Shirley Henderson not only voiced the character of Babu Frik in The Rise of Skywalker, but to better familiarise herself with the character and help bring him to life, she became a part of the puppeteering team. Speaking with Variety, she discussed the character.
How did Babu evolve as you got to work? Were there changes to his look, size, or behavior as you consulted with J.J.?
It was months later that I arrived at the studios to start to become Babu. The engineers and designers had created a model that the puppeteers and myself could play with to learn and discover how Babu moved, and the kind of voice he had and the language he used. As a team, we would offer up little sequences for J.J. to look at and give feedback on before we ever got to the actual set for filming. It was precious time for the puppeteers to find a rhythm with the model and what it was capable of—and for me to learn the workings of the mouth, and to play with vocal ideas.
What can you tell us about Babu Frik’s personality, beyond what we see in the film? He seems like a playful fellow, but also very serious about his work.
Beyond the film, Babu has lived a life. Somewhere out there is a lost love. He thinks about her sometimes when he sits down in his workshop and lets his thoughts drift away. That’s what I think, anyway.
We caught up with Shirley and a slew of stars from The Rise of Skywalker on the blue carpet last December, which you can watch here.