Yoda

Feb. 08, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.

Frank Oz ready to return to Yoda for ‘Star Wars’ spinoff movie

If there’s a place for Yoda in the upcoming “Star Wars” movies, Frank Oz is game to return to give voice to the character. Oz, the former puppeteer and film director who has voiced the ancient Jedi Master in five of the six live-action “Star Wars” films, told Hero Complex in an interview this week that although he hadn’t heard a thing about the new feature projects being planned by Lucasfilm and Disney, he’s game to return to the diminutive character with whom he’s been associated for more than 30 years. “He’s in my heart,” Oz said. “I know Yoda very deeply.” Following last month’s news that J.J. Abrams is set to direct “Episode VII,” one of the biggest developments in the future of the “Star Wars” universe was the confirmation this week from Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger […]
Feb. 07, 2013 | 5:28 p.m.

‘Star Wars’: Frank Oz on Stuart Freeborn, the legend behind Yoda

Stuart Freeborn sculpts the Yoda puppet. (Lucasfilm / Los Angeles Times Archives)
Jedi Master Yoda is one of the most famous and iconic of the hundreds of characters in the “Star Wars” universe and one of the men most responsible for creating that character was makeup artist Stuart Freeborn, who died in London on Wednesday at age 98. Freeborn worked closely with Lucas and Frank Oz, the puppeteer and director who was known for controlling the Muppet Miss Piggy before he joined “The Empire Strikes Back” to perform the ancient Jedi Master. Reached by phone, Oz recalled the series of meetings that took place with Freeborn at Elstree Studios. MORE: Remembering Stuart Freeborn “He was a legend already. He was brilliant and he was a sweet man,” Oz said. “I remember going into that first meeting in this small workshop. I remember looking up and seeing masks of Chewbacca and everything else.” […]
Feb. 07, 2013 | 1:47 p.m.

‘Star Wars’: Stuart Freeborn, the makeup artist behind Yoda, dies

The Yoda puppet used in "Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." (Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)
Legendary Hollywood makeup man Stuart Freeborn, who created some of the most memorable characters ever in science fiction including Yoda in the “Star Wars” films and the ape men of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” has died at the age of 98. Freeborn’s daughter, Michelle, told the Associated Press that the legendary makeup man died in London from a combination of ailments due to his age. In a statement, “Star Wars” creator George Lucas said, “Stuart was already a makeup legend when he started on ‘Star Wars.’ He brought with him not only decades of experience, but boundless creative energy. His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created. His ‘Star Wars’ creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by new generations, but at their heart, they continue to be what Stuart created for the […]
July 23, 2012 | 3:46 p.m.

Frank Oz to ‘Star Wars’ fans: Do the Yoda impression I won’t

Frank Oz ((Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Frank Oz was the voice of the wise and beloved Yoda and, more than 30 years after the character’s debut, not a month goes by without a fan approaching Oz with a simple request — but the answer is always the same: Do the impression he won’t. The 68-year-old Hollywood Renaissance man — Muppet puppeteer, movie director and the voice behind the pint-sized Jedi master — holds his characters too sacred for such tripe. “You wouldn’t parade your kids around like that, would you?” he said. “They’re part of me. I won’t use them as a party favor to impress people.” Oz, who lives in Manhattan, will return to Los Angeles on Thursday to accept a lifetime achievement honor at the 38th annual Saturn Awards, which are presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. He’ll don […]
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