Ben Mendelsohn (Director Orson Krennic) on The Empire, Darth Vader & Rogue One

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For today’s #RogueOneEvent interview we’re chatting with Ben Medelsohn! From the 28 minutes of Rogue One that I got to see so far (at Skywalker Ranch of all places) I can tell you that I already love to hate Ben’s character Director Orson Krennic. He’s INCREDIBLE in this role!

Ben Mendelsohn #RogueOneEvent Interview
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story..Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn)..Ph: Jonathan Olley..©Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

When Ben walked into the room, I had an instant smile on my face. Something about him just grabs your attention. You want to hear whatever it is he has to say. Actually, one of my favorite parts of the whole weekend was shopping with him in the Lucasfilm store. He wanted to know where his action figures were 😉 Seriously though, it was so fun to watch and chat with him as we were all scooping up souvenirs for our family.Ben Mendelsohn #RogueOneEvent Interview

Rogue One Ben Mendelsohn Interview

Can you tell us a little bit about your character?

“Sure. He is the director of military intelligence and operations. And for the purposes of our film it means he’s the dude that built the Death Star and is bringing it to its final brilliance.”

Ben Mendelsohn #RogueOneEvent Interview
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story..Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn)..Ph: Film Frame ILM/Lucasfilm..©2016 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

You grew up being a Star Wars fan. Did you ever imagine yourself being on the empire side?

“No, but that’s the folly of youth isn’t it? No one imagines that they’re going to end up on the side of the empire. But you get older. You know you come to realize the peace and stability in the galaxy is worth fighting for and that all these airy, fairy ideals of the rebellion are very well and good but what happens when they get into power?

I wish I could have told myself at various points through life, don’t worry. One day you’ll be in Star Wars.”

Ben Mendelsohn #RogueOneEvent Interview
Photo credit: Louise Bishop / MomStart.com

Your characters have been trademarked collectively. And this is a quote. This isn’t my quote. As unlikable sociopaths. How do you feel about that?

“That’s my recent body of work. That’s my, you might call it my unlikable sociopath phase.”

Ben Mendelsohn #RogueOneEvent Interview
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Ben Mendelsohn) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

Do you prefer those evil roles to the good roles?

“Well, I do think there’s a certain, there’s a certain if you like palette of emotions that you get to work with more if you’re playing you know the bad guys like the angry, resentful, enraged sort of stuff.  I consider it a real honor to be playing  bad guys, certainly in this film. I consider it a real honor. But  I’ve had a long and varied career. I don’t associate myself with my characters but it’s fine that everyone else does.”

So you’re not an unlikable sociopath?

“I wouldn’t say that.”

Ben Mendelsohn #RogueOneEvent Interview
Photo credit: Louise Bishop / MomStart.com

Gareth was telling us the story about being in LA on the rooftop whenever he came to you with this role. Can you tell us your side of the story?

“Well, I got, I sort of got summoned to go and meet. And he basically told me the story and then he told me who he wanted me to play. And I was just a little concerned. I thought, are you sure? I was incredibly flattered.

It was one of those things that he got a little bit foggy because I started to get a little bit overwhelmed by it. I was pretty sure by the end of it that he had offered it to me.”

Who do you think is more dangerous, your character or Darth Vader?

“In a personal sense? I don’t think there’s any competition you know in a one-on-one. But I think the Empire being what it is, Darth’s pretty good but I’d hate to see him go up against a couple of squadrons or I’d hate to see him go one-on-one against the Death Star. Really that’s about influences, you know, where you sit. The Emperor’s here and how close can you get? I think Krennic is going for that number.  I think he regards Darth as the emperor’s kind of pet and he’s fascinated with him and stuff like that. He’s a very impressive dude.  He’s a very important figurehead, but in terms of the strategies and what we actually have to get done… He’s a great car, but someone’s got to drive it.”

What was it like on set?

“You can’t have a bad day. You look up and you see storm troopers around your workplace, you really can’t have a terribly bad day.”

Who did you study to prepare for your character?

“The main thing that I looked at was just the officers in the original film. And then you sort of have to do a bit of a rewind and think about what it was like when they were making it in ‘77 because they were all very British. It’s all very sort of “Royal Shakespeare”. I wanted Krennic to sound like enough of one of those guys.Then, you put that costume on and you’ve got those boots on and you have that cape. And all of a sudden you just feel that power.”

As a father, is it difficult to get into that mind frame? 

“At the end of all of this I never ever confuse the two. There have been plenty of things I’ve done where you feel uncomfortable or you feel a whole bunch of things because  they tend to be a lot more of the up close and personal things. But I never confuse the two. It’s sort of like, we’re going to play, here’s playtime. We’re going to play cops and robbers or whatever. And now we’re back to normal. You’ve got to be able to do that.”

Ben Mendelsohn #RogueOneEvent Interview
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Ben Mendelsohn) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

What was the most difficult part for you?

“I think it was the first few days of being there and walking in front of storm troopers into those Imperial sets. It took a while to be able to go, okay, okay, okay. You’ve got this.”

What would be your best scene, the one that you like the most?

“That scene you saw, that’s amongst my favorite (this will be the first scene you see in Rogue One) That was an incredibly difficult day. We were in Iceland. It was absolutely prohibitively freezing. And the weather changed greatly.

There’s a scene with Darth Vader that’s pretty special. There’s also another scene that’s in the Imperial territories  that was wonderful to do as well.”Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

You can see Rogue One beginning THIS WEEK December 16th (some showings are starting the evening of the 15th!) and you’re going to want to see it opening weekend for sure. We are getting super antsy over here 😉

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I attended the #RogueOneEvent #StarWarsRebelsEvent #MickeyRacersEvent #PinocchioBluray as press. Opinions expressed are my own.

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Allison Waken is a wife, mom of boys and Phoenix, AZ native. She has been creating inspiring content for All for the Boys since 2011. Allison loves travel, movies and spending as much time as possible with her family while she can!

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