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Star Wars a career highlight for Warren the puppeteer

warren Star Wars
Puppeteer and model builder Warren Duxbury working on the Millennium Falcon with the help of some of his creations.

When you’re next watching Star Wars – Episode Two: Attack of The Clones keep an eye out for Quarren, played by Bundaberg school teacher Warren Duxbury.

Through a thrilling career as a puppeteer, Warren has worked with George Lucas on Star Wars.

But that's not his only claim to fame, having also rebuilt Australia’s favourite puppet Agro and he worked with the Henson Muppeteers.

Warren said over the years he had been part of many exciting projects and happened to be “in the right place at the right time” for his involvement in Star Wars.

“I was working at Foxtel when the call came in asking for all the puppeteers to be sent over – well I was the only one there,” Warren said.

“I was under the impression I was going to the set of Moulin Rouge, but to my surprise it was actually for Star Wars!

“Ewan McGregor was the lead for both, so the sets were set up near each.”

Warren steps into various roles on Star Wars set

Warren said originally, he was tasked as only a puppeteer on the set of Star Wars, but when the cast fell short he was asked to step into character and he played both Ketwol and Quarren.

“I played the Quarren Senator's Aide and can be clearly seen clapping after the Supreme Chancellor is given Emergency Powers in the Senate,” he said.

“I actually then got the nickname Warren the Quarren – ha!”

Warren said he was given the role as one of the background directors for Star Wars – Episode Two: Attack of The Clones.

“I was put in charge of various creatures, as were others in the department. I had to give them background direction whilst George Lucas was directing his actors,” he said.

“It was a very surreal feeling to be telling a person in costume what actions they should be doing, while George is only a metre away saying, ‘Now Ewan… I need you to jump from this yellow speeder and run through the crowd in that direction’.

warren Star Wars
Puppeteer and model builder Warren Duxbury with a Tusken from Star Wars.

Stars Wars a highlight in long puppeteer career

Warren said working on the Star Wars set had been a major highlight in his career which had come about after many years of dabbling in the art of puppetry.

He said it was serendipitous to end up in situations that entertainment buffs would be envious of.

It all started for Warren in the mid-1990s when he travelled to London to help master his skills working with Henson Muppeteers at Nickelodeon.

“I was a camera operator and on set there was always two puppets along with the human host,” Warren said.

“One day, one of the puppeteers got caught up in the London underground strike and was stuck on the tube for half the day.

“With my puppet experience I had learned how to mimic the voice and movements, so when he couldn’t turn up for the show, I stepped in. I did it all and the guys upstairs didn’t even know.

“I’ve been pretty lucky to stumble into these situations by being at the right place at the right time!”

Nowadays, Warren has switched up most of his puppeteer work to enjoy a simpler life in the local region as a teacher at Bundaberg State High School.

“Star Wars is definitely a highlight for me, and I got to the stage when I didn’t know how I would top that in my career, so I went on to study film and media and became a teacher,” he said.

“There’s no better place than Bargara.

“I love teaching, a lot of my students go off and work the industry and that makes it easy to love doing what I do.”

warren Star Wars
Puppeteer and model builder Warren Duxbury and Agro

Warren still lends a hand to help Agro

Although Warren may now seem far, far away from the studio sets in Sydney, he is never out of reach to help his good friend Jamie Dunn and the loveable “bathmat” Agro.

In 2001 Channel Seven Productions enlisted Warren’s puppeteer and puppet builder skills to rebuild Agro, because the original puppet had deteriorated beyond repair.

“I was asked to refurbish Agro by the producer, and the moment she pulled him out of the bag I could see he was really starting to disintegrate,” Warren said.

“He was already about 20 years old and had lived a life of dog mauling to having yoghurt tipped over him – he was battered.

“Because I knew the Hensen stitch technique I was able to not only repair him but make a replicate – which actually lives with me at my home, ready for Jamie to swap over in short notice or when they are here visiting.”

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