May 02, 2014

Star Wars Veterans Ford, Fisher and Hamill Return For New Film - Updated


Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will reprise their roles as Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker in a new Star Wars film, Disney has confirmed.
And while Hollywood's most lucrative space opera may be set in a galaxy far, far away, Britain will be well represented. The British actors Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker, who played C-3PO, Chewbacca and R2-D2 in the original Star Wars in 1977, will also return for Star Wars: Episode VII, filming of which will begin at Pinewood Studios, near London, next month.



Newcomers to the franchise will include Andy Serkis, the English star who played Gollum in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, and John Boyega, previously best known for the low-budget science fiction film Attack the Block. Other new cast members include the American Adam Driver, from the TV comedy Girls, who is tipped to play an as yet unnamed villain.

The Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, who played Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and the American Oscar Isaac, who appeared in Inside Llewyn Davis, will also appear. They will be joined by the little-known actress Daisy Ridley, and the Swedish veteran Max von Sydow.

"We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud," said the director JJ Abrams, who recently revamped the Star Trek franchise.

The decision to feature familiar faces may signal an attempt by Abrams to recapture the spirit of the original Star Wars trilogy. In an interview with The Times last year he said that he agreed with aficionados who believed that Episode VII, which is scheduled for release on December 18, 2015, should return to the franchise's roots — and be a space western. His comments suggested a departure from the prequels released between 1999 and 2005, where much of the plot revolved around a galactic council meeting.

Disney, which bought Lucasfilm, the owner of the Star Wars franchise, for $4 billion in 2012, had previously said that Star Wars: Episode VII would be set about 30 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi.


By Rhys Blakely
Top picture:

The Star Wars website shows an Episode VII read-through at Pinewood studios with (clockwise from top centre right) director JJ Abrams, Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, producers Bryan Burk and Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Writer Lawrence Kasdan. Source: Supplied


Above: picture credit - Big Quote
With thanks to The Australian


Tunisia uses Star Wars to rescue tourism

IMPERIAL stormtroopers are set to march through Tunisia's capital as part of a new effort to attract tourists and burnish the image of the North African country. 

Tunisia's national tourism office is collaborating with the local Star Wars fan club to hold a convention starting on Wednesday in the country, which boasts sets from the popular science fiction film franchise deep in the desert.

The campaign also features a Star Wars-themed online video set to the tune of Pharrell Williams' popular hit Happy, involving characters from the films.

Tunisia's beach resorts were a popular destination for European tourists but many stayed away after the 2011 overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Tourists have been slowly returning and the new campaign seeks to promote lesser-known Tunisian attractions.


With thanks to The Australian

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'Star Wars: Episode VII' has a title: 'The Force Awakens'


If you feel a disturbance in the Force, it’s millions of voices suddenly crying out the new title of Star Wars: Episode VIIThe Force Awakens.

The reveal comes as the movie finishes its final day of shooting (with many more months of post-production to come).

Now the heavy-duty fans will weigh in, and their judgment tends to be far less forgiving than The Emperor or Darth Vader. The one thing we can all agree on is it beats the hell out of The Phantom Menace, and although it strikes a little close to the vanilla side, it may be reassuring to some who are glad the new trilogy is going tried-and-true rather than skewing campy, vague, or avant-garde.

It does raise one question: Has the Force been … slumbering? We certainly saw it help Luke Skywalker launch those proton torpedoes into the thermal exhaust port of the original Death Star, and as “Weird Al” Yankovic sang in his immortal Kinks spoof Yoda “I picked up a box / I lifted some rocks / While I stood on my head.” The Force was certainly at work there, right. And the Dark Side was getting a workout helping Darth Vader crush windpipes of the people who disappointed him.

But remember Han Solo dismissing talk of the Force with “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” Maybe this energy that binds the galaxy together has only been visible to a select few, while the denizens of the galaxy put their faith in the science and technology of interstellar travel?

Whatever the case, the Force is hitting the snooze button for now. We won’t know the full story until 13 months from now.

The cast and crew of the J.J. Abrams film already celebrated their wrap party last weekend, although sources told EW there were still a few days left before the cameras at Pinewood Studios outside London. The shoot — spanning from the deserts of Abu Dhabi to the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England — was anything but smooth, having been thrown into crisis after Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford, broke his leg on set in an accident involving a falling door on the Millennium Falcon.

The set was also plagued by spoiler leaks — or was it? The flow of rumors and apparent concept images has been non-stop, but how much of it is accurate remains an open question. The grapevine got the title wrong, with some fan sites such as Ain’t It Cool News grabbing headlines by reporting that it had confirmed the film would be called The Ancient Fear.

Of course, Return of the Jedi was filmed under the fake title Blue Harvest, a common technique on high profile films to remain slightly more low-key. (The Avengers, for instance, was nicknamed Group Hug.)

The new Star Wars film, which picks up three decades after the events of Return of the Jedi, is headlined by original trilogy stars Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), with new additions including Lupita Nyong’o (the best supporting actress Oscar-winner from 12 Years a Slave) and Gwendoline Christie, the 6-foot-3 British actress best known as the female knight Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones.

Other new additions include Adam Driver (Girls), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), John Boyega (Attack the Block), newcomer Daisy Ridley, performance-capture maestro Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time), and the imperious Max von Sydow from The Exorcist.
Episode VII, er … The Force Awakens, produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and veteran Abrams collaborator Bryan Burke,  is set for release Dec. 18, 2015.

With thanks to Inside Movies

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