Catherine Taber voices Padme Amidala on "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." She inherited the part from Natalie Portman, who can be seen now in "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 3D." I spoke with Ms. Taber on the eve of the re-release of the movie. I took some time to discuss the importance of "Episode I" to "The Clone Wars" and see what sort of influence Natalie Portman's portrayal of the character has on her.
Today's a big day. It's the re-release of "Star wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace 3D" in theaters. This is the movie that launched the character you now portray on "The Clone Wars." What do you have to say about that?
It's exciting. It just re-invigorates this whole idea within you. Once you have a chance to be able to work in the "Star Wars" universe, [it means] you're a part of history. It's really a cool thing. Whenever I re-watch the movies and I see any of the Anakin and Padme scenes, it has a different feeling for me now having portrayed the character. [I have a different feeling about] the character of Anakin even more so than my own. I have such empathy for who Anakin is and what shapes who he becomes than I did previously. I'm even more protective of him now. That's really exciting. The movies are so amazing in and of themselves. [The re-release of the movies in 3D] is thrilling just as a fan. The added aspect of being a part of it just makes me really proud and excited.
Do you approach the role from your own point of view or do you think about how Natalie Portman played her in the prequels?
I would say I approach it on my own on a moment-to-moment basis at this point. When you're an actor and portraying a character, whether historical or from literature, there's a very good chance someone has portrayed that character before. It's your job to become that character and not worry about becoming the actress who previously portrayed them.
I think Natalie did an amazing job of bringing to life this character that George Lucas created. I try to expand on the character that he created and Natalie portrayed. It's interesting because my portrayal actually takes place at a different time than hers. It's in between the movies and not a direct overlap. I have the luxury of examining her life more closely during this time period than you even get to see in the movies. That's really cool. There's a lot of information. I was able to read about her history. That's one of the coolest things about the "Star Wars" database. I then take what Natalie had done, expand on that, and just try to be true to who Padme is. I think [series director] Dave Filoni and I have a clear understanding and agreement about who she is. It works out really well trying to bring her to the audience in "The Clone Wars."
I have a question since we're on the subject of "Episode I" and Padme wears those headdresses a lot in the movie. Do you ever wear one while you're recording your parts?
[Laughing] I've actually had the luxury of dressing as Padme but not with any of the big headdresses. If you knew me you would know that's not that funny of a question. I'm a big "Star Wars" fan myself. I think I'm more [attracted to] the action attire. It's very funny. In one of our episodes you actually see Padme take off the headdress. She's just there with her normal human head. I could breathe a sigh of relief. [I was thinking,] "OK, so she doesn't have to wear that all of the time. She doesn't have to sleep in it."
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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.
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