Lupita Nyong’o opens up about her character in ‘Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens’ and talks about her journey from ’12 Years a Slave’ fame to the iconic franchise, which sees her as portraying a pirate named Maz.
The Oscar-winning actress and fashion icon is among the new cast members in the JJ Abrams-directed ‘Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens’ alongside the legendary actors reprising their familiar roles, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, as Hans Solo, Princess Leia (now “General Leia”) and Luke Skywalker.
While Daisy Ridley is a complete unknown, Lupita Nyong’o brings much acting gravitas and excitement. Having risen to fame and collected a shelf full of awards including the Oscar, the Golden Globe and the SAG Award for her breakthrough role in ’12 Years a Slave’ she’s portraying one of the new characters about which mystery miraculously has been preserved. We have been told that Maz Kanata is a pirate who’s lived more than a thousand years and that her eyes have some kind of power.
No leaked scripts or bootleg video. Even trailers haven’t shown much as we literally don’t even know what Maz looks like. We’re at the mercy of what Disney wants to tell us about ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’
And doing her duty towards that end, Nyong’o had an interview with GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts. Asked what it was like preserving the secrets, she said, “Easy. You just don’t say anything.” She acknowledged that the eyes of Maz are “important” to the character and that was about it.
Asked about how familiar she was with ‘Star Wars’ she said, “I grew up watching “Star Wars.” It came on TV when we weren’t in school on public holidays so I always related with it being time off from school.”
She went on to say, “We only had two channels in Kenya when I was growing up so everyone watched “Star Wars.” I didn’t know people who didn’t know about “Star Wars.”
Nyong’o was asked what it was like doing a film with special effects for the first time, including motion capture. She acknowledged that it was liberating and said, “It was about an opportunity to do something that wasn’t limited by my body. Especially after doing a film that was so much about my body and so it’s an opportunity to play in a different playing field because you get to be a totally different thing.”
Continuing, she added, “So I would get covered in dots every day and I’d have these cameras on my head with LED lights shining in my face so I had like my own spotlight everywhere I went and so it was really interesting.”
She went on to speak about the development of the character Maz and said, “It was a very collaborative process and when I signed on to play Maz she was still evolving and I was excited about the opportunity to be a part of that evolution which was interesting and rewarding.”
She also opened up about how she envisions her acting career and said, “I’m really interested in having a career that’s diverse and experiencing things I haven’t experienced before and learning new things. I think that’s when I’m most engaged with what I’m doing.”
Yes, her casting in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise did spark curiosity to say the very least, as she made a journey from that searing and heartbreaking biopic drama of the slave era to the galaxy far far away, and soon, we’ll see just what this new character Maz is all about!
You can see the full ‘Good Morning America’ interview as Lupita Nyong’o talks ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens!’