Last week, I had the chance to visit Skywalker Ranch and Lucasfilm HQ while also interviewing some of the cast and the director of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. One of the funniest and most fun interviews we did was with Ben Mendelsohn, who plays Director Krennic aka the new villain in Rogue One.
Ben Mendelsohn is hilarious, charming and the perfect villain for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We all enjoyed talking to him and I can’t wait to see him on the big screen (I need to binge watch Bloodline soon!)
Fighting for the Empire
Ben started off by telling us a bit about his character, “I play director, Orson Krennic. 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.”
As a Star Wars fan, Ben was asked if he ever thought he would be playing a character on the side of the Empire. He told us, “No, 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 know, 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.”
Image courtesy of MomStart.com
When asked if her prefers more “evil” roles, to good roles, Ben told us, “Well, I do think there’s a certain palette of emotions that you get to work with more if you’re playing you know the bad guys like the angry, resentful, enraged sort of stuff. Look, I consider it a real honor to be playing bad guys and certainly in this film and there’ll be one or two more.
Yeah, I consider it a real honor. But look, I’ve had a long and varied career so I don’t associate myself with my characters you know but it’s fine that everyone else does.”
Director Krennic or Darth Vader?
I was able to ask Ben – who is more dangerous, Krennic or Darth Vader? Ben shared his thoughts, “I think my guy is, more in a personal sense? I don’t think there’s any competition you know in a one-on-one. But I think the Empire being what it is, you know 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. 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 and stuff like that. He’s a very impressive dude but there’s a bit of this going on there, as well you know whatever.
But other I mean what does he do? You know what I mean? He’s like a very important figurehead. But in terms of the strategies and what we actually have to get done, whatever. He’s a great car, you know? But someone’s got to drive it.”
Preparing for the Role
To prepare for the role of Director Krennic, Ben said, “When we were going in, the main thing I looked at was just the officers in the original film. And then you sort of 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. It’s all very sort of Royal Shakespeare, bad guy kind of very straight kind of stuff. 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. And basically the thing about those guys, is that from his perspective they’re just in the way. They’re just in the way.”
Image courtesy of MomStart.com
Favorite Scene to Film
Ben shared one of his favorite scenes to shoot was the very first scene you see in addition to a few others, “That’s amongst my favorite. That was an incredibly — it was a brutally, 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’s pretty special. That’s pretty special.
There’s also another scene which you guys haven’t seen I think that is on, it’s in the Imperial territories that I am, that was wonderful to do as well.”
Photo Courtesy of MomStart.com
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters on December 16th! Watch the trailer below and don’t forget to grab your tickets for it now!
Disclosure: Thanks so much to Disney for bringing me out to San Francisco for the event. All thoughts and opinions are my own.