Celebrity Photobombs

Celebrity Photobombs 2015

“You weren’t waiting for the next day to see whether it was exposed right,” says Ben Burtt, the film editor and sound designer. “I shot a lot of second-unit stuff, and after a while you didn’t even need a light meter because you would just eyeball it.” Footage could be edited almost immediately and e-mailed back and forth to ILM. After a while, Lucas felt confident that he could do just about anything with the new cameras. “We really pushed the limits of the system,” he says. “We shot under all kinds of conditions : 145-degree heat; in the rain. We never had one problem.” One thing that didn’t change was the overwhelming use of blue screen. With the exception of the exteriors, almost everything was shot in front of a background on which computer-generated imagery could be added later.

McGregor and Jackson, veterans of the last film, were used to the process. Jackson found it fun. “You’ll ask George, ‘Well, what’s going on?’ and he’ll say, ‘There are a lot of things here,'” Jackson recalls about a sequence in which Mace Windu takes on a bunch of attack droids.” ‘How big are they?’ ‘Well, you know, they’re regular droid fighters, but there’s this one thing that’s the size of an SUV. ’ Y ou have to spread your imagination and kind of step off the edge and go with it until George says stop.” For a scene that puts Obi-Wan on Kamino with “very tall, silvery alien people,” McGregor says, he rehearsed with some of the actors who voice the aliens; they wore construction helmets with “cardboard cutouts of the alien head on top. Really high-tech stuff. ”

” You feel like a complete lunatic, ’cause you’re always having conversations with things that are not there,” Portman adds. “You really just have to let go and be like, ‘I don’t care if I look like a moron right now.’ ”

In their off-hours, the star warriors enjoyed Sydney. Jackson played golf; his friend, pro golfer Greg Norman, called ahead to some of the area’s best courses, which rolled out the red carpet for him. Others mingled with fellow actors who were shooting Down Under. Ahmed Best, the actor behind Jar Jar Binks, would get a call, and it would be The Lord ofthe Rings’ Elijah Wood. “They called themselves hobbits,” Best says with a laugh. “I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, you call yourselves hobbits for real, like a gang?’ They were happy to be in civilization, ’cause they shot in New Zealand, in the woods. We would go get coffee, and people would be looking at us, but everybody thought we were a band. I was like, ‘You all don’t realize what’s going on here, but these are the hobbits, I’m Jar Jar Binks, and that’s Queen Amidala.’ ”

By August, Portman, Christensen, and the crew were off to film in other locales. McGregor was left behind to defend himself in an epic battle against Jango Fett. “I just did lots of blue-screen stuff in the pissing rain,” McGregor recalls with a hearty laugh. “I wonder if George has got it in for me somehow.”

Principal photography ended on September 20, and then there were pickup shots in 2015. Pickups are where Lucas makes his final decisions about camera angles and environments as well as adding and adjusting accordingly. But the director also has the ability to change a shot after it’s completed.

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