Why the Star Wars Casting Is Important

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Between the "SUPER SECRET SPOILER PICS FROM THE SET!" and the casting announcements (including today's, featuring Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie), the Star Wars publicity machine is starting to ramp up—by December of next year, there's going to be frenzy surrounding the film that will build expectations to levels so high that no film could ever meet them. Then we'll all go, and then we'll all giddily talk shit about what a huge let-down Episode VII was, and whine about how Star Wars wasn't as good as when we were kids, and on and on and on. But until then, there's something kind of great going on with the movie's casting.

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  • 12 Years a Slave

They're picking really good actors. And they're picking really good actors who have been in really good films. Films that will never, ever make even a billionth of what Star Wars will make in a single weekend. Like Nyong'o, from the great 12 Years a Slave, pictured above, and like Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac—Driver is in Girls, Isaac was in Drive, and both of them are in the amazing Inside Llewyn Davis:

And like John Boyega from Attack the Block, another phenomenal movie everybody should have seen but hardly anyone did:

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  • Attack the Block

Star Wars is a cultural monster that destroys everything it eats, but in the lead-up to Episode VII, here's my hope: That the kind of people who'll be happy to cough up $15 to see Star Wars might be intrigued enough by the new film's casting to check out where J.J. Abrams and Co. are pulling their actors from. Because they're pulling them from great places. Star Wars is as mainstream as it gets—but the fact it might point viewers to excellent films they haven't bothered to see yet is pretty fantastic. Especially since it was the original Star Wars movies that first pointed me in the direction of Kurosawa and Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia and....

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