Diné still auditioning for 'Star Wars' roles

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

WINDOW ROCK, April 16, 2013

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T he directors for the Navajo version of "Star Wars" are continuing to audition more than 117 tribal members who want speaking roles in the film.

Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum and the man behind the whole Navajo "Star Wars" project, said Tuesday that the two directors assigned to the project by Deluxe Studios are in the process of selecting who will be the voices of the movie's main characters.

Once that is done - sometime in the next week - the people who have been selected will be going to Knifewing Productions in Gallup where the actual dubbing will take place.

At that point, it will be the job of the two directors - Allen Stern and Richard Epcar - to make sure that the dubbing meets the exacting standards set by George Lucas, the original director of the movie.

Once the decision is made on who will dub the four or five main characters, attention will be given to the numerous secondary characters in the movies, many of whom only have one line.

Because of this, said Wheeler, it's possible that the directors will choose people to voice more than one secondary character in the movie.

A lot of those people who auditioned will not be selected, said Wheeler, for one simple reason - there are only two female characters in the movie and more than 50 women came out for the audition.

"That area is extremely competitive," Wheeler said.

As for the men who came out to audition, said Wheeler, it's not just a matter of who is able to speak Navajo fluently.

"To deliver the lines in the way they were meant is difficult," he said.

The project is still on schedule, he said, to have the entire dubbing done in time to show the Navajo version of the movie during the Fourth of July celebration.

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