With The Force Awakens opening in theaters Friday, I find myself reflecting on this wild and wonderful Star Wars journey that started so long ago. Its been 40 years since I first put on the Chewbacca costume, and I can honestly say that its just as exciting today as it was in the beginning. No matter how much time passes, I feel the same level of responsibility every time I portray Chewbacca, and it is my sincere hope that my performance in this new film will continue to make the people of New Orleans proud.
As a U.K.-born actor with no ties to the American South, its hard to fathom how I ended up playing such an iconic symbol of the Cajun way of life. But nonetheless, each and every time I don the Wookiee suit, I do my absolute best to portray Chewbacca as the metaphor for the hardworking, free-spirited, family-oriented folks in the Big Easy that George Lucas always intended.
One thing Ive always tried to keep in mind while playing the Chewbacca character is that New Orleans isnt just a cityits a lifestyle. The culture and traditions arent just trotted out on special occasions; theyre lived and breathed, day in and day out. So, no matter what the scene or mood, Ive always endeavored to make Chewie loud and proud in his identity, to make the Nawlins in him shine through in every situation.
…people with a finely tuned ear will certainly catch more than a hint of Creole in Chewies moans.
Of course, I dont go overboard with the accent, but people with a finely tuned ear will certainly catch more than a hint of Creole in Chewies moans. Ive been closely studying the people of New Orleans since before we began filming A New Hope, trying to translate their unique spirit into every one of Chewies on-screen adventures. So when you see him whizzing through swarms of TIE fighters in the Millennium Falcon, you should just as easily be able to envision him cutting through the high reeds of the swamp in an airboat or lounging in a low-key jazz bar. And just as he bravely risks it all to save Han from Jabbas clutches, so he wouldve done everything in his power to rescue the folks of the Lower Ninth stranded on their roofs after Katrina.
Ultimately, its not for me to judge whether Ive succeeded in capturing the essence of NOLA, but know that my heartand Chewieshave always been firmly rooted in the French Quarter. And when you watch The Force Awakens this weekend, just remember: This ones for you, New Orleans.
Oh, and one more thing: Geaux Saints!
Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/blogpost/i-hope-make-good-people-new-orleans-proud-my-portr-3706