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Mark Hamill talks Squadron 42: Oh how far we've come since Wing Commander

John Gaudiosi | May 16, 2016
Luke Skywalker has nothing on Steve Colton.

Where did you film?

We filmed this at The Imaginarium Studios, which is Andy Serkis' studio at Ealing Studios—the oldest studio on England. It opened in 1912, the year the Titanic went down, and all my favorite Ealing comedies were filmed in there, so I loved just the history of it.

But to go back to your question, this is what's considered the next level in performance capture. Everything uses one to three cameras on the actors' faces. Plus there are 50 cameras capturing their moves. So you're in this bare-bones studio with apple boxes for chairs and just the basic rudimentary wood structures to approximate the cockpits and so forth, and yet when you look on the screen, you see what they're getting. It's totally realized. So it's almost beyond even doing some of the stuff that you do on green screen, where you look at the drawing and get an idea of what's eventually to come down the road. It's very exciting.

How does acting in a video game differ from acting in a movie such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

You're giving little jigsaw puzzle pieces for them to assemble the final product themselves. It's really hard in a way because you're trying to stay in character for all the different reactions, but given the fact that he had to give neutral, negative, and positive in every situation. You kind of wind up thinking, who is this guy, and of course, they wont really know who he is until they've played the game all the way through and explained it the way you played it. This new one we did is miles beyond what were able to achieve 30 years ago.

What was it like working with this cast?

What a cast to work with. I mostly worked with John Rhys-Davies. I got to work a little with Ben Mendelsohn and Jack Huston. I didn't get to work with Gary Oldman or Gillian Anderson, or Andy Sirkis. I did work with Liam Cunningham and Mark Strong. The cast is just superb and they've got this young guy, Ian Duncan, who is the player. He's in every single screen, never had a day off, but just a tremendous person in terms of having the right kind of attitude. He was just wonderful to work with. If I were in his shoes and I worked every single day for months... he had such an even temper. What I was amazed by is that he got every single word exactly right. I had cheat sheets all over that set because as you get older... my memory is starting to be not as razor sharp as I'd like it to be. Again, you're doing various takes and various versions to cover all the different possibilities that the players might have, so I only have highest praise for Ian. If it wasn't fun to work with a guy who's playing the player, it could make this job kind of a chore rather than a delight, and luckily for us it was just great fun to do.

 

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