Actor Alan Tudyk tells of the perhaps surprising way he portrayed his droid K-2S0 on the set of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
As well as Alan the creation of K-2SO took the combined skills of John Knoll and the team at ILM, and Neal Scanlan and his team of creature and droid experts. K-2 was first created as a full-scale maquette by Scanlan’s team and then realized by visual effects.
A lot of people think that the K2 is strictly CG, but Alan was actually on set with stilts and stuff.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - K-2SO
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) ©2016 Lucasfilm

At the press conference for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Alan was asked about the on-set situation. But Diego Luna, who plays Cassian Andor, wanted to interrupt.

Alan Tudyk: I got this, Diego. He’s going to give his opinion of it. Diego is very funny about certain aspects of my costume, let’s say.

I was wearing a, you know, fully body jumpsuit sort of thing, and it’s such a new technology, even still.

Sometimes there’s dots all over the face, they have balls all over their suit. The way that ILM did it, I wore a suit that was very comfortable. It didn’t have all of that restriction on it, it just had interesting designs on it.

I was on stilts so I was 7 foot 1, so I towered over everyone most of the time. Even at that height it colors how you move and helped me get into character. It was fantastic.

It was basically just acting, but then the makeup and the costume came later. You’re on set you are able to create a character with the other actors.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - London Screening, Kathleen Kennedy
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Kathleen Kennedy attends the exclusive screening of Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated, first-ever, standalone Star Wars adventure at the BFI IMAX on December 13, 2016 in London, England ©2016 Disney, photo by Stuart C Wilson/Getty

Star Wars icon Robots

Katherine Kennedy (Producer): Alan, I think you’re shortchanging yourself a little bit too because you stepped into amazing iconography with robots in Star Wars.

When you figure that C-3PO and R2-D2 and now BB-8, what was amazing about what Alan did. He had to find what that individual sense was so that he could create another robot in the family of robots in Star Wars. He’s going to be very memorable.

Gareth Edwards (Director): I think John Knoll came to this in there is that there’s a feeling. You can’t help it because it’s CGI. There’s a feeling on set which is if we change our minds, you want to change his performance a little bit, it’s in the computer, maybe we can worry about that later.

Alan: You kept saying that again and again…

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Director Gareth Edwards and Diego Luna
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Director Gareth Edwards and Diego Luna (aka Cassian Andor) ©2016 Lucasfilm, photo by Jonathan Olley

Shot the whole thing as if K2 was on set

Gareth: No, and we shot the whole thing as if K2 was – whatever Alan did on set. Whatever it was, was exactly what K2 was going to do in the final film.

So, you know, K2 would get, you know, when Alan, no offense, but would screw up a few times, and we’d do multiple, multiple takes. Even though you’re thinking, oh, can’t you just animate this stuff – and you can’t.

What we learned was on the very few occasions, there were times where we wanted to tweak something. We’d go, you know what, just make it do something a little bit different to what Alan did. Every single time it didn’t work. We had to be true to Alan’s performance all the time.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) ©2016 Lucasfilm, photo by Jonathan Olley

When we wanted to tweak something, we got Alan back and we re-recorded him on film and copied his performance, ‘cause he is K2.

And a lot of the humor that’s in the film that’s really funny is just this guy improvising. He was given freedom to do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted.

There are shots we couldn’t use ‘cause sometimes I was behind the camera and I’m laughing, and the camera’s rocking up and down and there’s stuff we can’t even talk about, but it was hilarious.

It will be on the behind the scenes documentary right?

Gareth: Yeah.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Diego Luna, Felicity Jones and Alan Tudyk
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) ©2016 Lucasfilm, photo by Jonathan Olley

Then Diego Luna, who plays Cassian Andor, finally got his say…

Diego: I can tell you the truth now. No, it’s completely right, like when they go like you’re going to do a science fiction film, or you’re gonna, yeah, work with droids, you have the feeling you’re just going to have to imagine everything.

Here we were interacting with an actor and making choices on the way. After the first month.

The first month we just couldn’t look at him because he did look ridiculous with this outfit. It was the tightest pajamas ever, and because he had the stilts you were always the height of his balls here, you know? [laughter]

I mean, that just made Alan, quite intimidating. [laughter] And then he’s – yeah, well, he’s really tall, right?

Alan Tudyk at the London press event in the Tate Modern Gallery

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