I had a next door neighbor who at the time was a sound engineer for Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen. I used to help him out and saw his C.V/resume one day, which included his previous work for such bands as Thin Lizzy, Genesis and The Bee Gees and also some film work. It was him who got me hooked up with his agent.
You were featured in Revenge of the Sith. How did you get cast for these movies?
Possibly the right place at the right time? I was at Shepperton Studios meeting a friend Christian Simpson who was down to stand-in for Hayden Christensen when Rick McCallum and a couple of other guys went past us. We thought that was odd as we were expecting the shoots to be at Elstree Studios. After walking around we got invited into the props room and had all the principal actors lightsabers in our hands after the locked flight case was opened. It had all the actors’ names on each saber with a little yellow post-it note. Eventually I bumped into Sue Wood the Assistant Director who knew me from previous work and I asked if there was a possibility. Later that day I got a call from my agent but I don’t know if it was bumping into Sue or just fate.
In Revenge of the Sith you played Cellheim Anujo. Can you share some memories regarding the filming of this movie?
Strongest memory has to be after we did the first take George Lucas was talking to his First Assistant Director about the set-up, he then left and George came over to me. He told me what we were going to do for the next set up and that the shot would be starting on me! That’s quite a feeling when you’ve grown up playing with the little action figures then you’ve got the Director of this telling you they’re going to start the shot on you! Unfortunately they didn’t use that take for the final cut, but I guess it’ll be at the Ranch in storage so fingers crossed for a Directors Cut!
The inevitable question: you were directed by the creator George Lucas. How is he to work with?
Very friendly, relaxed and easy going. You can get a lot of directors who don’t always address you directly and sometimes just pass instructions down through their Assistants but Mr. Lucas was very hands on apparently he even signed an Attack of the Clones DVD for someone during the filming.
There must have happened strange, funny or remarkable things when filming. Can you tell something about these moments?
Nothing particularly funny or strange I can think of during my takes I’m afraid but with so many people made up as Aliens we were getting really hot. It wasn’t just the studio lighting, but the rubber prosthetics and full-on masks. They couldn’t easily be removed and people were getting fed water through a straw. However, I was quiet fortunate in that in between takes my costume head was large and easily removed.. although made of cloth it’s comparable to removing a large, loose astronauts helmets. Although the sheer weight of the fabrics of my costume alone still kept me pretty hot.
You were young when the first Star Wars movie was released. I bet you had the toys as a kid?
I did collect the figures and the space ships. My Dad was notoriously careful with money. I always wanted the Millennium Falcon (instead he bought me Slave I.) Then I wanted the AT-AT (instead I got the Scout Walker.)
Over the years you have attended various conventions where you had the chance to meet the fans. What do you think of these events and how is it to meet all those fans who want you to sign photos, posters etcetera?
I love attending conventions. I’ve been to some of the most fascinating places in the world and met some of the nicest people. There’s even a guy working on a Cellheim Anujo costume!
Regarding the future: what are your goals and dreams? And what are you up to right now? Do you have new projects coming up?
I’m a bit in limbo right now I have my Visa to work in the U.S and just got my Screen Actors Guild eligibility but with some ties in the UK I’m not sure what’s happening at the moment. I haven’t worked on a Horror yet and it looks like there’s something on the horizon later this year. Keep your eye on www.DeanMitchell.net.
Being a Star Trek fan too I’d gladly be a Red Shirt in the next movie!
Please finish the following sentence: When I look back at my work on Star Wars…
I can’t frankly believe I got to be a part of something I wanted to be in as a child.