Challenge Anakin

Posted by on 12th Jun 2015

Hi fans! It’s another week, and another opportunity for you to write in — and challenge me to anything you see fit. I will not disappoint!

Dodge Duckers from Great Holmes writes:

Dear Anakin, what was your favourite part of doing the Star Wars prequels? And also, can you come up with a name for a sauce that’s both a flavour and a colour?

Hi Dodge! Well, as both a fan of the Star Wars saga and an actor who was lucky enough to play a part in bringing it to life, it’s hard for me to pin down a "favourite" scene or thing about the movies. I was only a kid when I played the young Anakin in Menace, so it was an honour for me to do scenes with seasoned professionals like Liam Neeson and Ewan and the gang. Liam always had such a wry sense of humour on set, and a great smile - he always knew how to put me at ease, and taught me a lot about acting. A truly great guy.

As a fan, my favourite scenes in the prequel trilogy were mostly those in Menace and Clones, like the escape from Coruscant in that silver speeder craft [ed: J-type 327 Nubian royal starship]; the bit where Quai-Gon is negotiating with Watto in his shop and meets my character for the first time; and of course the amazing ‘dual of fates’ battle between Quai-Gon, Ewan McGregor and Peter Serafinowicz [ed: Darth Maul]. I just found them all riveting, watching Liam [Neeson] bring Quai-Gon to life. He really made the character of Quai-Gon so real and complete, and that’s what made those scenes unforgettable, which was what made his death so hard to take – both his character's death, and of course his own tragic death in that Montreal bus crash. RIP Liam.

As for your challenge – I believe the answer you’re looking for is “egg shell” ;)

Craven Spenning from Cactus Gulch writes:

Dear Jake, what is your favourite food? My challenge is: can you create an algorithm to determine whether a given polynomial Diophantine equation with integer coefficients has an integer solution? Thanks, CS

Hi Craven – what a lovely name! My favourite food – which I chowed down just about every chance I got while filming Phantom Menace – is, without a doubt, Butter Toffee Peanuts. Just thinking about those scrumptious little caramel-flavoured spheres makes my mouth water! Alas, I ate so many on the set that for a couple of years I had almost-developed symptoms of type 2 diabetes, and that’s no picnic – now I don’t risk eating them at all. What I wouldn’t give for just one more salty delicious bauble!

Liam [Neeson] was really supportive of my health troubles when he heard. He called me at home one night from his house in Montreal (it was daytime there because of the timezone thing) and said he felt really guilty about it, because he used to go on snack runs for me and the crew on breaks and always used to get me huge bags of them. The best are made by a company called Hammonds back in Colorado – I think he may have had some flown in for me, because I noticed they often had the logo. Anyway he felt so bad about it all, he offered to pay for some of my treatment – that was before the bus crash, of course. That guy always had such a kind nature. Kind eyes and a smooth voice. I always think of caramels when I think of Liam. He will be sorely missed.

Your challenge: I think you might be referring to Hilbert’s 10th ‘unsolved’ problem, Craven – but unfortunately, it’s already been solved, and not by me! It is of course impossible to craft such an algorithm, as recursively enumerable sets are equivalent to diophantine sets, thus implying an algorithm could not ever arrive at a satisfactory terminating solution. Props to the great Yuri Matiyasevich for that one – perhaps I’ll have a better answer for you next time! Stay sweet ;)

Skayrlette Jones of Lake Bluff writes:

Hey Anakin, me and my friends had such a huge crush on you when Phantom Menace came out! ^_^ Did you have a crush on anyone on set lol! My challenge is can you name your favourite Star Wars animal. Laterz Sky :)

Hey Sky! It’s no big secret that me and Amy Adams had a pretty big thing going on during filming. You may remember Amy from films like The Master and not Phantom Menace, but that’s because she only had a small part which was eventually cut by George in the final edit when they deemed her use of “laterz” as “not cannon”. I still thought it was a pretty cool line.

Anyway Liam [Quai-Gon Jinn] introduced us on set – Amy was in Drop Dead Gorgeous which was filming down the hall in studio 9 at the time we were doing some of the interior scenes for Tatooine, so we moved in the same circles. She came over to get some treats from our craft table, and Liam said we had something in common which was that we both liked butterscotch balls and she giggled and we just hit it off. She was born in Italy you know. The conversation just seemed to flow, Liam was full of interesting facts about people and places like that. Did you know the Holy Roman Empire wasn’t even Roman?

Anyway it’s no surprise it didn’t last long – she was 15 years my senior after all – but I cherished our time together. Liam was such a great guy, very supportive on and off set, arranging meetups for us both and also after we went our separate ways, he was there with a warm smile, patting me on the back and saying “it’s not the end of the world, eh” in that distinctive French-Canadian drawl of his. Great guy. Even Amy saw him as sort of a father figure, I think. She said she thought of him that way often. I think I did too.

My favourite Star Wars animal would have to be the Akk Dog, which is a type of large lizard that is used as a Jedi companion. They’re loyal, and they form a deep force-bond with their owner, even if their owner isn’t actually a real Jedi. Even if he’a just a kid. Just a young boy from Colorado, who got picked out of obscurity to have his childhood years warped by the lens of fame, who just wanted to please his parents and pursue something he was told by every adult around him he would be great it. Even if he were to find one. A true friend. A faithful friend. Until the end.

And their hide can repel a lightsabre, cool right!

via and Wookieepedia.

Here’s a picture of an Akk Dog I found online.

Well that’s all we have time for this week on Challenge Anakin – see you again soon fans, get your challenges ready!