Episode III Released on DVD
Q. Do friends and family ever ask you [Frank Oz] to do Yoda on their phone answering machines?
A. Yep. And I always say no. He’s not a party trick. He’s not a trained monkey. And I’m not a man like Mel Blanc, who’s a brilliant man of voices. I’m a man of characters; I immerse myself in the characters and the voices just come. There are always reasons why a particular character sounds and talks the way he does. If not, he’s just being cute. And I hate the pejorative cute.
Q. How, then, did you prepare for the part of Yoda?
A. I just rehearsed and rehearsed incessantly for weeks. I studied tapes of old men’s voices. And I wrote an autobiography of the character with his likes and his dislikes, so I knew them innately, even if nobody else did.
Q. So . . . care to let us in on what Yoda likes?
A. Yoda really likes candy. Any kind of candy. And now that he’s older, he can’t do it because of the teeth.
With the release of the Episode 3 DVD, there’s a good interview with Rick McCallum and Frank Oz in the Chicago Tribune, and a good interview with Lucas in the London Free Press.