Hippo Taatila wrote in with the following:
Thought you guys wanted to know I just interviewed Joonas (http://www.basket.fi/uutiset/?x126818=36096119) for Finnish Basketball Federation website Basket.fi, here?s a brief summary:
Someone from global basketball family wondered if Finnish national team coach Henrik Dettmann knew a tall, blue-eyed, at least 6-10? tall man who would be interested in acting. Dettmann and Finnish Basketball Federation press officer Mika M?kel? made a list and ended up recommending Joonas Suotamo, a former Finnish national team and NCAA basketball player as well as Penn State film major.
Suotamo went to Nina Gold casting agency in London a couple times to audition for a ?caveman role?. Suotamo was driving his car in his hometown of Espoo, Finland, when he was informed he got the part.
Aaand the following quotes are courtesy of Joonas himself:
?After my second audition, a representative of Nina Gould casting agency called me and informed that I had been auditioning for role of Chewbacca in the new Star Wars film. I had to stop my car and assure I heard correctly what she said.?
?Again, they called me from London and asked whether I could fly there the next day and meet J.J. Abrams. I answered I actually do have to do my laundry tomorrow, but I could make an exception. Two weeks after that they called and congratulated me for landing the role of Chewie.?
?I got to play Chewbacca for significant part of the film but I do not want to reveal which sequences were played by me and which by Peter (Mayhew). If audience wants to, they can figure it out themselves.?
?I watched a lot of tape and tried to learn the way Chewbacca moves, how he reacts, what?s his personality like. As a fan I wished not to disappoint other fans who have awaited thirty years to see Chewbacca in the same screen with Han Solo.?
?John Boyega is a funny, charismatic young talent. One day he assigned his driver to get me a Playstation 4 so that I would have something to do in the evenings.?
?I had already began my career in tv productions and trying to figure out my own possibilities when I got the call. Maybe I had done the right basic work in basketball circles so that right people remembered my name in right situation. Also I was mature enough to leave home and understand that we should not hesitate when we get the opportunity. We can never know where the road leads us.?
?Thanks to basketball, I developed a capability not to know fear at all. I used to put the ball in my armpit and rush through the rim in the midst of swinging elbows. Without basketball, I wouldn?t be here now.?
?I have been a fan of Star Wars my whole life and I am unbelievably happy that I have had the opportunity to be part of this all. I'll be more than glad to accept whatever comes my way in Star WArs universe these next years."