Thursday, December 18, 2014

Star Wars: Andy Serkis Nixes A Rumor

Despite the rumors that say otherwise, actor Andy Serkis tells Entertainment Weekly that he is only playing one character in J J. Abrams' "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens".

The mo-cap guru was asked about chatter that he was playing both a live-action character, and a CG motion capture character in the film: “No that's not true at all. I can say I only play one character."

Asked if his role is a CG or live-action, he says: "I can't say a single thing about that. I'm sorry. These things will all come out in the fullness of time, I promise." Adding that: "The character has been through some stuff."

He also confirmed that his voiceover heard in the teaser trailer was not altered, that's his actual voice in character: "That is the character. There's no digital manipulation. That's just me".

 Serkis also says that he had no idea his voice would play such a prominent role in the peek: "Director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told me, 'You're all over the trailer,' but I didn't know what that meant. I thought, 'Oh great, they're using the voice of the character I play for the trailer. That's fantastic.' Not thinking what that would actually translate into."

Original Trilogy stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker Harrison Ford as Han Solo  and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Peter Mayhew playing the legendary Wookiee Chewbacca, and Kenny Baker as Astro droid R2 D2 will be back. Warwick Davis is in the film says Variety. Davis has already appeared in two films in the series 1983's "Return of the Jedi" and 1999's "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace".

Franchise creator George Lucas told Bloomberg Businessweek that he begun talks with original stars to have them return for new films -- before he had even begun the process of the ultimately $2 billion dollar sale. It's been said that Lucas' actually spent about a year planning the franchise's future before handing the reigns of Lucasfilm over to Disney.

The new cast members also include John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson,Christina Chong and  Max von Sydow as a villain character. 12 Years a Slave Best Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong'o and Game of Thrones co-star Gwendoline Christie have officially been cast in the film as well. Parkour master Pip Andersen and actress Crystal Clarke have joined the sequel--the pair were two of the 37,000 or so hopefuls who attended casting calls across eleven cities. Miltos Yerolemou, who had a small but memorable role as Arya Stark's sword trainer in the first season of "Game of Thrones," has joined the cast of in an undisclosed role reports The BBC. The role is said to be a minor one. Greg Grunberg has a role in the pic.

A series of trading cards recently revealed  that Isaac will play a character called Poe Dameron,  Ridley is Rey, Boyega is Finn, the dark hooded Sith character is called Kylo Ren, and the soccer ball droid is BB-8. Stitch Kingdom reports that the studio have registered trademark applications for all of these characters and one more - Captain Phasma.

Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid who played Emperor Palpatine attended the 2014 London Film and Comic Con and confirmed that he would not return to the "Star Wars" universe in the  upcoming trilogy--but he didn't rule out a return in a potential spin-off pre-Return of the Jedi:

"I'm definitely not in [Episode VII]. As you know, he's dead by then. I know, we believe in reincarnation, and holograms… But you know, they are going to take many twists on the story as the years go on, and I guess they may go back to a time - I've got no clue, I'm speaking off the top of my head - when the Emperor ran the universe. And I don't want anyone else to play him, do I?"

In a recent post Latino Review claims that Palpatine is part of the new trilogy after all--though played by another actor...

James Earl Jones, the man behind the voice of Star Wars villain Darth Vader was asked by Variety recently about the possibility of playing the character in more films, perhaps one of the Spin-Off Films for example set before "Return of the Jedi". He said: "Oh no. I've got no illusions that I will or even hankerings to be in them, but I'm very proud to have been part of the original."

Actor was asked by HeyUGuys whether he'd been invited back to play his character from Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace--Qui-Gon Jinn in the franchise...While the answer was "No" He said that he would be up for a comeback.

Abrams wrote the script with Lawrence Kasdan for the film. Oscar winner Michael Arndt ("Toy Story 3," "Little Miss Sunshine") vacated his job scripting the next film--after disagreements over which characters the film will focus on.

Kasdan ("The Empire Strikes Back," "Raiders of the Lost Ark") and Simon Kinberg ("Sherlock Holmes," "X-Men: Days of Future Past") have reportedly closed deals to pen the final two installments of the new "Star Wars" trilogy. Kasdan and Kinberg are also indeed writing the stand alone/origin Star Wars features. Company CEO Robert A. Iger recently revealed that the studio has three features in the works - not two as previously indicated.  "Godzilla" reboot director Gareth Edwards is going to direct the first of the upcoming Star Wars Spin-Off Films. "Fantastic Four" reboot and "Chronicle" director Josh Trank is officially set to direct the as yet Untitled Number 2 stand alone spin-off film.

The plan is to have each of these films come out in the years when we don't see a new episode of the saga - They would come out in 2016, 2018 and 2020. We still don't know which characters these spin-offs will focus on. Current franchise chief,
Kathleen Kennedy spoke to Yahoo about the stand-alone films saying that they will NOT affect the main narrative of the Episodes.

While the character was rumored to be getting a solo film last month--Cinelinx posts that the studios are developing a separate trilogy of spin-off films dedicated to the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi--set between the prequel and original trilogy. Their source says:

"First up, they are not talking about an Obi-Wan spin-off movie but a trilogy of Obi-Wan movies . I need to stress that these movies are not connected. They aren't part of a story arc but three separate Obi-Wan adventures set between Episodes III and IV. It seems like the three movie ideas are as follows: One set completely on Tatooine and two where Obi-Wan travels elsewhere in the Galaxy. Qui-Gon Jinn is very much present in these stories. So too is Owen Lars . Several characters from the 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' TV Series would make an appearance. There would be flashbacks to Obi-Wan fighting in the Clone Wars."

Looking ahead "Looper" and "Brick" writer-director Rian Johnson has inked a deal to both pen and call action on "Star Wars: Episode VIII" as well as write a treatment for "Star Wars: Episode IX".

The Avengers: Age of Ultron star Mark Ruffalo previously worked with Johnson on The Brothers Bloom, with Ruffalo playing one half of a brotherly con act. In a recent interview with Collider Ruffalo tells the site that he contacted Johnson to tell him  that he wants to be in the sequel.

Kasdan and Kinberg would also join the projects as producers with Kennedy.

Series MVP composer John Williams is set to score the film as well as Episode VIII and Episode IX.

There was
a scheduled two-week production hiatus in August to allow for adjustments in the shooting schedule following Ford's recovery from that injury where he  broke his left leg. The injury is also said to have happened during filming on a top secret set rather than on the Millennium Falcon set as was widely reported.

Production took place mainly at Pinewood Studio in England. The film has a confirmed release date of December 18, 2015

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