Diego Luna plays Captain Cassian Andor in the new Rogue One a Star Wars Movie. I am excited to share our interview with Diego Luna for Rogue One.
I had the chance to sit down with Diego during the #RogueOneEvent in San Francisco this week. The first thing that struck me during the interview is how thoughtful Diego was. I could tell that he took his time to think about each answer and made sure that he expressed his thoughts clearly.
I found him to be open, honest, and charismatic. He grew up doing television and talked about how that shaped his role in Star Wars and other movies. One of the things that really shaped his acting is growing up in Mexico. Diego talked about how in Mexico those that have the most are few, and the contrast with poverty really shaped him.
Can you tell us a little bit about your character?
I can say a lot! My character is called Cassian Andor and he’s a captain; an intelligence officer for the rebellion. A pretty damned good rebellious captain, you know? He’s in charge of the most important mission for the rebellion and he has to make sure this thing works together.
But he’s a spy, so quite a mysterious man. He has a lot of information he would like to forget, you know? He doesn’t like war, but he believes in the cause and would do anything for the cause. He’s ready to sacrifice, everything and he’s a true hero. He’s like the kind of heroes we could be, right? He doesn’t have special powers; he’s no Jedi, no. He’s just a man with conviction and he knows that working together as a team makes you stronger. So that’s, that’s Cassian.
How do you feel preparing all these different roles- did they help you prepare for this in real life?
The theme is freedom, uh, you know? Living in Mexico growing up there, I see beautiful things. I hear amazing stories, but there’s also a contrast there, you know? Those who have are very few, but they have a lot.
We have one of the richest men on the planet in a country that has so much poverty. So that contrast shaped my view and my point of view, film it’s a way to get all that out, and put it on the table and make sure you share it with others and you generate a debate, and some things starts from there. When Gareth sat down with me and he started talking about the film, about the theme, and about the rebellion, about the moment in the history of Star Wars when this happens, I suddenly was listening.
I would join just as a fan, just as part of the crew, or whatever, you know? He Could’ve said, oh, I want you to be a Storm Trooper and just wear that outfit and be miserable for quite a long time until Felicity’s character kills you, I would’ve said yeah, let’s do it. I’m glad he didn’t say that, but I would’ve said yes because I think this film has a lovely message behind it. It’s about people getting involved and taking control of their reality.
And of shaping the reality. We need that in this world that is going crazy now. We need also to live different as a society and understand the diversity, culture and racial diversity- it just makes us stronger and more- and richer, you know, and that there’s a great thing there for us to find. So yeah, let’s live different as a society and just do it.
Film takes so much time of your life. It’s so challenging; it’s so risky, suddenly everyone has an opinion, in a second and that’s tough to take, so you don’t wanna do it about a theme you don’t care about. You don’t wanna be three years talking about something that doesn’t mean anything to you.
How do you feel about being part of a film where your kids, your son, your daughters will be watching you, and in the future when they can see something more violent, I guess and, and know that my dad is the hero or part of the crew of the heroes in this film?
My son already knows what the film is about and everything. You know what I do? With the stuff I do, I bring them, I bring my kids to see how we’re doing it, so they can see it more from the perspective I see it, you know, and get less affected by the story. I grew up in theater, so I used to witness thing I should probably had not witness, because I was watching from the dressing rooms or from the inside of the theater, I always saw the actor coming out and he was alive.
I saw the actor coming out crying and then going, oh my god, what happened? What was that, and getting ready for the next scene, and realizing those tears didn’t mean what people thought it meant. I understood that the representation of these fiction that it has to look real but doesn’t mean it’s real. I invited my kids to witness this process, also because my son is huge fan of Star Wars.
He knows the world of Star Wars better than I do. He’s eight years old, but he has seen everything. I didn’t want it to stop him because everyone’s gonna be talking about it. I want him to feel part of this, you know? He’s so excited. I like telling this story because it’s true. This film is important for me as an actor for many reasons, but one is because it connects me with the kid I was, you know?
At seven years old; six years old, I saw A New Hope. I saw it because I wanted to belong to the world of my cousins. All of my cousins were playing something, I didn’t get. I wanted to be part of that universe and be able to be part of that gang. It also connects me with my kids as a parent and as a fan, it connects me with my son. I share the excitement with him. When we were watching The Force Awakens, we were there holding hands, and enjoying the moment. It wasn’t me, like, okay, let’s watch this cartoon, and let’s talk about what they’re saying, I wasn’t the dad there. It was two pals watching a film, and that was very sweet. So all of this to say.
My work is something that, it has always separate me from them. It represents something very negative to my kids. It’s what keeps me away. It’s that thing that I go do that they cannot be part of. And then I finish the films, and they cannot watch them. None of my other films- I mean, I did show my son Cesar Chavez, but he just didn’t want to watch it. He fell asleep. But, my stuff is not meant for them. Until I did The Book of Life, that’s the first film I could actually share with my kids.
So this is special, you know, because, I am telling them, I’m going to work, and my son, instead of crying goes, like, yeah, yeah, go, go. I mean, you’ve gotta be on time, Dad, and make sure you do it right. Do what Gareth says. Don’t mess up.
What kind of training did you do?
I went to the gym a place I didn’t like before. They got me into a whole program; they were even taking care of my sleep. It was necessary because I’ve never worked seven months in a film so intense and,every day we were doing something crazy- running, jumping, climbing, it was hardcore scenes.
Gareth really likes things to happen. He doesn’t like pretending. He goes, we’re gonna do this, so you’re gonna be running, and there’s gonna be explosions, and these guys are gonna be shooting from this angle, this from this other angle, and you have to make it work- how would you do it? And he gave us military training. I had two weeks of a military training where I learned how to patrol, and I did a camp with ex-militaries, and I was hearing all their stories.
And I spent a lot of time with them and that was very helpful. But he actually thought a soldier was gonna come back, you know, from these two weeks. And I go, like, no That takes years, and he goes, you’re the captain. Solve this. And I had to and then talk to, to Felicity and start to organize a plan, and then execute, and he would be following us- kind of this covering and improvising on the way, reacting to what we were doing.
So it was a free process. It’s was full of that feeling of not knowing what’s gonna happen which brings some interesting tension and gives you those little moments of vulnerability that Gareth was looking for.
Did you see our interview with Felicity Jones who plays Jyn Erso?
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.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY arrives in theaters everywhere on December 16th in 3D, Real D 3D and IMAX 3D!
Check out this extended look at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!
Follow STAR WARS on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/starwars
Visit the official ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY website: http://www.starwars.com/films/rogue-one
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY arrives in theaters everywhere on December 16th In RealD 3D and IMAX 3D!
I was a guest of Disney for the #RogueOneEvent. All opinions expressed are my own.