I love this! It’s the first time we see Queen Amidala in all her glory. And really, Amidala is one of the reasons I loved Episode I when I was younger.
She always seemed so strong, so in control. I loved her accent, though I know a lot of people couldn’t figure out the point of it. I felt like it made her seem more powerful and that by having the accent, it was the same as putting on her royal robes. She knew she had to have the mindset of a queen now. Almost like getting in character.
The accent itself, though is strange. I have scoured the internet to bring you Portman’s interview on how they came up with it (CNN, 1999):
“George worked with me a lot,” she says, “on changing my voice and my movement and the way I carried myself. We worked on this accent that … kinda goes to old, older generations of actresses who used kind of an unidentifiable accent. ‘Is it American or is it British?'”
“…Yeah, I watched Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn. If you look at them, their voices and the stature is so regal, even in their everyday characters. And that’s kinda why I used it to model after.”
Observing this scene, we can notice a lot of minor differences (bolded below – forgive me if I’ve messed up) from what was in the script to what ended up on the screen.
Firstly, Queen Amidala is the sole focus of the transmission. I like that better; I think it would have been confusing if the first time we see her our eyes are also drawn to the many characters around her. I like that we get to see them a few scenes later in the film because it fleshes her out, but I appreciate keeping her solo in this scene.
Nute’s cut line is most interesting. What caught my attention right away was how it seems so out of character for him. From what we’ve seen of Nute Gunray, he’s a spineless, weak, easily persuaded Neimoidian. Even in this scene as it’s portrayed in the movie, he just meekly evades Amidala’s forceful comments. So why give him this sarcastic, sneering comment? Either way, I’m glad someone saw that it didn’t fit with his character.
Going off of that, I think this scene also presents an interesting juxtaposition between two very different characters: weak Gunray versus strong Amidala. What’s baffling is that Gunray has the Sith on his side for this fight. Why wouldn’t he act more confident? Why would the Sith even pick someone like him? I realize that his weak mind and the ability to persuade him makes him useful, but he’s not ideal.
What were your thoughts on Amidala? Remember that TPM is the only movie we see Padmé as queen.
INTERIOR: FEDERATION BATTLESHIP – BRIDGE
TEY HOW receives a transmission.
TEY HOW: Sir, a transmission from the planet.
RUNE: It’s Queen Amidala herself.
NUTE: At last we’re getting results.
On the view screen, QUEEN AMIDALA appears in her throne room. Wearing her elaborate headdress and robes, she sits, surrounded by the GOVERNING COUNCIL and FOUR HANDMAIDENS, EIRTAE, YANE, RABE, and SACHE.
NUTE: (cont’d) Again you come before me, Your highness. The Federation is pleased.
AMIDALA: You will not be pleased when you hear what I have to say,
Viceroy… Your trade boycott of our planet has ended.
NUTE smirks at RUNE.
NUTE: I was not aware of such a failure.
AMIDALA: I have word that the Senate is finally voting on this blockade of yours.
NUTE: I take it you know the outcome. I wonder why they bother to vote.
AMIDALA: Enough of this pretense, Viceroy! I’m aware the Chancellor’s
Ambassadors are with you now, and that you have been commanded to reach a settlement.
NUTE: I know nothing about any Ambassadors…you must be mistaken.
AMIDALA, surprised at his reaction, studies him carefully.
AMIDALA: Beware, Viceroy….the Federation is going too far this time.
NUTE: Your Highness, we would never do anything without the approval of the Senate. You assume too much.
AMIDALA: We will see.
The QUEEN fades off, and the view screen goes black.
RUNE: She’s right, the Senate will never….
NUTE: It’s too late now.
RUNE: Do you think she suspects an attack?
NUTE: I don’t know, but we must move quickly to disrupt all communications down there.