Playing Watto in the first two Star Wars prequels gave actor Andy Secombe some interesting challenges. Having prior experience with dub work for foreign animated shows broadcast on Channel 4, Secombe’s life was changed when casting director Robyn Gurland reached out for his recommendations of suitable voice actors for the upcoming “Phantom Menace.” The performer excitedly jumped at the opportunity, soon finding himself in a voice booth and doing table reads alongside Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor.
Secombe’s first day on set saw him and Neeson perform their interaction during the start of the podrace. To give the effects artists an idea of where Watto would be, the production fitted Secombe with a wardrobe piece that birthed more trouble than anticipated. “They made me wear this hat with a metal rim so that I could be easily identifiable for the animators,” the actor explained in an interview at MCM Comic Con Birmingham. “And the rim of it stuck Liam right in the bridge of the nose.” The impact was enough to drop Neeson to the ground and make him bleed, which spiked Secombe’s anxiety quite a bit. “First day of filming, and I disabled the leading actor!” he continued. “I thought, ‘This is not a good look.'”
Thankfully, Neeson came out alright, and makeup was applied to cover the wound. Nevertheless, it remains an unforgettable moment for Secombe and likely would have received Watto’s seal of approval.