In a recent interview I managed to chat with Nalini Krishan, who portrayed Jedi Padawan Barriss Offee in the prequel trilogy.
Barriss Offee was a female Mirialan who trained as a Jedi Padawanduring the Clone Wars. She carried a blue lightsaber and trained under Jedi Master Luminara Unduli.Offee was a survivor of the Battle of Geonosis and was extremely loyal to her Jedi Master. Offee preferred studying ancient Jedi texts to fighting and was a bit older than most Jedi Padawans.
During her time as a Jedi Padawan, Offee struck up a friendship with Ahsoka Tano, the Padawan learner of Anakin Skywalker. Though rather different in personality, the two bonded through shared experience in combat.
As the Clone Wars continued, Offee grew disillusioned with the Jedi’s role in the wars, believing they had lost their way from the ideals that the Jedi Order was supposed to represent, and wary of the Jedi Council in particular. Deciding to act on her concerns, she orchestrated the bombing of the Jedi Temple as a means to foment further distrust of the Jedi, as clone troopers were killed during the attack. Despite their previous friendship, she allowed Tano to be framed for orchestrating the bombing, but ultimately confessed after being confronted by Anakin Skywalker, just before Tano was about to be convicted of the crime, and shared her views of the Jedi being corrupted by the dark side before being taken away.
How does working on Star Wars compare to all your work on other projects?
I have worked on so many different projects, each of them has been so dynamically different. Star Wars have been the biggest film and one of the most memorable projects I worked on. I think my role as Barriss Offee supersedes anything else I’ve done thus far.
When you were given the role of Barriss Offee, were you provided with a background on the character, if so, what did it say?
I was told nothing at all, in fact, I didn’t even I was playing her until I got on set!
Barriss was trained by Jedi Master, Luminara Unduli. What is your opinion on Luminara?
I respect Luminara so much. As Barriss’s master, she was so integral in Barriss’s transition. She is respectful, loyal, incredibly fierce and a true Jedi.
How long did it take to do your costumes and make-up during the filming process?
Makeup and costume would take 5 to 6 hours.
Was there much interaction between yourself and the directors, if so, what sort of things would you discuss?
To be honest there wasn’t as we didn’t have speaking lines. The most conversation we had was not work related! 🙂
If you could play any other character, who would it be and why?
I would play Catherine, Rene Russo’s character in the remake of Thomas Crown Affair. Loved her zest her passion her investigate prowess and how well she played her character.
Who are some of your favourite characters from the franchise and why?
Vader – fascinated with his power and his mysteriousness
What does Star Wars mean to you?
Power, space, a vision, a changed world. It represents so much and its impact is never-ending. I haven’t seen a movie like that since and I wonder if we ever will.
Barriss had a conflicted mind with regards to the Jedi and during the Clone Wars animated series ended up turning on the Jedi. What are your thoughts on her turning to the dark side?
“I’ve learned that ‘trust’ is overrated. The only thing the Jedi Council believes in is violence!”―Barriss Offee, expressing her views.
I don’t agree that her character would have betrayed the order. I don’t think it was in her DNA to do this. I wasn’t a fan of the turn from good to evil so quickly and betraying Ashoka like that. Its disappointing and I think a lot of fans felt the same. It was more shocking than anything else. No one was expecting that to happen.
How did it feel the first time you wielded your lightsaber?
It felt heavy! Ha. It felt unnatural at first then just became more natural as we learnt different sequences.
You attend a lot of comic conventions, how does it feel interacting with the Star Wars community?
I love it – to see so many fans and how star wars have shaped them.
What are some of your highlights filming Star Wars?
The fight scenes will always be my favourite. You can’t beat an awesome lightsaber sequence!
A massive thank you to Nalini for providing me with these responses, and may the force be with you all!