Actor Catherine Taber voices Padme Amidala on "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." The character appears in this week's brand new episode entitled "Crisis on Naboo." I had the opportunity to talk with her recently about the role. She shared what we can expect to see from the character next season and discussed her working relationship with Matt Lanter, who voices Anakin Skywalker.
Talk to us about your working relationship with Matt Lanter who portrays Anakin Skywalker on "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."
Matt comes from an on-camera background and I do, as well. I feel like it's so much better when we actually get to be in the [recording] room together. Occasionally he's off doing a movie or something. When he's there and we have these intense or even the not so intense Anakin and Padme scenes we have a great time. We really understand who our characters are. We're often told by people in the room that the chemistry is really good as far as the characters go. It's a lot of fun. We definitely have some stuff coming up next season [that] we really had a blast doing. [It's] romantic stuff but also the stuff that happens in relationships when issues come up. It's been great working with Matt. He's an amazing actor. He's not just another pretty face.
"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" weaves together different characters so well. No one character is given the opportunity to wear out their welcome. How does this work for the show?
I think [we've considered] ourselves an ensemble cast from the beginning. We have the introduction of new amazing characters, bad guys, and good guys every year. Sometimes they stay and sometimes they go. However, there's that core group of us who are essential to the overall story. It's almost like we're a touchstone for each other. It's always great when we get to come back and record all together if we haven't done that for a while. [The show is] realistic in the way that it portrays the war. Everybody is spread out. People are doing different things. Anakin is out commanding troops and on the frontline with Ahsoka or Obi-Wan. Padme might be in the Senate or on some diplomatic mission. Everyone's fulfilling their aspects of what they would be doing in the war. I think that is a little sad on a personal level. We miss each other because we've worked together for so long now that we're like family. It makes it all that much better when we get to come back together. Also, we're always doing pick-ups and little tweaks here and there to episodes that we've recorded.
Explain pick-ups to us.
For example, I get to go in today for a "Clone Wars" session. I'm not recording an entire episode. Let's say George has decided he wants a particular scene to have more loud explosions going on. We have to change the way we recorded dialogue a little bit just for a line or two. We'll go and do pick-ups. I'll usually get to overlap and see some of my buddies who might be recording the episode later. That's really nice.
Ian Abercrombie just passed away. He played Palpatine on "The Clone Wars." Can you talk about working with him and what it meant to you?
I had the honor of working with Ian a lot. The first day I got to work with him I called my parents because I was so excited. It was one of the highlights of my career as an actress to work with him. He came from a time period where being an actor was something different than it is today. I'm nostalgic for that in a way. It wasn't about all your YouTube videos and that sort of stuff. You worked as an actor. You worked your way up. He was a really classy and talented man. He told me a funny story when I first started working with him. He told me about the time when an actor finally gets rid of [their] day job. He told me that his first experience with that was [when] he was working in some kind of business firm situation and auditioning. He got a part finally and couldn't tell his boss he was going to take off work for that. He knew he would get fired. He went, did the job, and told his boss he was really sick. He told me later when the show aired his boss said, "You know Ian. There was somebody on TV last night that looked exactly like you."
He had to do this [song and] dance and say that it wasn't him. He finally knew that it was time to let go of the business world and trust in his career. He left that job and from there on out he worked as an actor. I'll never forget that story. He was full of amazing stories. [It was wonderful] to be able to work in the room with Ian, look across the way, and make eye contact with him when we were reading scenes. He was being Palpatine and you could feel that sort of underneath evilness. It was amazing. I already miss him terribly. I can't imagine how we're going to get by without him. He is truly missed.
Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect from Padme and Anakin in the next season?
I will just say you get to see some amazing glimpses into their lives as a couple and what that entails. You get to see more of what we've seen this season which is the changes that are occurring in Anakin. We all know where he's going. I think one of the cool things about our show is getting to see the heroic and charming Anakin [deal with] the weight that starts to bare down and eventually makes him what he becomes. Some of the passion between the two characters is really fun to see and certainly fun to act [out]. We have a lot of exciting stuff coming up the rest of this season. We have a lot of really fun bad guys that l know a lot of people are excited to see. I enjoy watching the bad guys even though I'm usually a good guy. I know the fans really love that. There's some very cool stuff coming up as usual. We always say that but it just gets more and more exciting and interesting as we go in-depth with these characters and into the war and everything that's happening. I can't wait to watch it and I'm glad to be a part of it.
Who's your favorite villain? You have to pick just one.
I have to say we have a little Maul coming up. I think I have to go with Darth Maul. He looks like a bad ass and he is a bad ass. Plus, red is kind of cool (laughing).
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.