Andor star Diego Luna: ‘I thought I could do whatever I wanted after Rogue One. I was naive’

11 months ago 81

Diego Luna is video-calling from his location successful Mexico. “I’m sneaking retired of the household meal to talk to you,” says the 42-year-old actor, holding up his telephone truthful I tin spot his 2 children and assorted different figures successful the eating country down him arsenic helium wanders into the garden. Noticing that the wifi is unstable, helium turns disconnected the camera. “But archetypal I wanted to amusement you my face,” helium laughs, “so you tin marque definite it’s truly me.”

It’s him each right. He whitethorn beryllium wearing sunglasses and a shot headdress but the boyish grin is unmistakable, and unchanged since the 2001 roadworthy movie that made him a star: Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También, featuring Luna and his real-life champion chum Gael García Bernal arsenic priapic young blades connected a life-changing travel with an older woman.

The actors had been friends for galore years, having grown up arsenic kid stars of Mexican television. (Luna’s British mother, Fiona, died successful a roadworthy mishap erstwhile helium was two; helium was raised by his father, Alejandro, a acceptable decorator for theatre and film.) Though Luna landed a tiny portion successful Julian Schnabel’s Oscar-nominated Before Night Falls, it was his show successful Cuarón’s movie that showed the scope of his talents, from bawdy knockabout drama to plangent affectional honesty. The climax, successful which the friends’ threesome with their travelling companion, who has already bedded them some individually, blurs into an look of cheery tendency for 1 another, was a infinitesimal of genuine daring and candour.

That movie kickstarted a vocation that has seen Luna power effortlessly betwixt Hollywood extravaganzas and smaller, homegrown Spanish-language projects, galore of them socially oregon politically conscious. But notation the movie that started it each for him and it becomes wide that the years haven’t dulled his affection for it. “We had our characters’ energy,” helium recalls. “We were teasing each different nonstop, greeting to night, competing successful everything; if determination were five-minute breaks connected set, we would drawback stones and spot who could propulsion them the farthest, oregon who could deed that target. There wasn’t a infinitesimal erstwhile we weren’t teasing this idiosyncratic oregon that person, and getting into each these small dramas. I deliberation successful a mode we became a small addicted to it all: the intimacy and feeling similar portion of the family.”

There person been whispers of a sequel that mightiness telephone successful connected the characters successful their 40s. Luna adjacent told the New York Times past twelvemonth that helium didn’t judge the assertion by the film’s narrator that the 2 friends ne'er saw 1 different again. Today, however, helium turns his chemoreceptor up astatine the idea. “Going backmost would beryllium …” He thinks for a moment. “It could beryllium a disaster!” helium says finally. “I don’t deliberation it’s worthy it. It was peculiar and unique, but it was portion of its time. Films similar that are similar marks connected the crushed – they’re a reminder of thing that happened and is gone. We cannot conscionable say: ‘Let’s bash it again.’”

Prequels, though, are different matter. In Andor, the caller TV spin-off from the endlessly proliferating Star Wars franchise, Luna plays Cassian Andor, the intergalactic rebel helium originated successful the 2016 blockbuster Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Set instantly anterior to the events of the 1977 movie that started it all, Rogue One showed a ramshackle radical of heroes paving the mode for the likes of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo. It concluded with Cassian and his chap fighters dying successful a blaze of glory. Now, Andor rewinds to galore years earlier that to amusement the character’s humble beginnings: it’s a prequel to a prequel.

The grin doesn’t get overmuch of an outing successful Andor. It whitethorn beryllium acceptable a agelong clip agone successful a postulation far, acold away, but archetypal episodes (the 4th occurrence volition aerial this week) spell little for the George Lucas sheen than a Blade Runner-style neon-and-drizzle murkiness, punctuated by occasional woodland skirmishes.

‘It’s astir  the travel  of existent  people’ … Diego Luna arsenic  Cassian Andor.
‘It’s astir the travel of existent people’ … Diego Luna arsenic Cassian Andor. Photograph: AP/Lucasfilm Ltd/Disney

Being the archetypal standalone Star Wars instalment lent Rogue One a distinctiveness not afforded to the 9 cardinal films of the franchise, and Luna sees Andor arsenic a continuation of the film’s boldness. “We don’t person to beryllium anything,” helium says. “The characters beryllium successful the grey areas. It’s astir the travel of existent radical – the astir existent you tin get successful Star Wars. Their hopes are broken. Everyone is oppressed. There is this feeling of ‘something needs to happen’. We cognize Cassian volition go a hero, but we tin situation the thought that determination is lone 1 way. Fortunately, we enactment with a writer who lives successful that benignant of complexity.”

He is referring to Tony Gilroy, who created Andor, and was antecedently champion known for scripting the Bourne enactment series. Gilroy was besides the antheral who saved Rogue One. “Well, uh, I would accidental that is not the close mode to enactment it,” replies Luna with a tense giggle. I’m amazed to perceive that, due to the fact that this is precisely however Gilroy describes it. He was hired by Disney arsenic an exigency script-doctor earlier overseeing reshoots that fixed oregon augmented what the director, Gareth Edwards, had already done. “They were successful specified a swamp,” Gilroy said successful 2018. “They were successful truthful overmuch terrible, unspeakable occupation that each you could bash was amended their position.”

Maribel Verdú, Luna and Gael García Bernal successful  Y Tu Mamá También.
Maribel Verdú, Luna and Gael García Bernal successful Y Tu Mamá También. Photograph: TCD/Prod.DB/Alamy

When I recount that to Luna, helium laughs again, much heartily this time, arsenic though helium is 8 years aged and I’ve conscionable said a naughty word. “I would hold that Tony brought complexity to my character,” helium says. Why the reluctance to admit that the shooting of Rogue One ran aground? “It’s important to item that determination is nary azygous mode to get to immoderate destination. To me, Rogue One is simply a movie that took truthful galore risks.” Now the occupation becomes clear: helium thinks I’m disparaging the movie, erstwhile thing could beryllium further from the truth. In fact, I deliberation it’s the second-best Star Wars occurrence successful the full series, characterised by antithetic daring and finesse and trumped lone by The Empire Strikes Back. “I emotion you for saying that,” helium says. “I didn’t accidental it. But if you’d got maine drunk, I would person said the nonstop aforesaid words.”

He indispensable person realised however messy things were getting earlier Gilroy fixed them? “Oh, of course,” helium says, relaxing into the taxable astatine last. “Making Rogue One was difficult, challenging and confusing sometimes. But films decorativeness erstwhile they finish. I’ve been successful truthful galore projects wherever you deliberation things are going precisely the mode they should, past it turns retired not to succeed. The conflict of uncovering what each movie needs, and however to bash it, is unique. Every determination made successful Rogue One ended up being close due to the fact that I’m arrogant of the result.”

Luna’s archetypal brushwood with Star Wars was connected video successful the 1980s. “All my older cousins were already fans. I was the youngest and I wanted to drawback up. My acquisition was similar streaming is today: it was uncontrolled. I could property play arsenic overmuch arsenic I wanted.”

Is it not the lawsuit now, though, that determination is simply excessively overmuch Star Wars content? With The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi already streaming, and Andor, Ahsoka, Skeleton Crew, The Acolyte and Lando crowding the skyline similar a meteor shower, it is nary wonderment that James Waugh, the elder vice-president of Lucasfilm, has admitted to being “mindful” of oversaturation. After all, the disappointing effect successful 2018 to Solo: A Star Wars Story, a prequel that was wide perceived arsenic a lawsuit of flogging a dormant Wookiee, led to Disney scaling backmost its slate of movies successful the franchise. Luna bats distant specified concerns. “I disagree. Not everything has to beryllium for everyone. And these are truthful divers and complex, travel on! My begetter likes them, I similar them, truthful bash my kids.” Polling extracurricular his contiguous household mightiness output antithetic results, oregon possibly not.

Luna is simply a film-maker himself – his enactment down the camera includes the governmental play Cesar Chavez and Everything Will Be Fine, a lively, comic and candid Netflix play bid astir divorce, some made nether the aegis of his ain accumulation company, which helium co-founded with Bernal. The brace volition soon reunite connected surface for the Hulu bid La Máquina, with Luna arsenic the manager of an ageing boxer played by Bernal, and his different acting choices person ever been pleasingly eclectic. He whitethorn person worked with Steven Spielberg (The Terminal) and Woody Allen (A Rainy Day successful New York) but helium was besides successful the cheery rights play Milk, the artful James Baldwin adaptation If Beale Street Could Talk and the bizarre Mister Lonely, wherever helium played a Michael Jackson impersonator surviving successful a Scottish castle with different personage mimics.

 A Star Wars Story.
Rebel with a origin … Diego Luna arsenic Cassian Andor successful Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Photograph: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm Ltd/AP

With specified offbeat projects successful mind, it indispensable beryllium a interest that Star Wars and Marvel blockbusters permission small country successful the marketplace for autarkic voices. “I hold with that,” helium says. “But I’m optimistic astir however the abstraction is divided, the antithetic venues and platforms we person now.” He is besides realistic astir the effect of the Star Wars universe, oregon his relation arsenic a cartel kingpin successful Narcos: Mexico, connected his ain clout beyond those series. “I was naive astatine the beginning. I thought: ‘Of course, aft Rogue One I tin bash immoderate I privation and enactment it retired there.’ No. You tin bash different Rogue One, oregon thing of that scale, but it doesn’t mean you tin spell backmost and bash a tiny movie and person it released successful the aforesaid way, oregon fixed the aforesaid benignant of push.”

Despite this, helium retains a consciousness of wonderment astir cinema that tin beryllium traced straight to his youth. Though helium began his acting vocation arsenic a kid successful Mexican telenovelas, helium was nary alien to arthouse film-making: helium visited the sets that his begetter worked on, astir memorably Alejandro Jodorowsky’s surreal and gruesome circus phantasy Santa Sangre. “Parts of the elephant from that movie were kept astatine home,” helium recalls. “So I didn’t freak retired erstwhile it started spurting humor from its trunk due to the fact that I knew however it each worked. Remember the tattooed woman? I sat successful the trailer for hours watching her being painted!”

Most of all, helium cherishes the representation of seeing the models his begetter would marque connected the array astatine location transformed weeks oregon months aboriginal into colossal constructions. “He would person these miniature sets with tiny figures, and helium would back-light them and front-light them and determination the figures astir to analyse the effect. Then it would each beryllium built connected a signifier and it would go enormous!” With that, helium makes an exploding sound – the sound, presumably, of his young caput being blown. Perhaps different kid determination retired determination volition person the aforesaid acquisition with Andor.

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