was the first thing I said to Tony. I was like, ‘This is bold stuff.’ ‘ He was like, ‘Yeah, it’s all conscious. I am making a point. ”

1235225155 Lucasfilm ANDOR directors Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller). by Lucasfilm/Disney+

I can’t believe you two make me care like Two empires or empire-adjacent officers like Meero (Denise Gough) and Karn (Kyle Soller), something that has never really been done before. So why do you want the audience to potentially sympathize with the fascist team?

It’s easy to paint bad people as black and white bad people. The worst bad people are the bad people who really think they are doing the right thing. So In three dimensions, it makes you think more about what it takes to be a good person. It’s also important to subvert the real moral structure of the league. They’re good people and live by morality, but I think Tony’s trying to say, if you really To get something done, you sometimes need people who live in a gray area, between the good and the bad. Sometimes, you have to do something that you don’t like, and you have to break your own rules. Struggling with whether you’re doing the right thing, you can see that in Luthen and Syril.

Kyle Soller is one of the greatest actors, Because he brings dimension to the character. It’s funny how unattractive he should be, and yet, we’re so drawn to him. It’s up to Kyle, like Tony tells the story. But I’m really into the story Excited because it does feel like new territory. It’s too easy to portray bad guys as bad guys. The Sopranos did it long ago by pushing the audience into this dodgy moral realm, but it’s a very interesting place to put the audience.

Finally, can you tell me what you are going to do next?

I don’t actually know what’s going to happen next. This is a very exciting time. The reaction to Andor was absolutely exciting and I really wanted to take a moment to catch my breath. Doing this series is a tough job, so I need a good beat. I just finished a new Black Mirror episode that I created over the summer with [ by] Charlie [Brooke]. So it’s coming out next year and I’m really proud of it. So I’m really excited and don’t know what I’m going to do next.

After his voiceover in your beloved episode “USS Callister”, did you finally get a chance to work with Aaron Paul on a reality show already? He is one of them 1235226261 So is the new season.

No, but I did meet him. Finally, I visited him, greeted him and met him in person. What a guy. But no, he’s not in my [Black Mirror] episode.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) with delivery guards (Kenny Fullwood and Josh Herdman) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR.Andor is now streaming on Disney+. This interview has been edited for length and clarity .



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