Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are now household names, but prior to the release of Star Wars in 1977 they more all more or less unheard of. In the spirit of finding new talent, Disney also held open casting sessions across the US and UK for Star Wars: Episode VII and auditioned over 37,000 actors, plus 30,000 hopefuls who submitted applications online.
Star Wars: Episode VII will feature Attack the Block star John Boyega and newcomer Daisy Ridley among its lesser-known leading cast members, but Lucasfilm has now announced that the exhaustive series of open auditions have produced two new additions: stage actor Crystal Clarke and parkour expert Pip Andersen.
Neither of these actors has appeared in a feature film before, though Clarke will make her feature debut next year in a fantasy adventure film called The Moon and the Sun, which also stars Pierce Brosnan and Bingbing Fan. Andersen is currently best known for his athletic skills, and a couple of years ago was featured in an Amazing Spider-Man themed Sony commercial, where he played a guy called Peter
Parker Wilson who takes an unusual route to work. Check out the commercial below.
Lucasfilm did not give any details as to who Andersen and Clarke will be playing, though that's not too surprising since the plot of the movie is being kept tightly under wraps. The press release did, however, offer an update on filming. Production in Abu Dhabi was wrapped in May and now all filming is taking place at Pinewood Studios in London. In August, filming will go on hiatus for two weeks to allow for adjustments being made to the schedule, since Harrison Ford is still recovering from a broken leg.
Producer Kathleen Kennedy stated that Disney and Lucasfilm's intention in casting was to remain "absolutely faithful" to the Star Wars franchise's tradition of "discovering and nurturing young talent." While there are a few big names in Star Wars: Episode VII, it's always interesting when unknown actors are thrown into the mix, because we're never quite sure what to expect of them.
Assuming that Andersen's parkour skills were a significant factor in his casting, what are your theories on how they might come into play?
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters on December 18th, 2015.