Convention veteran and pop-culture jack of all trades, Alan Tudyk, most recently of ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, says he looks forward to conventions as a great way to connect with fans in a formalised setting.
“When you do a convention you actually get to sit and meet people and sign whatever they want signed and say hello and hear their stories,” Alan says, who will be appearing at both Melbourne and Gold Coast Supanova events this April.
“They’re the only place I’ve ever found that.”
Conventions are nothing new to Alan. He writes and stars in the web series ‘Con Man’, a satirical look at the convention circuit loosely based around his own experiences after appearing in the cult favourite sci-fi series ‘Firefly’ in the early 2000s.
At times 'Con Man' appears to mock convention culture, but Alan says it’s all in good fun and fans understand that. “The majority of people that I’ve met have understood that all the negatives were meant to reflect on my character of Wray, that if he was ever rude then it would always come back on him ten-fold.”
In ‘Firefly’, Alan played the larrikin pilot Hoban Washburne or ‘Wash’ and says it’s still the role he gets asked about most. “'Rogue One' is a close second but 'Fire Fly' just has a heart to it that people respond to.”
Alan feels that one reason ‘Firefly’ still resonates well is the writing of Joss Whedon as well as the casting. “You couldn’t have found a better Book, you couldn’t have found a better Jane, Mal, right down the line.”
While he has played many roles over the years, it is sci-fi that has gained Alan the most acclaim.
The actor played K-2SO, the lovable turncoat (although via programming rather than moral change) droid in Gareth Edwards' 2016 'Star Wars' film, a character that has been labelled one of the best comic-relief characters the franchise has ever produced.
Much of this can be attributed to Alan himself, who says that “a very high percentage of the things that K-2SO says are just things I said, which is really satisfying as an actor”.
‘Rogue One’ wasn’t the first time Alan played a robot. He was famously Sonny, the robot in the 2005 film ‘I, Robot’ starring alongside Will Smith. When asked to compare the roles, Alan says “technology has come a long way” since the days of frame-by-frame rendering.
In ‘Rogue One’, the technology used to depict K-2SO is a little more modern and the actor says the equipment used helped him feel different from the other characters and to channel the idea of being a droid.
“Being on the stilts was a lot of help, because immediately I was seven-foot-one towering over everyone. And I was wearing what Diego Luna called ‘those ridiculous pyjamas’ so I also looked different from everyone. That did a lot of it, as far as the physicality of the character.
“You don’t have to spend too much time imagining.”