Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: The Cast of STAR WARS: EPISODE VII

The rumors had been swirling about like a Tatooine sandstorm for months…that the long-awaited announcement of the cast of STAR WARS: EPISODE VII would come on May 4th…pop culture’s new STAR WARS Day. In what appears to be a successful effort to get out ahead of the inevitable leaks, LucasFilm and Disney today dropped the casting bomb the galaxy had been waiting for.
Original cast members Harrison Ford, Mark Hamil, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, and Anthony Daniels have been confirmed, along with new faces to the STAR WARS universe which include John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. Disney and LucasFilm also released this photo of the cast in what appears to be the first official script-reading: 

Having the original cast back together again is beyond exciting. But the new faces are a reason to get giddy as well. This is who they are and where they have been:
John Boyega – The 22-year old English actor is best known for his role in the critically acclaimed sci-fi film ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011), for which he won several awards.

Daisy Ridley – She is the least known out of the new cast. She is an English actress with several credits on BBC-TV. EPISODE VII will be her second big-screen credit.
Oscar Isaac – The 35 year old Isaac had the lead role in the Coen Bros’ magnificent INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS last year for which he was nominated and won several awards, and had a great supporting turn in the acclaimed DRIVE from 2011.

Adam Driver – Driver has appeared in J. EDGAR (2011), LINCOLN (2012), and last year’s INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. He was nominated for his performance in TV’s GIRLS.
Andy Serkis – An English actor, director, and author…Serkis is celebrated for his groundbreaking motion-capture work in THE LORD OF THE RINGS (2001-2003), THE HOBBIT (2012-2014), KING KONG (2005), RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011), and THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011).

Domhnall Gleeson – The 30 year old Irish actor has acted on stage and screen and won a Tony Award. He played Bill Weasley in the final two HARRY POTTER films, and also appeared in TRUE GRIT (2010), and ANNA KARENINA (2012). He is the son of actor Brendan Gleeson (HARRY POTTER, GANGS OF NEW YORK).
Max von Sydow – Probably the biggest surprise out of them all is one of the most respected and seasoned actors in the galaxy. The 85-year old’s long list of film-credits (beginning in 1949) include THE SEVENTH SEAL (1957), THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (1965), THE EXORICST (1973), FLASH GORDON (1980), NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983), PELLE THE CONQUEROR (1987), and EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE (2012).

Aside from the outright chills that come knowing that the original Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C3PO will be back together on the big screen, the diverse nature of the cast is a reason to celebrate. It is a perfect mix of seasoned veterans and fresh-faced newcomers…along with formidable talent that falls in-between the two extremes. We don’t yet know the specifics of the roles, but this is a great first step into a larger world.


STAR WARS: EPISODE VII is slated for a December 2015 release. It is directed by J.J. Abrams (STAR TREK, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III) and is written by Lawrence Kasdan (THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK).


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