Frank Oz Talks CGI Yoda[Wednesday, June 5th, 2002]
Frank Oz recently spoke with EW about the CGI Yoda in Episode II:
In order to make him look the way we remembered him, they imitated your mistakes, right?
They had to -- the puppet is limited. It's a very difficult thing to do. For instance, the ears move a little too much as he talks. I tried to stop that when I performed it because I had no control over it. They actually put it in there again to make it look like Yoda.
Audiences go insane when Yoda fights -- have you had opportunity to see that happen?
Yeah, they go nuts. [laughs] When we did the looping, George said that when Yoda appears and says, ''Count Dooku,'' he wanted him to say it like John Wayne. It was great how he showed Yoda coming in by showing a shadow, and the shadow gets huge applause. He wanted a John Wayne showdown on a Western street. And he took a big chance with that because there's great affection towards Yoda. It could've failed -- but it didn't.
Did you have to change your conception of the character to imagine him riding around and commanding troops?
No, because in my mind Yoda can do anything. As a puppet I can't do everything. But I did enough to make it believable.
Had you already imagined this past for him as a great warrior?
When I did ''The Empire Strikes Back,'' I had written four pages of history for him. I wrote down what he ate, how he grew up, where he lived, how he spoke. I had a whole history of Yoda which I've never showed anyone, so I could be comfortable with who that character was when it came to working it.
And how did he grow up, exactly?
I think he grew up in a more formal time. It's not unlike today when you look at old photographs and you see people in top hats, or you see people in formal attire. To a degree, Yoda grew up in the equivalent of top hats or fedoras. I think his twisting of the language comes from the time when he lived; he grew up to speak like that. There's a presence and a stature and a dignity that's very Old World in Yoda.
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