Joonas Suotamo is living his best life.
In the past three years, Suotamo has gotten engaged, become a father, and starred in two Star Wars film. In two weeks, Suotamo will add another Star Wars credit to his name with Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The 6’10” Finnish actor first shared the role of Han Solo’s fierce co-pilot Chewbacca, aka Chewie, with Peter Mayhew in The Force Awakens and fully took on the role for The Last Jedi and Solo.
Prior to being cast, Suotamo had ended his professional basketball career and was trying to figure out what to do next. Suotamo explained he was practically jobless and living with his mother.
“Yes, I mean it’s just something that I really… when I got to know that I had a chance and then when I got to know that I was going to playing this character, I really couldn’t sleep at night and I was so excited because this was a life-changer for me,” Suotamo explained to the audience at the Solo press conference. “I was borderline jobless when I got this role, you know. So, I mean, my now fiancée, my then girlfriend, have seen me going from living with my mom to becoming Chewbacca.”
Suotamo is grateful and honored to play this role and appreciated the Chewie Boot Camp that Star Wars offered to him before he embodied the lovable Wookiee.
“It’s funny because this character is so loved and Peter Mayhew, who created this character along with George Lucas, has been so instrumental in, in help, giving me his blessing,” Suotamo said. “And giving me some tips in our week-long session together, how to be this character.”
Suotamo added, “I never could have understood what went on underneath the mask of Peter Mayhew. And now that I got to know that, it was so easy going into shooting this film, which is so much about Han and Chewie and everyone — that it was so important to get right, for this film.”
Check out Joonas Suotamo as Chewie in Solo: A Star Wars Story out May 25th.