Now that Troy Kotsur has become the first deaf winner of the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in ‘CODA: The Sounds of Silence’, which won the Academy Award in the most important category of the night, Best Picture; It is good to remember that before reaching this level of fame, this interpreter had already spent a few years trying to gain a foothold in Hollywood. “This is our moment”said Kotsur in his speech of thanks dedicated to the community with disabilities, an emotional moment after which now we look back.
And we go, specifically, to the first season of ‘The Mandalorian’, galactic series for which Kotsur was hired as a consultant due to his knowledge of sign language. This actor began his collaboration with the aforementioned ‘Star Wars’ television fiction, for Chapter 5 of season 1, an episode written by Dave Filoni, executive producer of the series and one of its main creative leaders, who wisely knew how to delegate and ask an expert for help. In the script for ‘The Gunslinger’ there was a scene in which Filoni had several Sand People communicating only by gestures, a sequence for which he needed someone versed in the matter.
Kotsur himself has revealed how this collaboration was, stating that his main goal was to get as far away from American Sign Language as possibleto create a novel compendium of gestures that represented the culture of the inhabitants. “I did research on the culture and environment of the Sand People, and also on the desert and what they call Sand People. That’s what Luke Skywalker calls them, ‘Sand People.’ my goal was to avoid ASL (American Sign Language). I made sure that it became a sign language based on the culture and environment of the inhabitants“he told The Daily Moth.
Moment of opportunities (finally)
According to Kotsur, when the team of ‘The Mandalorian’ received the script for 1×05, one of its hearing members but knowledgeable about sign language, suggested that it was best to consult a deaf person to establish a solid communication by signs. Given this, the actor highlights the importance of sign language being taught to listeners, so that they become allies when it comes to giving access to opportunities such as ending up as part of our favorite distant galaxy.
In addition to helping to develop the sign language of the inhabitants, Kotsur ended up being part of the episode also in front of the cameras, playing an anonymous member of the inhabitants. As he reveals in the interview, the little cameo was a dream come true because “when I was eight years old, I dreamed of being part of ‘Star Wars’. Many, many years later, almost forty years later, [aquí estoy] it’s destiny”.