Riz Ahmed plays Bodhi Rook in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and just recently became a Golden Globe Nominee. You might recognize him from some of his work in Nightcrawler or Jason Bourne to name a few or maybe even as the British rapper. Yes, that is right. Not only is he a talented actor but also a talented in the music business. I feel so honored to have had the chance to interview him and learn about his role in Rogue One.
About His Character Bodhi Rook
His character works in the Empire and is a cargo pilot from this planet called Jedha, which is occupied by the Empire. He’s trying to earn a living with the main employer in town – the only show in town, really, is working for the Empire. The name Bodhi means awakening and he goes through a kind of awakening to realize that’s not the way. He’s got to try to stand up for what he believes in to make a difference, so he takes a big risk and he defects from the Empire to try to help the rebels.
We asked him to say 3 words to describe his character and he said, “FULL OF REGRET”. He then explained that was deep to say. He mentions that he thinks his character can relate to a lot of people who have a dark history and a past they are not proud of but try to make things right by taking risks.
What It’s Like to be Part of Star Wars History
Being in a Star Wars film is huge and an honor to anyone. When we asked him what it was like to be part of history he mentioned that he is a huge Star Wars fan so getting the role he had an “Oh my God” moment. There was definitely a bond between himself, K-2SO, Cassian, Jyn, Baze, and Chirrut because they were a troop and hanging out in sweaty spaceships. To entertain each other they joked around quite a bit. He mentioned that the thing that was difficult is when he plays a character, he likes to interview people who are close to that character. But you can’t interview anyone who’s an Imperial cargo pilot. So that was quite a big exercise in him just letting go of being a preparation freak and just go with the flow.
How He Got in Shape for the Role
Riz has quite the sense of humor when we asked him how he got in shape for the role of his character Bodhi Rook. He said, “I already had muscles and had to lose weight so that Diego didn’t look too bad. That was the main issue for me. No, my character isn’t a soldier. So he’s not super physically fit. He needs to look like when he’s running through a war zone with a 50 kilo backpack on him, he’s out of breath, and it’s difficult. My preparation was to get really out of shape and just kick back.”
Naming the Team
His character Bodhi actually gets to name the team, Rogue One. It just sort of happened and was not in the script. One of the producers John Swords asked him to say something at the last-minute and he got excited that he got to name the team. It’s funny that his character started out as a totally different character with a different name and a different job – and with a different relationship to the other characters. I think that’s kind of cool. When you do these big movies, there’s a lot of people think that it’s all planned out but that was not the case with this film and sort of cool that things were changed around a bit.
“Gareth the director have made the mistake of giving him his email address.”, Riz jokes. “I emailed him one version of the scene – and then a few hours later, I had another idea, and I sent him another version. Then I did that again. The next morning I didn’t have a reply, so I thought, oh! I should maybe send him some more. In four days I sent him 12 takes.” Gareth then emailed him back letting him know he got the auditions and to please not send any more. Riz was worried that he had screwed up his chance, but about a month later Gareth called to tell him he got the part – and that it was the first audition that got it for him.
In conclusion Riz believes that people will get out of the film the sense that you may feel someone else will stand up for what you believe in but at some point you stand up for what you believe in and make a contribution for what you think is right. Well said Riz, well said.
Be sure to take the entire family to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in theaters on December 16!
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.
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Disclosure: Disney provided me with an all expense paid trip to San Francisco for the #RogueOneEvent #MickeyRacersEvent #PinocchioBluray #Waltagram #StarWarsRebelsEvent. All opinions are 100% my own.