Star Wars’ new droid, BB-8, is in with a chance of replacing the first six films’ R2-D2 as the new generation’s favourite robotic sidekick. The spherical astromech droid becomes friends with Daisy Ridley’s character, Rey, and in the promo footage is shown helping out in a variety of ways. But it’s the ‘voice’ that really brings the robot to life, and the two people behind it are completely unexpected.
The first is Bill Hader. This ubiquitous comedy actor was the star of Trainwreck opposite 2015’s breakthrough comedian Amy Schumer, voiced Fear in emotions documentary film Inside Out and also has an esoteric documentary parody series called Documentary Now. Here he is in the first one, a parody of 1975’s ‘Grey Gardens’, alongside Portlandia‘s Fred Armisen.
The other is even more unexpected. His most famous role is that of Jean-Ralphio Saperstein in Parks And Recreation, and his talents there lie in being insufferably irritating and gross. Presumably not so for the voice of BB-8.
Although they’re both credited as ‘BB-8 Vocal Consultant’ on the film, Bill Hader told Hitflix that this role consisted of “JJ fucking around with this sound effects app on his iPad that was attached to a talk box operated by me. It looked ridiculous but it made BB-8’s voice. At first I tried doing a voice, but we all agreed it sounded too human.” Surprisingly simple, really.