If there’s one thing that creative collaborators can agree on, it’s that they love Chewie — especially a dancing Chewie.
Enter filmmaking duo “Side of Fries” comprised of Jordan Allen and Luke Rocheleau, who got together to co-write and co-direct “A Wookiee Mistake,” a Pringles commercial infused with Star Wars influences and characters for “The Force For Fun” program. One of the lead characters is Frank: the loyal office Wookiee who is oblivious to his mistakes.
After producing the commercial, I spoke with Jordan and Luke about their inspiration for creating Frank’s character and what it was like to work with an actual Wookiee.
“We thought it would be a cool spin to take a Wookiee and put him in a completely new environment. We’ve never seen a Wookiee work nine to five,” Jordan said.
“I thought it was funnier to have a Wookiee doing a job that’s very delicate, very tame [compared] to what he is…a big creature,” Luke added. “My favorite part was picturing him typing at his desk, working away.”
So, who played Frank?
A legitimate Wookiee costume is hard to find, but we tracked down the amazing Scott Allen, commanding officer of the Southern California Garrison and legion public relations and charity officer of the 501st Legion.
After the hysterical dance party scene wrapped (you’ll know what I mean after you see the spot!), I spoke with Scott about the construction of the Wookiee costume and how it evolved into what it is today.
“The Wookiee costume I use is made up of a couple parts,” he said. “The head was the most difficult part to create. The framework was purchased from a Star Wars fan in Germany. A friend of mine, Ben Townend, spent about three to four hours a day over approximately three months laying the hair and making it all come together as perfectly as possible to resemble Chewbacca from Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. It is unique because it has a working hinged-jaw that allows me to bring the character to life a bit more than a stationary mask. The body is actually a two-piece mesh body suit that has synthetic hair latch-hooked to it. That took well over eighty hours of time to place and match coloring as much as possible to my favorite Wookiee.”
We’re sure glad he took the time to master such an impressive piece of wearable art! You’d think he must have had some crazy requests over the years.
“Honestly, when it comes to costuming for me,” Scott said, “I generally don’t stray too far from what I feel the character would do, given the restrictions of the real world. Most events consist of just walking in and bringing the character to life through movement and sound. So the craziest thing I’ve done so far in the costume has to be the Pringles/Star Wars “A Wookiee Mistake” shoot I just completed involving a bit of Wookiee dancing. Unexpectedly fun, but what a workout!”
After the radically fun shoot, Jordan, Luke, and I can once again agree and affirm that everyone loves working with a Wookiee.