Lupita Nyong’o shared a clip, from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens behind the scenes Blu Ray features, which delves into Maz Kanata.
The clip, taken from the behind the scenes features on the upcoming The Force Awakens Blu Ray, featured an in-depth look at how the team at Industrial Light & Magic brought Maz Kanata to life through motion capture.
“Somebody said to me, ‘What’s the magic?’. And to me, the magic is when we were doing Maz. You saw Lupita just make that character come to life,” said Roger Guyett, VFX supervisor on The Force Awakens.
Watch the clip below.
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Some may think, perhaps unconsciously, that motion capture actors and actresses don’t actually do any acting; that they’re there to make the movements needed for the CG character, and that their expressions and tone of voice while doing so don’t add to the result audiences see on-screen. That notion couldn’t be further from the truth. If you watch behind the scenes documentaries of The Lord of the Rings, for which Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke in The Force Awakens) provided the movements and voice of Gollum, you see how the expressions Serkis gives the camera during his performance in his gray motion capture suit are translated into the CG Gollum you see during the actual films. It’s a consummate marriage of actor and technology, one that George Lucas pioneered through Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace.
Sixteen years after Jar Jar, the tradition of motion capture in Star Wars is being continued in Episode VII, and beyond. The technology has naturally improved with the experimentation and the subsequent growth of knowledge, as well as the overwhelmingly successful results of the efforts of the special effects teams behind such films as The Lord of the Rings and the new Planet of the Apes series. Characters can now be, as J.J. Abrams implied, CG in such a way that you hardly even notice it. It’s just another part of the Star Wars universe.
Andy Serkis, having made tremendous in helping to develop motion capture, has taken his skills to Star Wars; but based on the above clip, it’s clear that Lupita Nyong’o is the real motion capture star in The Force Awakens as Maz Kanata.