Puppeteer and voice actress Shirley Henderson talks about bringing the diminutive star of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Babu Frik, to life.
Vainness Honest: What was your introduction to Babu Frik?
Shirley Henderson: One night I used to be sitting in a lodge room, about to get into my pajamas and head off to dreamland, when Nina Gold, the casting director, phoned me and requested if I wish to meet J.J. Abrams and audition for him. I requested what the half was, and she or he mentioned she couldn’t inform me. It’s a giant secret. “No clues in any respect?” I requested. Nina then muttered one thing below her breath that sounded a little bit like, “perhaps small, perhaps outdated, perhaps a workshop.” I thought of it for one second and mentioned, “Sure, please! I’d love to satisfy J.J. Abrams!”
So that you simply knew you’ll be enjoying a small, outdated creature? Not even that it was a puppet?
Then the day arrived. I used to be taken into J.J.’s workplace and we mentioned hiya. Nonetheless, there have been no actual clues—so I simply hunched down on the bottom and made myself as small as I might and began speaking as I believed the character would possibly. Minutes later, J.J. introduced in a tiny mannequin of an outdated man, set it down on the espresso desk and mentioned: “That is Babu Frik.”
The creature and puppet was already designed while you got here aboard?
That was my first introduction to him. At that stage, he was nonetheless a piece in progress, however similar to what he lastly ended up on the large display screen. It was an thrilling and enjoyable interview, and such a thrill to satisfy J.J.—and, after all, Babu.
How did Babu evolve as you started working? Have been there modifications to his look, measurement, or conduct as you consulted with J.J.?
It was months later that I arrived on the studios to begin to turn out to be Babu. The engineers and designers had created a mannequin that the puppeteers and myself might play with to study and uncover how Babu moved, and the sort of voice he had and the language he used. As a workforce, we’d provide up little sequences for J.J. to have a look at and provides suggestions on earlier than we ever obtained to the precise set for filming. It was valuable time for the puppeteers to discover a rhythm with the mannequin and what it was able to—and for me to study the workings of the mouth, and to play with vocal concepts.
Learn the total interview here.