Nalini Krishan’s most well-known film role is one in which she has no lines to speak. Nevertheless, this one part has changed her life forever.
The Fiji-born Australian actress was cast in “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.” Her character, named Barriss Offee, is a Jedi Padawan in the second film of the prequel trilogy. The fictional character’s backstory would be further developed in other “Star Wars” properties, like the animated TV series “The Clone Wars.”
With the franchise rejuvenated with the help of films like “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Krishan finds herself attending more and more “Star Wars” conventions.
In anticipation of her guest appearance Saturday (Sept. 16) at ACME Comics & Collectibles’ Mini Con 7, The Weekender spoke to Krishan about her experience in the franchise that takes place in a galaxy far, far away.
What’s life like for you now that the “Star Wars” franchise has been reinvigorated with new movies?
I have to say that since the new movies have come out -- that first year when “The Force Awakens” came out in 2015 -- I did more shows in that year than I had done in a while. I also just moved to the United States permanently at that time. I noticed I was doing a lot more signings and being asked for more interviews. And I was certainly off to do more conventions. This year has really picked up for conventions as well.
When you’re going to these conventions, are fans picking you out and recognizing you and your character?
The fans of my character will definitely know me because they follow me on Instagram or Facebook. There are lots of different people that come and see you, but typically the fans always know. They may not know the face, but they know the name of the actor and character. There’s definitely that recognition.
Were you a fan of “Star Wars” before you were cast in “Attack of the Clones?”
I always was! I watched the repeats on TV as a child. I watched “Ewok Adventures” on TV. I loved all of it. I definitely watched them growing up. I also watched “Star Trek.” I watched them both.
You were of fan of both “Star Wars” and “Star Trek?”
Well they always played the repeats on television. And when you’re a child and you watch something like that, it’s very fascinating to watch. I watched [“Star Trek”] and really grew to love it as a child. I probably didn’t understand much of what was happening. But I really loved watching it. It resonated with me as a child.
The popularity of “Star Wars” has kind of developed its own culture. What’s it like to be a part of that?
Oh my goodness… I can’t really explain it in words. I’m part of a saga. I’m part of a franchise. I’m a Jedi. I can tell you there is a very, very, very minuscule amount of people have actually say they’ve been a Jedi in a film and travelled to conventions. I’m one of the small actors that had no speaking and my fight scenes were cut out and so forth. But even being in that small part of “Star Wars,” I feel so privileged and very blessed. This will stick with me until I die. I will be travelling all my life doing this like all the other actors in “Star Wars” that do this. I don’t know how to describe just how blessed I am. I never take it for granted.
Did you have any sort of expectations that this lifestyle change would happen when you found out you were cast in the movie?
No, I did not. I didn’t even know what was going on. I was hired and did a lot of fight scenes more than anything else. They didn’t really tell us what we were doing. They kept it so secret. I was captivated by what was going to happen. I remember giving an interview on set and they asked, “How do you feel playing this person?” and I thought, “Who?” I didn’t know who I was playing. That’s how secret it was. There were no expectations; just a whole lot of anticipation and excitement.
Did you feel compelled to learn more about your character?
I did! I did have to learn about her, per se, since I didn’t have any speaking parts [in “Attack of the Clones”], but I learned about her watching “The Clone Wars” and things like that. I learned from conversations. There is so much written about her in the “Star Wars” universe. They really filled up these characters.
It seems like every character in the background and foreground of the films has some sort of huge back story and fan base.
Exactly! “Star Wars” has changed my life. You feel very much engaged with your fans and what’s going on. I don’t know any actor [in “Attack of the Clones”] whose life hasn’t changed or hasn’t been to a convention. I’m sure there are some who don’t do it.
What do you enjoy most about being able to go to conventions and make guest appearances?
I like to make people happy. If signing an autograph makes people happy, I’ll do it all day long every day.