Special thanks to Disney for flying me to Los Angeles for the premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story
Joonas Suotamo was difficult to miss at the Solo: A Star Wars Story premiere. He was the blonde dude towering over everyone else. He was one of the few actors I had my picture taken with, he just seemed so open and cool.
When I walked up to him, I asked him how tall he was. His response:
7′ tall. But really 6’11.5″, just don’t tell any one.
So, you’re welcome. I just told you how tall Joonas Suotamo is. You know, the guy who plays Chewbacca in Star Wars? That guy.
It hadn’t occurred to me that we’d be interviewing the actual Chewbacca, but the interview was lively and fun. Here are some things you need to know about Joonas Suotamo, Finnish Chewy.
When Joonas walked in, he TOTALLY SPOKE WOOKIE!!!!
I geeked out a little bit then composed myself.
How long did it take Joonas to learn to speak Wookie?
“When I learned I was going to meet Harrison Ford the next day, it took me that 24 hours to learn.”
What did Joonas say to Harrison Ford that Harrison did not appreciate?
Harrison, I wasn’t even born when you guys made these films! He did not like that very much, but we were able to climb over that hurdle and start again.
How does Joonas Suotamo feel about Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo?
Alden did such a great job in taking on the role of embracing this character and embracing Han Solo for us.
How did Joonas, a Finnish basketball player, land the role of Chewbacca for “The Force Awakens”
I got a call from the Finnish basketball association who had received a request for a person with blue eyes and is 7′ tall. The casting was pretty desperate at that point to find a person. I was immediately interested and didn’t take a second to think about it. We didn’t know what the role was, I just said ‘YES! I’m in!’
I did a video of me playing a caveman, half naked in my old high school gym. It took four or five months to go through the process then I received a call that said, ‘You’ll be playing Chewbacca!’
How did basketball (and being Finnish) help Joonas in his role as Chewbacca?
Basketball gifted me a body awareness. The trips I met with my basketball teams helped me grow up to be a very social guy. I’ve always observed movement and love the fact that we are different as humans. I’ve always tried to imitate, in a very loving way, my teammates and how they run.
Us Fins have a very rich sauna tradition so I can withstand heat exceptionally well. You could say I was born to play this role.
What is inside Chewbacca’s Bandolier?
Some people call it a purse, others call it a murse. It’s actually a bandolier, and here’s what Joonas Suotamo put inside Chewbacca’s man bag during filming:
I usually kept chocolates and sweets in there when children were visiting the set. After they ran away frightened, I would bribe them with sweets.
Joonas Suotamo is a total Diva.
I have to be careful with the suit. I would suddenly make a roll on the floor and Maria, my handler, would be very, very angry with me. I have to be careful, but I also have to do what’s required of me by the director, and that’s something because you have to constantly be aware of the suit: How it looks, how it moves on camera.
That’s why I have to go look at the screens after the takes. It makes people think that I’m sort of a diva, but really I want to make it look right. I trust the directors, but want to see if I can do something myself to improve the next take.
Go see Joonas Suotamo as the “young” Chewbacca in Solo: A Star Wars Story on May 25!