Diego Luna is very excited to be in a Star Wars movie. To be honest, if you’re a Star Wars fan (I am), it’s nice to see the overwhelming excitement. How much of a bummer would it be to meet someone just cast in a Star Wars movie who said, “Well, it’s just another job. I treat it no differently than I would a Nicholas Sparks movie”? Make no mistake, Diego Luna is not that person. When I met Luna at Disney’s offices in Midtown Manhattan, he was practically bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm. Yes, Diego Luna is excited to be in Rogue One.
In Rogue One, the Mexican-born Luna (who first received worldwide acclaim in Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También) plays Captain Cassian Andor, an intelligence officer for the Rebel Alliance. There’s a scene early on in Rogue One when we meet Cassian, who is meeting with one of his sources that establishes, in the coldest way possible, that Cassian has his eye on the prize, and that’s victory for the Rebel Alliance, no matter who gets in the way.
Ahead, a very excited Luna shares many, many experiences of what it was like to make Rogue One, including the first time he met Darth Vader. (Oh, and there’s the day helicopters were spying on him.)
You have an action figure.
I do! I’m part of Star Wars! It’s just a crazy idea! It’s a lovely thing I never imagined.
Really, never as a little kid?
I was a kid playing, for many years, to be a Jedi. But as an actor – when I became a professional actor, which has almost been 30 years of my life, I started very young – I never sat down and told someone, “I’m going to do a Star Wars film.” I mean, I don’t think like that and I don’t see my career like that. And I didn’t do anything for this to happen! It just came to me as a surprise.
At what moment on set did you think, Oh, wow, this really is a Star Wars movie?
It was the first day. The first day, in England, a month and a half before we start shooting, I go to see Gareth Edwards at the studio and he’s doing a camera test. I go there and I say, “Hi.” He says, “Welcome, I’m glad you’re here.” And I start listening and I hear, [Darth Vader breathing sound] “koohh paaaah.” And I was like, “Holy shit, holy shit.” And I turned and there he is! Darth Vader! The guy in the costume and he has a little speaker where the breathing happens that has haunted me for so many nightmares. And he’s there! Then the actor approaches.
I bet seeing him in real life would be frightening.
And he’s standing in an Imperial base! And there’s silence all around! And it’s, “Holy shit, holy shit.” Then the actor talks, “Gareth, what do you want me to do?” Then you go, “Oh my God, I’m doing the film! I’m doing Star Wars!” I got to jump to the other side and see the whole process.
And there are a couple of other surprises from the old films…
The connection to your childhood? That hasn’t happened to me when I’m working at all, ever! This is the first time I’ve felt such a strong connection with what I’m doing. And I live it from the perspective of the actor working here, but also from the fans – and also the parents who want to share this with their kids, it is the most complex feeling ever.
We see early on Cassian murder one of his sources. He’s intense.
He was going to blow everything!