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Diego Luna gets to the heart of Star Wars’ Andor

Diego Luna is having a Hollywood fatherhood moment. The star of “Andor,” a new Star Wars series on Disney+, has been molded into an action figure.

Feel his pain.

“I’m afraid my daughter will do voodoo on me,” the 42-year-old Mexican actor says. “My son, who is 14, already uses the thing to play me. He hides the action figure in different places in the house.

“If you think it’s normal to have a toy that actually looks like you, then you should go to a shrink,” Luna adds in a Zoom call from his Los Angeles home.

Those are the perks of orbiting in the Star Wars universe. “Andor,” a prequel of 2016’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” debuts Sept. 21 with an epic 24-episode season. Luna plays the lead character, Cassian Andor, a man whose path is filled with danger but is destined to transform him into a rebel hero. The series also stars Stellan Skarsgård and Fiona Shaw.

Luna also starred in the series “Narcos: Mexico” and films including “Y Tu Mamá También” and “The Book of Life.” He also played Katy Perry’s boyfriend in the 2011 track “The One That Got Away,” which has been viewed over 700 million times.

The actor was raised in Mexico City by his Mexican father, a set designer, after his British mother, a costume designer, was killed in a car crash when Luna was 2. Today, he splits his time between Mexico and Los Angeles.

Review-Journal: Your role as rebel spy Cassian Andor in “Rouge One” made you the first Mexican actor with a major role in the franchise. Was that a triumph?

Diego Luna: You can’t beat the phenomenon of Star Wars, which is what made this so important. The industry is finally reflecting the world we live in now. It’s happening. Representation matters. And I didn’t have to learn a different accent for this role. They would have had to get another actor if they wanted me to get rid of my accent. It’s my first language. I cannot take it away. And there’s 13 percent of the people in this country who speak Spanish. The accent is just a baby step.

How did it feel to step back into the role of Cassian Andor?

This character always haunted me. When we first met him, he was very young and fighting. Why would anyone fight at that young age? It was a question that needed an answer. Also, just the chance to be back working with this Star Wars family felt great. And it’s amazing to be back because “Rogue One” is a film about an event — you don’t get to know everything about these characters, such as where they come from or how they feel. Cassian has a dark past, which gives us a lot of material to play. To me, it’s relevant to dig deeper and show what happens before a revolutionary comes to life. What gives meaning to his life is sacrificing for a cause. I was really excited to go on this journey and find the answers.

What is at the heart of this character?

Cassian brings a pain that makes him very cynical about life. He starts believing in a better world and then articulating and then bringing change. That’s a story I like to tell my kids. It feels so real. It doesn’t matter if we’re in a galaxy far, far away or we’re around the corner, there is always a journey to travel to find a better life.

What was the standout moment from your 24 episodes of this series?

I’m going to say the first or second day when I arrived at Pinewood Studios in London. I went to join the stunt trainers to practice climbing, rolling and falling. The first time I played Cassian for the movie, I was 10 years younger. The morning after I did my first training session for the series, every single part of my body ached. I thought, “I’m going to have to quit. I don’t know if I can physically do this. I have so many pains, I can’t get up!” But I did get up, and we filmed 24 episodes.

How can this stand out from other Star Wars shows?

It’s also a very dark time in the galaxy. No Jedis are around. It’s the most grounded Star Wars you’ll get. It’s about people finding the strength to come up with a reaction and bring change to their reality.

You lost your mother at such a young age. What was the lasting impacting on you?

I just remember her energy, which was extraordinary. She loved working in the theater and would bring me with her backstage. Maybe it’s why I gravitated toward a career in theater early on. I’d go backstage and feel the warmth of my mother envelope me.

What is a great Sunday for you?

If I’m somewhere near the ocean, I like to look at the water with my kids. When I lived in L.A., I made Sunday an open lunch at my house. People would just arrive with food and stay late. It was great. Dinner should be around a big table with loved ones and friends. The table is the place where you share food and meaningful conversation. It’s a way once a week to really catch up and say something meaningful or figure it all out.

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