Angus Wright Interview – Kado Oquoné

Kado Oquoné was a human male who served as a captain in the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. During the Battle of Scarif, Oquoné was in command of the Sphyrna-class corvette Lightmaker.

After his ship was damaged he took it away from the line of fire to guard the line of retreat. Late in the battle, Admiral Raddus ordered Oquoné to ram his corvette into the side of a disabled Star Destroyer, causing it to crash into the second Star Destroyer and then into the Shield Gate protecting Scarif. This disabled the Gate and allowed the Rebels on Scarif to transmit the Death Star plans to Raddus. The Lightmaker, along with its skeleton crew was destroyed in the crash. Oquoné’s actions resulted in the capture of the Death Star plans by the Rebels, which were later used to exploit a weakness in the battle station and destroy it during the Battle of Yavin.

Corvette Five locked on target. Prepare for impact.―Captain Kado Oquoné to his crew

How did you get the role of Kado Oquoné?

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My agent contacted me to say I had a meeting for something called The Gareth Edwards Project. All very secret. I discovered it was a Star Wars movie at the meeting when I signed the NDA but had no idea who the character was as it was simply described (on the single page of dialogue I prepared) as Hammerhead Captain. I was put on tape by a casting director (I think with two other actors that day, one male and one female, up for the same role) and then a few days later was told I had the part.

How does working on Star Wars compare to other projects you’ve worked on?

It was unusual in that it all happened very quickly. I auditioned, was told I had the part, went for a costume fitting a couple of days later and shot the scene a week after that. On set it was also unusual in that Gareth Edwards’ version of the movie had already been completed (and was apparently somewhat chaotic) so the feeling on set was slightly different to a normal shoot. It was now being directed by Tony Gilroy who was reshooting and restructuring the entire film.

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Can you describe your time filming scenes?

I found Tony Gilroy excellent. Very engaged and very hands on. He’s a highly rated screenwriter so he was also very fluid with what my character might say and suggested numerous options. I enjoyed my time on set. I was intrigued by the blank view through the cockpit window of the Hammerhead Corvette which would then obviously be CGI’d later. There was a fair amount of physical acting required alongside the shouted commands as we had to simulate acceleration and turbulence and vibrations and collision and being thrown about.

What was the costume like to wear, I’ve always admired it?

If I’m honest I was hoping I wouldn’t have to wear the helmet as I thought I looked cooler without it, but the jacket was fantastic. I didn’t actually know whose side my character was on and if I was a good guy or a bad guy until I put on the jacket at the costume fitting and saw the Rebel markings.

What are some of your fondest memories from your time in Star Wars?

Being taken into the trailer that had been converted into an extraordinary photo booth where they took a 3D render was pretty cool. About 100 cameras surround you, front, behind and overhead, mounted on a rig. You stand in the centre, on the foot markings, arms slightly away from your body and then staying very still (like a dentist’s Xray) they fire every camera at the same moment in a blinding flash. From that image they can then build a computerised 3D model and then cast your Star Wars character figure.

What does Star Wars mean to you?

I am old enough to have seen the first Star Wars in the cinema in 1978, when I was 13. The later ones I didn’t really get into so much but it’s been on my radar for a long time. I remember being on a film set some years ago with the author Salman Rushdie and he was talking about Star Wars. I thought he wouldn’t be interested in such things but he was fascinating about the opening crawl that starts ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far far away’ and how unusual it is for a science fiction space story to be set a long time ago, ie: in the past.

Who are some of your favourite characters from the franchise and why?

I’ve always admired Harrison Ford and being a teenager in the late 70’s to early 80’s he was a bit of a hero. Han Solo, Indiana Jones and he also had a part in one of the finest movies of all time, Apocalypse Now. I also thought Princess Leia was pretty cool – Carrie Fisher gave the part a real strength and wit that fought through the stereotype of princess in distress being saved by the men.

What are some of your favourite moments from the Star Wars movies and why?

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I think the CP30 – R2D2 exchanges in the original Star Wars are actually very funny – and of course that famously exciting moment in Rogue One where Kado Oquoné bravely rams his Hammerhead corvette into an Imperial ship to save the galaxy.

How would you describe your Rogue One Experience?

My Rogue One experience was brief but excellent. I enjoyed watching the movie itself, particularly the fact that all the main characters died. Being a stand alone movie, in that sense it could be less ‘Hollywood’ and so a darker story. It has also introduced me to a quite a number of fans who are impressively knowledgeable about every aspect of the Star Wars franchise.

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