Inside “The Book of Boba Fett” with Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen

Temuera is 60 years old. Ming-Na Wen has a age of 58. They are not yet at the age of many actors being asked to play action heroes. They are both on however. The Book of Boba Fett, her chasing assassins across rooftops in last week’s series premiere, and him robbing a train in this week’s episode. Nice work if you can get it — and if you can do it as well as these two can.

Morrison and Wen spoke Tuesday night with Rolling Stone about how lucky they both feel to be part of the show, about Morrison’s memories of playing Boba’s father Jango two decades ago in Attack of the Clones, why either Boba or Wen’s Fennec Shand wants the hassle of running Jabba the Hutt’s old criminal syndicate, and more.

This interview was edited to make it more concise. It’s not necessary to reduce the volume, as Temuera is just too talkative.

Temuera, apart from the passing of time, how would your performance in Boba be different to what you did as Jango back during the prequels.

Morrison:
Well, as Jango, I didn’t know what I was doing. This was shot in Sydney, 2000. I just remember having so much fun, and I was shooting another kind of Australian low-budget detective story at the same time, so I couldn’t change certain things. I had still scenes to shoot so I decided to pop over to Star Wars for some scenes. Then I would go back to my other project, which was Rebecca Gibney. Ihaka. There was just things like my hair, for example, and I had too many curls — Jango looked too soft. I wanted to be better and so this was my chance to do Boba Fett, the role of the son. I think I used to kill George Lucas, because he’d be trying to shoot a scene, and I’m out there and it’s raining and someone’s got an umbrella. So I begin singing that song. [doing his best Gene Kelly] “I’m singin’ in the rain, I’m singin’ in the rain, and having a wonderful time on the set of Star Wars!”I think they were all crazy. George was also very kind to me. ‘OK, Tem, stop singing now, I’d like to do a mid-shot or a close-up.’ I think with Boba, he’s got a lot more grit, because he’s got a lot more hurt in him. Just had this strong image of Daniel Logan [as young Boba]Holding [Jango’s] helmet [in Attack of the Clones]. I’m not quite sure where my head is at that stage, but it’s either in the helmet or it’s fallen out of the helmet. But there’s just the strong image where I sort of felt sorry for the kid looking at his father’s helmet like this: [takes off his hat and holds it out like young Boba holding the decapitated Jango’s helmet].

Wen:Then he places his forehead on it.

Morrison:The poor child had to continue living his life without a mama. I didn’t even see an auntie or an uncle around! This little boy was going to have a difficult time. It was going to be difficult for this little boy. [have] a little bit more a bit more of a chip on his shoulder, that he’s had to bring his own self up, and he’s had to learn the hard way by himself — the hard way or the highway — so he’s managed to survive. It was amazing. Back in the year 2000, I didn’t know I was going to be playing Boba Fett back then. I remember going to all these conventions with Jeremy Bullock, who played the actual, real Boba Fett, and there’s Daniel Logan, who played the young Boba Fett. I signed everything. ‘Jango Fett,’It still amazes and astonishes me that I can sign autographs. ‘Boba Fett.’But I wanted to do an excellent job. I wanted to fix up some of the things I didn’t take too seriously with Jango Fett and create a dynamic, mysterious character.

Both of your careers are at a stage where it’s rare to have the chance to show off your skills on the big screen. Yet, Robert Rodriguez invited you to both play these action-heroes and take part in fight scenes. How was that for you? 

Wen:
Oh, we’re just getting started!  Right, Tem?

Morrison: You know how you look at some fruit or some food at the supermarket and it’s got a “use by”What is the date? That was my career. It was a blessing that someone attended a meeting with me and said, “Well, Boba’s gotta look like Jango. He’s a cloned son!” Thank Christ I played the father, that’s all I want to say. Yeah, it’s been great.

Wen:Tem and myself both have come from that same old school in a certain way. It’s a good thing because we work hard. We are aware that we share this responsibility with Jon. [Favreau]To the Star WarsFans, Dave [Filoni]Robert and I will bring our A-game. [Tem]It was almost like training on set. I’m training with my trainer all the time, and we’re showing that there’s no expiration date.

Temuera Morrison is Boba Fett in Lucasfilm's THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT, exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

François Duhamel / Lucasfilm Lt

Morrison: Well, the Rock came around, and he was getting all my roles, so I’m glad I was in the ring for this role. Jon Favreau was also there, and I was so excited to be there. I was aware of what they were doing. Mandalorian and all this, and I’m some guy who may be coming in. But I didn’t want to take anything too seriously. And it wasn’t until I went on the meeting and I saw these conceptual drawings and I thought, ‘Bald-headed guy. I mean, that’s me!’ And I buzzed like for two days just from the drawing!

Wen: And I’m just so happy that Boba came back. Boba took good care of Fennec. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have been back. He also hogs all the Bacta tank. Sometimes I have to use it because my muscles get sore.

Morrison:For 20 minutes, hold your breath.

Ming-Na, you’ve said in the past that you did not get into this business intending to do action roles, and yet you keep getting hired for them again and again. This is why you feel you are being called upon so often. Are you just doing a lot? Street Fighter Fans in the business

Wen:
I spent a decade after Street FighterI don’t make action movies. But art can sometimes imitate life, and life sometimes inspires art. And being the nerd that I’ve been, and the geek, this dream of wanting to be in Star WarsIt all began with Marvel. Agents for SHIELD. Now, I’m living the fantasy life I envisioned as a child. It’s pretty spectacular. I think I’ve I’ve gotten the Golden Ticket at this point.

Morrison:We both need to do our jobs. Both of us have to get physically ready. It took 12 hours to film the fight scene, even though it is only 30 seconds long. The heat and the sand. Oh my god, I’m done with sand.

Wen:Jon keeps asking me questions. “When do we get off Tatooine?!?!”

So why does Boba want to stay on Tatooine and run Jabba’s empire? It seems like a hassle to my eyes.
Morrison: That’s a very good question. We’re going to start somewhere, I guess. We’re going to be branching out and looking at other things to do. But yeah, we’ll start small and then we’ll venture out. If you focus on the job, you’d better ask the writer that.

Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) in Lucasfilm's THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT, exclusively on Disney+. © 2021 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

Francois Duhamel / Lucasfilm Ltd

We first saw Fennec in MandalorianShe was an independent person. She seems content to be Boba’s second-in-command, at least for the moment. Do you think it is because he saved his life? Are we to be skeptical about her loyalty to him? 

Wen:
They are bounty hunters and have issues when they need to be partnered up with someone. They’re very much loners. Both of them went through this kind of near-death experience at Tatooine. And I think that that really creates this new vulnerability, this new need that perhaps it’s better to partner up — safety in numbers. Fennec seems smart enough, I believe. Her motto is, “Always find the best deal for yourself,” right? I think she’s seen this as the best deal right now. She believes there could be more options, more comfort and more protection for Boba. And there’s a great deal of respect that she has for him, too. Although their honor codes may not be as strict, they both believe in the same code. They have a great relationship because they understand each other and show respect. To be able to run the syndicate, it’s not going to be easy.

Boba was known for its long history. Star WarsFans refer to him as the man behind the iconic mask. But we have never seen his face. Both of them are now on MandalorianYou have taken the helmet off quite a lot. How does this change the way you see the character?

Wen:
I don’t think we see him enough, personally.

Morrison:It happened by chance. [in The Mandalorian]. I believe I was on the spacecraft and I said: “Well, I’m not flying the thing, I’m not fighting. Can I take my helmet off?”There was some discussion. That’s that scene when I was giving [Wen]All my dialogue was because I wanted to be quiet. Then, [director] Rick [Famuywia] goes, “Yeah, I think it’ll be OK. Take his helmet off.”I would have been disappointed to hear that someone had said it to me. “Leave the helmet on for the whole series.”They said they were thankful to Christ. “Yes, you can take it off for the scene.” So that’s how it started. I’m not lying, they should see my face. You know what? I think it’s funny! [on Mandalorian] they could tell if it wasn’t me. [If it was a stunt person,]Robert Rodriguez would agree. “Oh, I can tell it’s not you if you’re not under that helmet.”My helmet would allow me to see my face! I don’t know how that goes, but if there’s an Oscar for best performance under a helmet, I’m going to win it.

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