Greg Grunberg wears a lot of different hats. Most famous of which is the helmet of Resistance fighter pilot Temmin ‘Snap’ Wexley, in Star Wars The Force Awakens. When he is not saving the galaxy, he is keeping all of the plates spinning between his many other projects. Greg hosts a podcast, ‘An Actor, A Musician, And A Comedian Walk Into A Bar’, and is kept busy getting guests and recording the sessions. As if that wasn’t enough for a father of three boys, Greg is developing and writing several movies and T.V. shows and is also acting whenever he gets a chance. Every day is different, but each day starts by dropping his sons off to school which Greg feels is the most important thing. Greg’s oldest son is currently working at Bad Robot, and may well follow his father into producing.
I asked Greg to tell me more about the role of Temmin. JJ ( Abrams) is my best friend, we went to school together, and when I find out he is making a movie I’ll say to him, what am I doing? I begged him for a role obviously, and we’re best friends so its always a pleasure working together. Star Wars is the biggest project, I had no idea what the role would be, and to me its such a cool part to play.
Temmin has proven to be a popular character, would you be interested in doing more movies, or other projects featuring ‘Snap’ Wexley? “Yeah, are you kidding me? I would do craft service on the set if they asked me to, anything for Star Wars. I love that people bring up the Poe Damaron comic series to be signed, its so cool that my character is living on.”
Greg spoke about his time on set. “Theres nothing I didn’t like, I loved everything! The X-Wing’s a little tight, but that’s my problem being a big guy. I have to say looking back, working with everyone, being able to put myself into one of the things that moulded me as a kid is just a dream.” I was able to meet so many people through my involvement. Greg pauses for a second, gathering his thoughts before continuing. “Carrie Fisher was just such an amazing… she’s the best, its just such a shame. I got to know her very quickly and its devastating because she immediately is someone you want to be friends with forever.” I agreed and said, “You dont really get a choice, she imposes herself onto you”. Greg nods, “But in the best way. She’s wonderful.”
I asked Greg about the costume, and any rituals or good luck charms he might have for assuming the character. On the day I arrived late to fitting because I was shooting something, but this time around for Episode IX, I mean I haven’t gotten the official call yet, once I get the call if I do, I’m hoping to fit that jumpsuit a little bit better. I had it pretty easy compared to the people who have to go through prosthetics and all the other stuff. In terms of putting the costume on, assembling the character, what sort of process do you go through?. As Greg speaks his enthusiasm for Star Wars is glowing, his words are pouring out and his face is beaming. For me its a complete identity, thats why I’m growing this beard, letting my hair grow a little bit. Everyone in those movies is caught in the 70s and 80s, there’s nobody with really short short hair.
I just did a movie called Paterno with Al Pacino, and wore a big fat suit, and its so great to do that, and it indicates and helps you get into the character. This is especially true of Star Wars putting the boots on, strapping the gun, all the weapons, its awesome! Playing with the visor, I joked? Yeah I mean the whole thing, you put that helmet on and sit in the X-Wing its so exciting. But its only the top of the canopy isn’t it, I said waving my hand in the air? No Greg replied, the whole thing, I get into my whole X-Wing, I also have scenes with my X-Wing, working on it mechanically, its pretty impressive.
You mentioned a movie with Pachino, Paterno, is it a big role? Yes it’s big, he plays my dad Joe Paterno, I play Scott Paterno, it’s an intense movie concerning a scandal that Joe Paterno was involved in, at the end of his very successful sporting career in 2011.
What else can we look forward to? My next movie coming out is with Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, and veteran comedians Dave Chappelle, Eddie Griffin, and Andrew Dice Clay – A Star Is Born, the remake of a classic Barbara Streisand movie. “There’s also my podcast, and a movie called Max Reload And The Nether Blasters which I’m producing and starring in with Kevin Smith, Lyn Shea, and my son Jake. I jokingly describe it as a poor mans Ready Player One, where a character escapes from a video game series and we have to kill it, its really fun.”
A Star Is Born, is set for release in the U.K. this October, and hopefully Greg will return as Temmin Wexley in Episode IX in 2019.