J.J. Abrams’ highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII might be in the middle of filming — and the production might be just a touch waylaid by Harrison Ford’s injury (more on that later) — but that doesn’t mean that the film has completed casting. In fact, the franchise feature has just added a pair of new actors, thanks to a series of opening casting calls that were specifically aimed at finding fresh talent.
StarWars.com reports (via The Hollywood Reporter) that American actress Crystal Clarke and British actor Pip Andersen have now joined the cast, though their roles are currently undisclosed. The pair were cast thanks to a protracted series of casting calls that occurred late last year, when Lucasfilm and Disney held a number of calls across the U.S. and the U.K. According to StarWars.com, a stunning 37,000 aspiring talents turned out for the in-person casting calls, with an additional 30,000 applying online. Suffice it to say, Clarke and Andersen have been plucked from a massive pool of talent and are in for some major career boosts.
The site reports that Clarke “is an American actress studying in Glasgow, UK, who has both stage and screen acting experience and is soon to be seen in her first feature,The Moon and the Sun (to be released in 2015). British actor Pip Andersen is a skilled practitioner of parkour, a discipline that involves propelling oneself through any given environment with incredible grace and agility. Pip recently demonstrated this remarkable skill in a Spider-Man ad for Sony.” Parkour, you say? Now that’s an interesting little twist. (Tee hee.)
Although their roles have not yet been revealed, THR reminds us that a Chicago Tribune report from last November regarding the open casting call included character descriptions for both roles, then known as Rachel and Thomas. “Rachel was described as ‘street smart, independent, athletic, natural beauty’ while Thomas has ‘grown up without a father’s influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn’t have the strongest sense of himself.'” Sounds like we might have two opposing side of the Force joining up with the film.
As Lucasfilm president and Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy shares, “The Star Wars universe has always been about discovering and nurturing young talent and in casting Episode VII we wanted to remain absolutely faithful to this tradition. We are delighted that so many travelled to see us at the open casting calls and that we have been able to make Crystal and Pip a part of the film.”
The film has now wrapped the Abu Dhabi portion of its filming and is currently lensing at London’s Pinewood Studios. The film will next take “a brief two-week hiatus while adjustments to the current production schedule are made as actor Harrison Ford recovers from a leg injury. Harrison is doing well and is looking forward to returning to the set soon. Shooting remains on track to wrap in the fall with the film scheduled for release on December 18, 2015.”
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