Bonnie Piesse Interview – Beru Whitesun

Beru Whitesun Lars was a human female from Tatooine. She was married to Owen Lars and raised Luke Skywalker after the fall of the Galactic Republic.

When Beru was young, she had a dream of setting up her own cafe or restaurant in Anchorhead. She had this dream because during her school years, she entered in a cooking class, and the teacher told Beru that her blue-milk cheese was the best he had ever tasted, prompting her to have such dream as the instructor said that it appeared that she was born to make blue-milk cheese.

Beru eventually fell in love with Owen Lars, son of the moisture farmer Cliegg Lars, so they began dating. Shortly before the outbreak of the Clone Wars, Shmi Skywalker Lars, Owen’ stepmother, was kidnapped by Tusken Raiders, an event that brought Anakin Skywalker, Shmi’s son, and Senator Padmé Amidala, to the Lars moisture farm, where they were received by Cliegg. Anakin arrived too late to save his mother, who passed away in his arms, prompting him to slaughter the Tuskens. When he returned, a funeral was held at the farm. During the funeral, Beru served blue milk and cheese to everyone.

Three years later, Beru had already married Owen and taken on his last name. Both alone after Cliegg’s death, Owen and Beru decided to have a child, but problems of infertility precluded them to have one, leading them to consider seeing one of the fertility droids at Mos Eisley. When the galactic conflict came to a close, Beru and Owen became the guardians of their new nephew, Luke Skywalker, after his father turned to the dark side of the Force and became Darth Vader and his mother died in childbirth. Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi Master and friend of Anakin, delivered infant Luke to the Lars homestead. After receiving Luke, Beru told Owen that they would be raising his stepbrother’s son as their own.

How does working on Star Wars compare to other jobs you’ve had in the past?

The most obvious thing was the scale of it… it was a huge set and crew so definitely felt like a massive production, compared to the small Australian projects I’d been working on. Also it felt very surreal and meaningful to step into a world that’s so well known and loved by people around the world—a little intimidating but very exciting! 

How did you get you role of Beru Whitesun?

It was pretty much out of the blue! I guess they were casting in Australia and the casting director came across my work and called me in for an audition. I was really nervous in the audition but ended up booking it anyway! Definitely one of the coolest moments of my life when my Mom told me they wanted me for the role!

What are some of your fondest memories from your time in Star Wars?

Hanging out behind the scenes in Tunisia with Anthony Daniels was really fun. We walked around and looked at all the different sets, random alien creatures lying around etc. Such awesome memories!

Am I right in thinking you had never seen a Star Wars film before you got cast, if so, did you have to watch A New Hope in order to study Beru in her first appearance?

I’d actually seen Episode 1 but hadn’t seen the originals! So yes I quickly watched them all and studied as much as I could… and became a fan pretty quickly too!

What was it like working with the likes of Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen?

They were both so nice and welcoming. Natalie even knew I was headed to NYC after the shoot and wrote up a whole list of her favourite healthy restaurants and cafes etc for me to try. I felt so supported. 

Can you describe your experience working in Tunisia, I can imagine the heat made it quite difficult?

Yeah it was very hot! We were all battling dehydration a bit and needed to drink a lot of water and electrolytes. But the whole experience was really magical. To be on the original sets like that and feel like I was truly a part of history… what an amazing experience. 

What was George Lucas like on set?

He was so laid-back, relaxed and also really welcoming and supportive. Because it was a smaller crew on the Tunisia shoot (vs Sydney) we all hung out afterwards and I remember one dinner with George where it was very much just like friends hanging out!

What does Star Wars mean to you?

To me Star Wars is not only an incredible thing that’s profoundly affected my life, but I absolutely love the idea of The Force and The Hero’s Journey. These have a lot of meaning in my own life and I think it’s beautiful that George brought them into pop culture. 

You also a have a figurine of your character, that must feel amazing. How does it feel knowing you’re an action figure, and what was your reaction the first time you saw it?

Yes it does feel amazing and kind of funny! I knew they existed but hadn’t seen one until a fan gifted me one at a convention years ago. It was such a cool moment and he was so excited to give it to me too! 

Do you attend many comic conventions, if so, what does fan interaction mean to you, and do you have any appearances coming up? 

Over the years I’ve attended quite a few, and I have an event in France at the end of April which I’m excited about. I find meeting the fans to be one of the coolest things about being involved in Star Wars—getting to hear what it all means to them and seeing their excitement.

What are some of your favourite characters and scenes from the films, and why?

My favourite characters are Rey and Yoda. And I’d have to say the scene in “The Force Awakens” where Rey refuses to sell BB-8 is one of my favourites. I think she’s an amazing example of a truly strong female character—which I believe is super needed in the world right now. 

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