The actress said that when she auditioned for the role of CGI character Maz Kanata in the new film in the iconic space franchise, she had no idea what the meeting was even for.
“I didn’t really know what I was auditioning for. I knew I was going in for J.J. [Abrams], but I was so busy,” she revealed Tuesday during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
“I guess I thought I should find work, ya know,” the 32-year-old star joked, adding, “I was so busy, I was working with adrenaline so I went in and out. I barely remember that audition, and then two months later [Abrams] called me.”
In The Force Awakens, Nyong’o plays a short-statured orange pirate.
The star told DeGeneres that she simply read from a substitute script during the audition, and it wasn’t until later (while she was vacationing in Morocco) that she found out that she had, not only, gotten the part, but also, that it was in Star Wars.
See exclusive photos, get a first look at new characters and learn more secrets from the cast and crew of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in PEOPLE’s Star Wars collector’s edition, on newsstands now. And for more exclusive Star Wars news, come back to PEOPLE.com every day until it hits theaters Dec. 18
The motion-capture role required Nyong’o to wear tiny “dots” on her face to correctly record her expressions – over 125 of them, to be exact.
The plastic sticker-like dots took between 45 minutes to two-and-a-half hours to apply, she told DeGeneres, and covered her teeth and lips. So what happened when the star needed a snack or to quench her thirst?
As there was no time to reapply, Nyong’o simply incorporated the dots into her diet.
She said, “I would just eat the dots!”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters nationwide on Dec. 18.