The biggest Star Wars success of 2019 was The Mandalorian, the hit TV-series on Disney+. In three episodes Spanish-British actor Bernard Bullen starred as the father of Din Djarin (the Mandalorian) and a couple of weeks after the final episode of season one he did the following interview for this website.
How did you get started in the acting business?
I started doing commercials and modeling when I was very young but I remember it was being involved in theater plays in school and stuff. When they realized that something was missing, and I started an improv class in an acting school here in Spain. That was in 2000. In 2001, when I was in my first year of acting class, I auditioned for a classical theater company and I got in. That’s when it all started.
How did you get cast for The Mandalorian as the father of Din Djarin?
In November 2018, my manager in Los Angeles called me and said that they were interested in me for a role in a huge Disney production. My dramatic reel was sent and I went through selection stages. In January 2019 this year is when I got the final call and I was told that they wanted me. But until then I didn’t even know which project it was as it was very secretive. When I found out that he was for the first ever live TV action Star Wars show, imagine my reaction! It was to be the father of the Mandalorian. The craziest thing of this is that I never auditioned. Seems like casting had been looking at my work recently. Anyhow I was blessed!
Do you know the first name of your character?
I only just found out about the name of the Mandalorian in episode eight like everyone else, as we didn’t know. Who knows maybe we will know the fathers name later in the show.
Did Jon Favreau tell you anything about your characters background?
I only met Jon Favreau once on the set, I remember he was there. We filmed our scenes for some days. I remember saying hello to him, not even knowing who he was at first. Then I realized, and I was like oh my God! I remember Taika Waititi did tell us a few things but even in that moment when we were filming, we didn’t have much information, just the necessary if you know what I mean. I think I know very well what they are doing in terms of backgrounds and showing info because some characters are still developing.
How did the shooting of your scenes go?
It was incredible, what can I say. When I got to the side and saw how they have built streets and buildings and the whole area and all of our hometown! It was huge. It was physically very challenging, because I had to be carrying a child, Aiden, out for 14 hours every day and running. Everything with a very strong dramatic intensity. We had to have a lot of energy and emotional reserves. Just looking at the set and we were part of it. It made me personally be the strongest man in the world! (Laughs)
Did any weird or funny things happen on or off the set?
Well as a funny thing looking at it now and we did laugh afterwards… There is a shot where you can see when we are running and a huge wall next to ours explodes and one of the droids comes through killing everyone. Well, I remember a lady told us that explosion, which was a real, had to happen and was going to only be done in one take. They told us about it just before start filming to the three of us. They wanted us with real reactions and emotions and really scared, and oh boy they had it. We freaked out! (Laughs)
Your scenes are in Episodes 1, 3 and 8. These episodes were directed by Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow and Taika Waititi. Which director directed your scenes?
It was Taika Waititi who directed our scenes the days we were filming. But it’s been amazing that they were also included in the first and third episode to tease the audience about the background of the Mandalorian with the flashbacks and then get to the final episode and unveil everything. Working with I him was absolutely amazing, he made it so special and so much fun. Actually, he is very funny and has a very special vision of things. He’s so easy to work with.
George Lucas appeared on the set. Did you get to meet him or any other notables of the cast and crew?
I never saw George Lucas or had a chance to meet him there. I think I was lucky to meet Jon. I don’t think any of them was there all the time during the filming or every day, but just for moments depending on the scenes filmed. But it would have been amazing to meet George of course imagine!
Were you a Star Wars fan before you got cast? When did you see the movies for the first time?
Well, who wasn’t or who isn’t? But yes, I have been a Star Wars fan since I can remember. I am from the generation of the first three films, especially Return of the Jedi. I still keep all the figurines and toys of the old Star Wars films. You name it I have it. Of course, I was very excited about the new films when they started but I’ve liked especially the last ones. I think the last two are the best. I just saw The Rise of Skywalker and it’s brilliant.
What is the best memory you have regarding The Mandalorian?
Every time I see the episodes with our flashbacks so many memories come to my head and I get emotional. I think the best memory was just being there, I have to say working with Aiden, that little boy which I’m just telling you he’s going to be a star. It was amazing. We did create a special bond as we were for so many hours together and so close. Also, the whole crew and team, it was so nice and everyone was involved 1000% in the project and that you could feel. I think the best memory was when I was doing the wardrobe rehearsals and I got to try on that amazing red cloak I was wearing. It was just so Star Wars you know what I mean?
What do you think of the show? I assume you have seen all the episodes?
Yes, I have seen all eight episodes, even the ones I haven’t been in (laughs). I think it’s an amazing show. And the best thing is that even if you weren’t a Star Wars fan and you have no idea of what was going on now you can get hooked on it because it’s new characters, new things happening in the Star Wars universe. And I think that is what has made the audience grow even bigger. Of course, having a little baby Yoda is helping a lot. What’s also original is not seeing the lead roles face at any moment.
What are your next projects? Is there anything coming up that should not be missed?
Right now, I am in Europe and I am staying here for some time I have a project for the new year, a historical TV show about the holy wars in Europe. It’s amazing and I wanted to be in a show like that. But I will still have to go back to Los Angeles for work. I have a thriller/horror film called The Uncanny, directed by the Vang brothers, coming up later in 2020. Very excited about that too.
Is there any chance we will see you next fall in the second season of The Mandalorian?
I am hoping you will. We all are. At this point we don’t know and we haven’t been reached out about it yet, but they have just started filming season two so who knows, they are filming and writing scripts so let’s hope the Star Wars universe still wants to know about the parents or about me, the father. I think there is quite a lot story there unfold. Don’t you think? (Laughs)