Andy Serkis tells Chris Evans about 'human, gritty' new Star Wars series Andor

Virgin Radio

8 Nov 2022, 10:43

Chris Evans and Andy Serkis at Virgin Radio

Acclaimed actor, producer and director Andy Serkis joined The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about starring as Kino Loy in Star Wars: Andor. 

The show is a prequel to 2016 Star Wars spin-off film Rogue One, and follows thief-turned-Rebel spy Cassian Andor in the five years leading up to the events of the film.

Having previously appeared in Star Wars films The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017) as Supreme Leader Snoke, Andy now plays Kino Loy. He told Chris: “This is now a TV series, and I come back as a different character, Kino Loy, who is a floor manager of a prison ship, making parts for some of the various activities that the Empire’s getting on with.”

Alongside Andy, the series also stars Diego Kuna, Fiona Shaw and Stellan Skarsgard. It was created by Tony Gilroy (the Jason Bourne trilogy and Rogue One). “The great thing about Andor is it's very grounded and it feels very real, and it’s human,” Andy said. “In terms of the Star Wars oeuvre, it’s sort of the most gritty, I suppose, and human, yeah.”

He added: “It’s a little bit away from the operatic side of Star Wars, the dark and the light and the very strong mythic, that side. And as I say, it feels more human, gritty, real emotions.

“It’s kind of got a spy thriller aspect to it, but also, you can connect with it on a much more human level.”

Regarding working on the show’s impressive sets for the Imperial factory facility, the star actor said: “I’ve done other prison dramas, but this was one of the most disturbing, in the sense that the prison wasn’t dirty, filthy bars. It’s white, it’s open, it’s pristine, it’s metal, it’s so desensitising. All the prisoners have to walk around barefooted on metal floors… their punishment is electrification, and the reward is food that comes in a tube. So it was really oppressive, and we were stuck on these sets for… I mean, they are big sequences, and these walkways which are like, kind of test tubes. What I’m saying is, it was quite uncomfortable to shoot!”

On working on a massive sci-fi franchise such as Star Wars, Andy said: “All of the big mythic stories that are being told, people are really loving at the moment, and that goes into all the TV shows as well, because they want stories that are relevant, that feel like they are connected to the world we live in in some way, that say something about the human condition, who we are, who we’ve always been and are likely to be in the future, you know, people are people, but they are sort of allegorical, they sort of feel very contemporary. I mean, this Andor story feels very, very contemporary, with a kind of totalitarian state that’s dominating the world.”

Andy is known for his motion capture and computer-generated characters, such as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, King Kong, and Caesar in the Planet of the Apes reboot. He explained: “I suppose I’ve championed, and been really vocal, and sought out further roles using performance capture technology, because I really think it’s the most brilliant 21st Century tool for an actor.

“I love the art of transformation. When you think about it, it means that any actor, not matter the colour of their skin, shape, size, sex, whatever, any actor can play anything, and that as a concept I think is incredible.”

As well as starring in Andor, Andy is an executive producer on the fantasy drama series The B*st*rd Son & The Devil Himself, which is currently the number four most watched series on Netflix across the world. He told Chris: “It’s about witches, but it’s sort of like an x-rated Harry Potter." 

He added: “A young adult audience is loving it, but it’s more than just a YA audience. Everyone is loving it. It’s top ten all over the world and it’s really being adored, and hopefully it’s going to go to a second series now.”

Star Wars: Andor airs on Disney Plus.

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or  catch up on-demand here.