A group of actors will gather in Los Angeles tonight to do a live reading of The Empire Strikes Back, and at least one member of the cast may surprise you.
The reading tonight is part of a series of similar events at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) that have been orchestrated by filmmaker Jason Reitman (Juno), who is also directing tonight. What makes this event different from others in the past are two things: First, Reitman usually picks dramas or comedies -- movies heavy on dialogue -- so reading the script for a movie filled with visual effects is a striking departure. Second, the cast he's assembled for the read also contains one thought-provoking choice:
Luke Skywalker - Aaron Paul
Han Solo - Ellen Page
Princess Leia - Jessica Alba
Darth Vader - J.K. Simmons
C-3P0 - Stephen Merchant
Lando Calrissian - Dennis Haysbert
Yoda - Kevin Pollak
Yes, that's Ellen Page -- also of Juno fame, but known to genre fans for Inception and as Kitty Pryde in the X-Men movies -- playing Han Solo. Reitman told EW about his choice: "In casting Han, the most important thing is: who has the most interesting, ironic approach to life? And when I think of that, I think of Ellen Page. She’s a small human being who has the energy to fill Madison Square Garden."
Sure. she's not the first person to spring to mind to play everyone's favorite Corellian smuggler, but Page is a terrific actor and will undoubtedly bring a slant to Han that we're not likely to see or hear again.
As for the rest of the cast -- J.K. Simmons as Darth Vader? Aaron Paul as Luke? Kevin Pollak as Yoda? Sold.
Tickets to this thing are long sold out -- it was actually moved from LACMA to a bigger theater downtown to accommodate the audience -- but we're sure we'll hear about the evening's performance from those lucky enough to attend (they're intended as special events and are not recorded or filmed in any way).
As for the rest of us, we can take comfort from the fact that exactly one year from today -- December 18, 2015 -- Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters everywhere.
(via The Playlist)