Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our seventy-second guest portrayed Saesee Tiin in Attack of the Clones – Jesse Jensen.
Lightsabre – Jesse, welcome to Lightsabre.
JJ – Thanks it’s a pleasure to be involved with your website.
Lightsabre – You joined the Star Wars party with your brother Zac during Attack of the Clones in Sydney. How exciting was that?
JJ – It was great even being involved in the project in a behind the scenes capacity but when both Zac and I ended up becoming real Jedi masters it was really unbelievable, a childhood dream come true, especially when we were both involved.
Lightsabre – Tell us something of your career. How and where did you begin in the industry and what led you to where you are today?
JJ – I travelled throughout the world for seven years spending a lot of time in Asia, Japan in particular where I did some art department work. On returning to Australia I moved down to Sydney and worked my way into the film industry. It was here while working art department on Attack of the Clones I managed to become Saesee Tiin. Not long before that I was lucky enough to work on the first season of the US reality TV show Survivor which did extremely well and hence has remained a fairly steady job for the last 7 years. Allowing me to travel to all ends of the earth filming the show.
Lightsabre – Being on set with your fellow Jedi must have been thrilling? What special memories did you take away from your Star Wars experience?
JJ – I was actually working on a few of the major sets before, and after acting in the movie, in particular I spent a few months building the Solar Sailor, the spaceship that Count Dooku and Yoda had the final battle on before the count flew off in it! So I actually went to and from the art workshops and get wardrobe checks, etc. But that’s what made it great. I had been working behind the scenes for years and all of a sudden I was on the other side of the camera and on Star Wars as a Jedi Master no less. Amazing stuff.
The vibe with everyone working on the movie was great, everyone knew it was a once in a lifetime experience to be part of the Star Wars universe and you could feel that positive energy from the moment you went into work until you went home. That energy wasn’t just restricted to the cast but ran through the whole crew from workshop assistants right up to actors like Samuel L. Jackson.
Lightsabre – What has it been like to be a part of the Star Wars phenomenon?
JJ – It has been such an honour to be a part of the Star Wars phenomenon. Amazing from day one, but it wasn’t until years later when I was invited to attend a convention did I realise how deep the fan base and expanded universe went and now I’m an even bigger and more knowledgeable fan than when I first got the role as Saesee Tiin.
Saying that though I only scratch the surface compared to some of the true fans die hard fans out there …..may the Force be with them all!!
Lightsabre – Of the six movies, which satisfied you the most?
JJ – I like the first three originals simply because that is what I grew up with. I’d have to say The Empire Strikes Back is my all time favourite. Although I obviously have a place in my heart for Episode II where I made my Jedi Master debut.
Lightsabre – Travelling the world and visiting conventions must be something you didn’t expect when you signed up to play Saesee. What do you make of the fans?
JJ – No I didn’t even know that world existed. I love it though and the fans couldn’t be a nicer bunch of people. I have made a lot of friends and had some awesome times at the small number of Conventions I have done over the years. I just wish my “real “ job didn’t prevent me from attending so many of them. It is always nice to be a celebrity for a day or so.
JJ – Well as far as Saesee Tiin and Kit Fisto’s parts in the movie go I would have liked them to put up a little more of a fight! I’m sure we are a lot tougher than that sequence gave us credit! Same goes for a lot of the other Jedi that were killed quite easily in that film. Other than that I think it was a great film, lots of amazing action and yeah it was a satisfying conclusion to the saga or perfect prelude to the original trilogy!
Lightsabre – Saesee appears to be a very stolid character. How did you get into the right frame of mind to portray him?
JJ – To tell the truth once you put on those Jedi gowns and hold a lightsaber it doesn’t take much imagination to really believe you hold the force within you and you slip into that character quite easily….the make-up did a lot of the work making Saesee Tiin who he is!
Lightsabre – The make-up must have been a unique experience the first time it was applied. How did that first session go?
JJ – It went surprisingly well. It took about 4 hours to be totally done but being involved in something so incredible such as being transformed into a Jedi Master could never be tedious; I loved every minute of it and was amazed at how I was transformed. Once the contact lenses went in I totally lost myself in the make-up.
JJ – I’m off to Asia for the year to film the next two Survivor series then not sure, maybe head back to my place in Tahiti and relax a bit and let the Force build up in me until my next project!
Lightsabre – A quick question about our site, Lightsabre. Any comments?
JJ – Awesome website one of the best in the known universe I’d say.
Lightsabre – It’s been a great interview, and thanks for being our guest on Lightsabre. Just one final question. Saesee Tinn and Kit Fisto are sparring in a Jedi training arena. The crowd are spurring them both on and they furiously push each other to their limits, but which one succeeds in winning the contest?
JJ – Hahahaha I was waiting for that one. I used to say I’d take him as I’m the “older” brother, but to tell the truth I’d have my work cut out with Kit Fisto he is one cool Jedi Master. I must say he lasted seconds longer than me with Palpatine if that means anything? Either way it would be a close one. I’m just glad we are brothers in arms!
This interview was originally posted on www.lightsabre.co.uk on 24th June 2007.