Star Wars: Episode VII Open Casting Calls: Is There A New Hope?

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With them was one more serious actor, Davon Roberts, who was there because of the potential career opportunities, though he wasn’t willing to totally forsake his fandom.

“If I can stand in line for (a role as an extra in) Divergent where I knew nothing about it and it was colder than this, I can definitely stand in line for something I’ve loved since I was 10,” said Roberts.

Roberts wasn’t the only serious actor that I met either. In fact, a lot of people I spoke with had some form of acting experience, whether it be independent films, school productions, or at various levels in the Chicago theater scene. I assumed it’d be mostly fanboys, dressed in Storm Trooper outfits or at least Jedi Robes, but surprisingly, I saw none of that. I heard there was one guy in a Storm Trooper suit, but that was it. Somehow the majority were able to restrain themselves, and the serious actors prevailed. One group of four I spoke with traveled down from a performing arts charter school in Wisconsin just to audition.

The four high schoolers were almost into the theater when I caught up with them, with less than 40 people between them and the warmth of the Park West doors. Elizabeth Pfaff, Matt Hawk, John Smith, and Katie Faracy had been in line for over 6 hours to get to where they were, and they were absolutely thrilled about the opportunity. For the most part, they have theater backgrounds and said they didn’t have much experience acting for film, but the opportunity to make their case for a role in a franchise the magnitude of Star Wars was one they weren’t willing to miss.

I asked what they thought about those who are saying that Disney is just doing this as promotion, and aren’t really looking to cast someone at all. That didn’t phase anyone in the group, as they all still remained hopeful despite what the bloggers think.

“In order to have a full length movie you need several people,” Pfaff said with a laugh. “I don’t know what they’re looking for but they’ll need a lot of extras. So if they’re like, ‘Hey, you would look good as this green girl on planet whatever,’ then so be it. I don’t think it’s just for publicity.”

That seemed to be the attitude most in line were taking on the matter. They believed that Disney may not actually be looking for two major characters, but are likely scouting out contenders for minor roles or extras, and most seemed content with that fact.

In terms of my thoughts on the publicity argument, I’ll say this: if there’s one franchise that doesn’t need to do anything for publicity, it’s Star Wars. Excitement has been at a fervor since the moment the new film was announced, and no amount of public casting calls or gimmicks is going to make anyone more excited for these movies than they already are.

That being said, I don’t know that I believe they’re really going to cast two major roles with totally unknown actors, and that suspicion was confirmed further by the first post-audition pair I spoke with.

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