Diego Luna grew up in show business. Born to a British costume designer, Fiona Alexander, and Mexican set designer, Alejandro Luna, everything he ever knew was in the film industry. However, Luna didn’t have long to know his mother. When he was two years old, his mother died in a car accident. Thereafter, Luna grew close to his father and followed in his footsteps, becoming an actor when he was just 6 years old.
In an interview with SF Gate, Luna described his relationship with his father as “the most intense and important relationship in my life. My father is my best friend.” Such a close relationship drove him to aspire to greatness in his career, leading up to the time when he would ultimately land the role of a lifetime in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
He grew up in a family who loved Star Wars. Luna described his first introduction to Star Wars in an interview with USA Today, “I remember wanting to like (Star Wars) and wanting to be part of the world of my grown-up cousins. I watched it, I became part of that clan, and since then I’ve been a huge fan.”
Luna has a strong history in filmmaking, having spent the majority of his career in Mexican telenovelas and landing roles in notable films like Milk and The Terminal, while also becoming a producer and director. His breakthrough role, however, arrived with his heroic part in Rogue One.
Luna plays the role of Cassian Andor, a captain of the Rebel Alliance. Luna’s character must join forces with Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, to retrieve the plans for the Death Star and get them to the Rebel Alliance before it’s too late.
Since the moment Luna landed the role, his relationship with his son has completely changed. In an interview with Good Morning America he said, “When I told him he just went crazy. Work normally used to separate us. He hated my job.”
Luna has two children with ex-wife, Mexican singer and actress, Camila Sodi. They divorced in 2013, keeping joint custody of their children Jerónimo (age 8) and Fiona (age 6), named after Diego’s late mother.
Luna’s son would ask him,”‘Where are you going? Why for a month?’ You’re going to leave me here.'”
His relationship already strained with his son after divorce, having to leave his son for months at a time to work on new film projects made it even harder to have a strong relationship with his son. That all changed when he landed the role for Star Wars. He became the hero in their lives again.
“Now he’s like, ‘Dad, you’ve got to go! It’s 6 AM in the morning.’ That talk you have when they’re going to go to school – it was the other way around. [He would tell me] ‘Make sure you do what the director says!'”
Luna’s role in Star Wars has, in effect, greatly improved his relationship with his son and daughter. He said in an interview with Kelly Ripa “It is so special to share [my] work and connect [with him,] also as a fan!”
In fact, when Luna first arrived on set for Star Wars he was ecstatic to see Star Wars behind the scenes. When he first met director Gareth Edwards, he described how he heard the token breathing of the famous Darth Vader from behind them. He started freaking out. “I could see Gareth’s face, and he had the same expression. We were suddenly six-year-old kids again. And we turn around and there he is. Darth Vader.”
While filming, Luna was able to bring both of his children to the set. Upon seeing the entire Star Wars world come to life, Luna’s son said, ‘This is paradise! We’re never going to go back home, right?'”
Backstage, Luna was able to watch 20 minutes of the movie with his son. When Luna came on-screen his son turned to him and said, “‘Dad. That’s you. But is it really you? Am I really seeing you in a Star Wars Film?’ and I go YES! I was feeling the exact same way! I just wanted someone to remind me this wasn’t a dream.”
Landing a heroic, lead role in Star Wars was certainly a dream for Luna. But more than that, it gave him the opportunity to strengthen his relationship with his son and connect with him in an entirely new way.
“[Star Wars] is about the people. It’s about heroes like you and I. Regular people doing extraordinary things.”
Not only is Luna the hero of Rogue One, but he’s a hero most importantly in the eyes of his son and daughter. Through his role in this film, Luna has been able to show his children that “we [can] all be part of change. We can all make great things happen. If we leave differences aside, we can be very powerful.”
Rogue One is in theaters now. Check your local listings for tickets.