If you’re playing at home with your official Star Wars Episode VII Casting Scorecard, you can now scratch Saoirse Ronan off the list. And yes, this is news insofar as she was a name heavily rumoured to feature in the new film.
“I don’t have ‘Star Wars.’ I don’t have the role,” Ronan said, sounding kind of defeated. “I just shouldn’t have said anything. I just auditioned for it, like everyone else did.” When we asked about the audition process, she said, “To pretend that you have a lightsaber in a scene is always very exciting. It would be great. But it’s something that everyone’s gone up for.”
Meanwhile, David Prowse (who was the physical presence of Darth Vader for much of the original trilogy) had this to say regarding the UK open auditions:
It’s an interesting way to go about it.
There is a fantastic amount of talent out there just waiting to be discovered, and there is so much interest in Star Wars.
The spin on the article, however, places initial emphasis on Prowse’s lingering disappointment at being dubbed over by James Earl Jones, possibly due to his Bristol accent:
He told people going to Bristol for the open casting sessions for Star Wars: Episode VII to be “very, very serious about the whole thing”.
“You can’t go ‘oo-aar my dear here’s my lightsaber,” he said.
And finally, Star Wars/Empire producer Gary Kurtz shared his thoughts on the casting process for Episode VII:
Doing open auditions makes sense to me. Some of the more recent films they cast star names. I think they never bothered to test them with other people and sometimes when you do that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of chemistry on the screen.
I think JJ Abrams is a really good choice to direct the new film. From what I can see he loves the Star Wars mythology and the early films. He’s a fine film-maker and knows how to present stories. The fact that they are doing a new trilogy and a series of separate origins movies as well means they have an opportunity to do quite a few different things. It might be overkill, but having all these characters doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Marvel films. And Disney seems to have made a real success of those.
Kurtz’s vote of confidence in Abrams will no doubt buoy the hopes of some in the “old-school Star Wars” fan community (warranted or not). It’s a pretty interesting piece, however, and is well worth reading.