The HoloFiles

INTERVIEW: Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram, and Deborah Chow Talk Playing John Williams’ Music On Set, Joker and Logan Influences, Last Jedi Connection, and More

By George Bate

The HoloFiles and Star Wars Holocron recently had the chance to attend a press conference with Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram, and Deborah Chow ahead of today’s release of Obi-Wan Kenobi. The actors and director shed some light on what it was it was like to create the new Star Wars series, being influenced by Joker and Logan, and more.

Director Deborah Chow was excited about the prospect of delivering a “character-driven” story.

“I was really excited at the idea of getting to do a limited series for one just because you get to tell sort of a bigger story, but you also have the time to really get into the character. So, I think, first and foremost, I was the most excited about doing a character driven story and really kind of having the opportunity to get more depth and have more time to really get to know the character.”

Chow referenced Logan and Joker as specific influences.

“I was the most excited about getting the opportunity to do a character different story. You know, in a similar way, you know, obviously it’s a different tone, but something like Joker or Logan where, you know, you take one character out of a big franchise and then you really have the time and you go a lot deeper with the character. So, that to me seemed really exciting to get to do in Star Wars.”

Part of the McGregor’s return to Star Wars was the opportunity to reunite with Hayden Christensen.

“I mean we just were so close when we met the first — we made Episode II and III together and we made them in Australia. So, we were both away from home and we had so much time training for the fights together and then, being on set together. But also, because we were so far from home, we spent a lot of time outside of work together as well. And so, we were close. And then, over the years, I guess, we had slightly lost touch. I hadn’t seen Hayden for years. So, when I saw him again and was able to talk about this project with him, it was very, very exciting. It was great. And when we were acting together, it was really like some sort of time warp. Really like looking across at him on set was like the last 17 years didn’t happen at all, you know. It was really peculiar.”

To prepare for their roles, Ewan McGregor and Moses Ingram spent “four months in Jedi school.” Ingram explained this.

“We trained for about four months before we ever even got to set. The everyday, regular strength and cardio, and then three days a week of Jedi school on top of that which, at the beginning was a little intimidating because I come in. We’re doing lightsaber work and, of course, he’s being doing this for years. So he’s like, flipping it and wielding it and I’m like, oh, God, I’m never going to get it. I look terrible. But, you know, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”

Regarding fight choreography, McGregor noted that Obi-Wan’s style from the prequel trilogy was worked into the new series.

“We were under the great JoJo, our fight coordinator, is really an amazing, thoughtful man. And he’d taken the fights that we did in the original three films and he sort of studied them with his crew, his stunt crew, and developed them. So it was very thoughtful. It’s not just random.”

The preparation for the fight scenes were necessary as they took several days to shoot. McGregor described the process.

“The fight scenes are always something extra when you’re doing something like this because they just require such a lot of preparation and there’s a sort of real nervousness about when you walk on set to do a fight that you’ve been learning and training for, for months. There’s a sort of real — your stomach gets really nervous, you know, because you want to do it the best you can and sometimes you’re shooting them, you know, two-three days in a row and it requires an enormous amount of stamina which is also why getting fit beforehand was really important so we could sort of maintain that.”

Deborah Chow spoke about the evolution of the Volume technology on Obi-Wan Kenobi following her work in The Mandalorian.

“I started using that technology, stagecraft, on Mandalorian. So, I was actually incredibly excited to be able to use it on Kenobi as well. I think one of the interesting things is, you know, in first season Mandalorian, a lot of the tech, you know, it’s advanced so much. Every passing year, there’s advances. So, by the time we came to do Kenobi, you know, already there were things that we could do that we couldn’t do in first season. But it was also really exciting to be able to design and to develop material knowing that I was going to shoot stagecraft. So, a lot of times I’d be looking at the scene even as we were writing it, thinking about how is this going to translate into the volume and how can we take advantage of the tech as best as possible.”

To help the actors feel even more immersed in Star Wars, Deborah Chow played John Williams’ music in the background during filming. Moses Ingram spoke of this experience.

“It was sick, too, because we’d be, like, stepping off the ship or, like, you know, doing something else and the music would swell and you’re just, like, feeling like you’re 10 feet tall, you know. It’s very, very cool.”

Given the events of Revenge of the Sith, Deborah Chow went into Obi-Wan Kenobi knowing the series would have a darker tone.

“The tone, you know, it’s — well, obviously, we’re starting in a pretty dark time period and that was kind of quite interesting not only to start with OBI-WAN’s character in kind of a dark place, but also starting in a period in the timeline that’s quite dark. So, kind of actually gives us a very interesting starting place for the series. But I think, you know, with the character of Kenobi, you know, for me he’s always felt like there’s so much warmth, there’s so much compassion and humor, that it is kind of a character of light and hope. That it was interesting for us to try to keep the balance of that, of the darkness, but also still maintaining the hope coming from the character.”

There was little McGregor could say about the plot, but he did say that is “not able to use the Force” at the start of the show as he’s “lost his faith,” which will likely remind fans of Luke in The Last Jedi.

Stay tuned to The HoloFiles for more coverage of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

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