Today, Disney+ dropped the first episode directed by Deborah Chow and the action-heavy episode certainly makes us understand why Lucasfilm was quick to hire her to direct the Obi-Wan Kenobi series starring Ewan McGregor.
She has been talking with press and some interviews have been released including an insightful one from VanityFair, which has Chow talks about the inspiration for The Sin.
Deborah reveals that her episode took cues from Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (I feel like the Sergio Leone remake A Fistful of Dollars also factors in too) and John Woo’s underrated gun-fu Hong Kong actioner Hard Boiled. The latter had a huge influence on The Wachowskis’ Matrix trilogy.
Chow said the episode takes a lot of inspiration from 1961’s Yojimbo — Akira Kurosawa’s classic about a nameless ronin who finds himself in a town plagued by competing crime lords. She also credits her love of Asian cinema to her late father.
CHOW: “My dad was Chinese, and he was a huge movie fan, when I grew up he was watching Hong Kong action films. So it kind of gets that reference.”
“I tried to bring out a little Hard Boiled with the baby. It was kind of an amazing thing because it was like coming back to classic cinema and filmmaking. So there’s definitely a lot of my dad in that episode.”
“Sadly he didn’t get to see this. But he would be very proud. He would probably also be in shock.”
The John Woo film Hard Boiled has a shocking action sequence in a hospital where the leads are in a massive shoot-out while holding babies, so it’s not hard to understand where that influence came from.
It was obvious that other influences on the show include Lone Wolf & Cub aka Shogun Assassin along with other western/samurai films.
Deborah Chow also spoke with RollingStone about tackling Baby Yoda in her episode.
ROLLING STONE: On both a technical and emotional level, what is it like to work with Baby Yoda?
CHOW: “It’s very special. On set, you could feel it with the crew: Everyone was in love with Baby Yoda. We were hoping it would translate, and it did, happily. When you’ve got even tough grips who are falling in love with a little creature, you know that you have something. It was an amazing mix of visual effect and puppetry, and just getting to create something special that ended up feeling very human, and like a real living, breathing character. It’s definitely one of my favorite characters I’ve got to direct.”
ROLLING STONE: The way you present him in the episode is often piecemeal: His eyes peek out from above the floating bassinet, or his hand grabs the cockpit control lever, but there’s not a lot of all of Baby Yoda in one shot. Was that a practical issue, or a creative choice?
CHOW: “It was more of a choice, actually. It wasn’t because of the practical and technical. A lot of it did come down from Jon [Favreau] and Dave [Filoni]’s direction, the crowd that created the show, just in the sense that less is more. You don’t want to overuse it. Having it be just enough makes it even more special when you see it.”
ROLLING STONE: How much direction can you give the puppeteers to get Baby Yoda to do what you want? Or are there some things you just have to wait for digital effects to figure out?
CHOW: “We did so much on set, it was remarkable. The puppeteers were amazing. We would talk it through with them just like I was directing an actor. I just tried to focus on the emotion of what Baby was feeling at the moment, and not get into the technical. So I would say, ‘The door opens, and now he’s scared. He looks to Mando for comfort’. We would just talk it through as if we were directing human beings, and go straight for the emotion of the baby.”
We’re certainly excited to see more of her work within this universe with her other episode on The Mandalorian and seeing what Chow can do with Kenobi as well.
Chapter 4 of The Mandalorian directed by Bryce Dallas Howard will air on Disney+ on Friday, November 27th.
SOURCE: VANITY FAIR & ROLLING STONE