MOVIES

What TARS From Interstellar Looks Like In Real Life

The iconic “Interstellar” robot is voiced by “Law & Order: SVU” star Bill Irwin, a veteran comedian and Broadway performer who is known for his physicality and clown work. In addition to voicing TARS, Irwin also performed the puppetry for the robot. Yes, Christopher Nolan and his team actually built TARS (and the other robot, CASE) from scratch in a way that could be controlled by a human. Irwin, of course, is not a robot, and TARS (as well as CASE) look nothing like the performer who brought them to the big screen. 

While speaking with Vulture, Irwin candidly opened up about the entire process, explaining just how difficult it was to control a huge robot made out of sheet metal. “We would push this thing around. At first it was a matter of gripping a cable that you’d have to grip hard,” Irwin said about the early prototype. Eventually, the process became much simpler, with Irwin described it as going “from squeezing the breaks on an old bicycle to playing a video game.”

The “puppet” stood around five feet tall and needed considerable effort to be controlled. “You operated it from behind,” Irwin explained, “pushing it, meaning you were attached at the chest and each ankle, so you could push various parts of it, and your hands are on the controls in the back of the machine.”

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