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Star Wars Episode III - Ian McDarmid interview



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. For me, your character becomes almost satanic in this movie. How did you decide to let him grow into this hideously evil monster, because you've done four films now, is that right?
A.
I'm in five, actually, having recently been digitally inserted into The Empire Strikes Back. But it's interesting, especially in the prequels, and for those who didn't see Return of the Jedi, because I just play a straight-forward politician - now there's a contradiction in terms! Charming, smiling, out for the good of the world, the universe, the community. Underneath that there lurks a monster, so it was very easy to build the character, I just looked at the newspapers.

Q. And make-up, does that help?
A.
It always helps! Do you like our make-up this morning [laughs]? It certainly helps to be a monster in monster's make-up. But George was very interesting when we started The Phantom Menace. He said 'you should think of your eyes as his contact lenses', which is a great thing to say to an actor.
So my face was actually his mask and then when I put on the mask I become him, etc, etc. So that kind of schizophrenia was always fun to play, and in this film it's great because one explodes through the other and now he is who he is. Worse than the devil, I think really, and certainly worse than Darth Vader who, in this movie, comes across as more sympathetic than people might have imagined.

Q. What was the best bit about being bad, because he is the baddest of the bad?
A. Yeah he is. The darkest of the dark, the blackest of the black, worse than Satan. Well, it's fun. I mean, you're not going to get a part like that every day. I like the fact that he doesn't really have any psychological workings. He was spawned in hell, I think really, as the Siths are apparently. He can't get better, except you see in the movie he goes to the opera, so his one redeemable feature is that he is a patron of the arts!

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