One of the best things about Andor is the baddies, and one of the worst in the show is Dedra Meero (Denise Gough), a steely-eyed Imperial Officer who wants to climb the Imperial ladder no matter the cost. Turns out the inspiration for that character came from Gough’s own mother.
In a recent interview with Empire, Gough opened up about playing the character and how she nailed that oppressive tone. Dedra is different from previous Star Wars bad guys like Palpatine, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, because she doesn’t use the force.
What she does use is her face. She manifests a scowl that simultaneously terrifies and impresses, and it’s especially impressive considered she doesn’t have any accessories like a cape or lightsabers.
“My mother used to say to me, ‘You need to smile, because you can look quite sour if you don’t,’” Gough said. “I have a naturally downturned mouth.”
One of Gough’s standout moments from the show happens when she’s interrogating and torturing Bix (Adria Arjona) for info on Cassian. “When I watched it, I was like, ‘How did I get my face to twitch there?’ I can’t do that now! If I tried to do that for you, it’s not possible.” That twitch became so powerful and iconic because Dedra character practices a certain stillness.
“Ben Caron [director] set up my character. Initially, Dedra was fixing her belt, doing her thing, and he went, ‘It’s a bit swishy. Don’t do any swish. Try it with your hands behind your back.’ And that was it. Everything was really economical. She became still.”
Andor is currently streaming on Disney Plus.