In the Toolkit Podcast, Tony and John Gilroy share how the Scottish Fog and a different opening changed the course of their Star Wars series.
Tony Gilroy has spoken at length about how tight the scripts for Andor were and needed to be. But it’s tight and there’s absolutely no extra footage, making the challenge of bringing the show together in the edit to a matter of adjusting the smallest of details and focal points. Two of the three Gilroy brothers, creator Tony and editor John, joined the Filmmaker Toolkit podcast to discuss how each storytelling block can be pieced together by “Andor” brick by Ferrix brick.
“We reshot a few things – maybe three scenes or something, because we thought we could do them better,” said Toni Gilroy. “We had a better idea and got the opportunity. [But] We have no deleted scenes. There would be no DVD extras on our plate. Zero. It’s really weird. Very strange [and] very surprising for us.”
In fact, according to the Gilroy brothers, there weren’t even that many examples of locations where scenes moved or episode structure was adjusted in editing. A notable exception to the ironclad rigor of the “Andor” scripts occurred in episode 6, “The Eye,” when the Scottish countryside – as stubborn as the Dani Pilgrims – turned out to see the incredible meteor shower , serving as cover for a rebel raid on the nearby Imperial base – held its own.
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“The original tip of [Episode 6] was the speech by Beehaz (Stanley Townsend), right? It’s going to be a very bravura thing and we’re going to introduce him. It just always felt right,” Gilroy said. The scene portrays the Imperials on Aldhani as arrogant and oppressive towards the indigenous people, and dismisses any concerns the audience might have about the rebel cell holding space AKs to the officers’ heads. “[But] When we were shooting it we had so much weather shit in Scotland that the opening scene – the scene where they’re having coffee and where Nemik (Alex Lawther) comes to Andor (Diego Luna) and says, ‘I couldn’t sleep,’ — [that almost wasn’t shot]. It was such a disaster. It wasn’t supposed to be in the fog, it was supposed to be all these other things, but everyone turned around quickly and we embraced the Kurosawa look.”
“Because it’s so foggy and drifty and because it’s so weird and kind of otherworldly and dreamy, you couldn’t put it after [Beehaz] Series. It just didn’t feel like it felt in the script. It felt more dreamy – and I don’t know whose idea [it was to] Put that on top and see how it works, but suddenly you’re like, “Yes, that’s the protein!” This is where we want to be.”
Changing the opening order helps the sequence focus on who it needs to do – Nemik and Andor – and justifies the entire episode not with the goal of the heist itself, but with what it means for Cassian. He comforts the nervous Nemik beforehand, and that sense of caring amplifies the emotional impact of Nemik’s death – a blow Cassian still feels even after he cuts his share of the stolen Imperial payroll and runs away at the end of the episode. Starting with Nemik doesn’t necessarily put him at the center of the heist, but it does increase the life and death stakes of the storyline. That one choice gives Nemik a voice that literally and figuratively resonates through the end of the season, becoming the conscience that drives Cassian forward.
That such a small change can cause so much emotional damage to Cassian Andor (and the audience) is a testament to the dialed-in nature of season one. The “Rix Road” finale consists of many montages of all characters colliding in the same place at the same time. But the foundations were laid right from the start, because “Andor” initially tailors itself around the characters in the script and editing. Once that’s done, Tony Gilroy and his team look at the world of the show and the details that illustrate the strong cultural underpinnings of its locations.
“Let’s have some company here. Let’s stratify it! So [in Ferrix] They’ve got buyers and pickers and shopkeepers and grapplers and those gloves on the wall. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, all the gloves they have and before they go [out of the] Union hall every morning and where you hang your glove, is that where your father or mother hung their gloves? Or is it a status thing? And these gloves mean so much to me and it’s just one shot in the show,” said Tony Gilroy. “But we didn’t go beyond that. There aren’t a lot of glove shots on the floor, but those are the entry points, the kind of obsessive madness we’re trying to just infect all 700 people who work at Pinewood Studios with, and everyone knows they’re rewarded around to go deep.”
The Filmmaker Toolkit podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast and Stitcher. The music used in this podcast is from the score Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, courtesy of composer Nathan Halpern.
https://www.indiewire.com/2022/12/andor-interview-tony-gilroy-john-gilroy-1234785978/ ‘Andor’: Interview with Tony Gilroy & John Gilroy — Adaptation of Sparks Rebel