J.J. Abrams (director)
Coming on board:
"This is a project that I felt incredibly lucky to be asked to be a part of. I think I speak for all of us, except for maybe Harrison, when I say this was not a job," he says before laughing. "I’m kidding, Harrison was unbelievable. But the process of this movie – to a person on the crew, to a person on the cast – this was not a job. This was nothing that I think any one of us took on because it was a gig that was available. It was something that felt like a true passion."
The guiding principle:
"At the very beginning, it was about knowing why we were telling this story, and it was to give people that sense of possibility and magic that we all felt when we first saw the original Star Wars movies," he explains. "It’s not a nostalgia trip. We had to go backwards in order to go forwards."
His worst day at work:
"The scariest day, for me, was when Harrison Ford was injured, which is just absolutely hideous," Abrams remembers. "But every day felt like there were challenges, because I knew how important this was to so many people. That was never a presence that went away."
"It’s always nice to anticipate working on something that you know people will have an appetite for. This is not a crap shoot. This is a big casino, and it’s fun to play with these toys again," Ford says of returning to the franchise. "It seemed easy to come back to the character. Clothes make the man. I’ve walked more than a mile in those boots. I was interested in the described path of the character. I thought there was an interesting bit of business for the character to do."
Helping the kids:
"I’m not going to tell them how to navigate this very personal space of trying to figure out the careers that they’ve chosen for themselves," Ford says of John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac. "It’s bizarrely individual how you navigate the space between where they’re at now and the rest of your useful professional life. But they’re in for a big ride, and they know it, I think. I hope they know it."
Tough crowd at home:
"My kids do not think I’m cool at all," Ford says with a laugh. "Being in this movie is not going to convince them otherwise. They’re just glad to see that Dad is still working."
Ignoring the haters:
"I’ve got to be honest, I really don’t care about the black Stormtrooper stuff. I couldn’t care less," Boyega says of the online uproar over his character reveal. "This is a movie about human beings, about Wookiees, spaceships and TIE fighters, and it has an undertone and a message of courage, and a message of friendship and loyalty, and I think that is something that is ultimately important."
Fanboy at heart:
"It was amazing for me to read the whole script and to find out all the things that Finn has to do," he says. "It was like, did J.J. know what kind of fan I was when it came to Star Wars and write this role for me? Because I get to wear a Stormtrooper suit, a rebel jacket, I have a blaster, I use a light saber, I hang out with fricking Han Solo and Chewie — it’s just fantastic."
Finn's mysterious origins:
"I didn’t know much going in, because of the spoilers and all that kind of stuff, but I do remember during my time screen-testing, I was like to Daisy, 'There’s no way that our stories are so simple,'" Boyega says. "And we still don’t know. I’ve still got some conspiracy theories as a fan, as to where Finn comes from. I’m still trying to figure that out. But I like that it’s a mystery."
Biggest fears going into the new movie:
"Bad memory. Not remembering my lines. That was scary," the outspoken Fisher says. "I’m the custodian of Princess Leia, so I never got out of character, and I wondered if that would be noticed. No, I was very nervous. It’s been 40 years. It’s been a long time. I don’t like looking at myself at this age in a large way, so that was scary, and remains so."
On being the fastest to set:
"How long did it take to get into costume? About 10 minutes. I’m older, I do it faster," she says with a laugh. "No, really, 20 minutes. I have a kind of classy gas station attendant look [in this movie]. Or I would say I was an airplane repair mechanic, with a nice vest over that. And different hair than most airplane mechanics would normally have."
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter:@nedrick