Tag Archives: andy serkis

Episode VIII begins production; Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran join cast

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StarWars.com has the official announcement that Episode VIII has begun production at Pinewood this morning. It adds officially adds three new actors: Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran. (Entertainment Weekly takes a look at Tran’s previous work.)

Returning from The Force Awakens are Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis.

Video footage shows director Rian Johnson, Hamill and Ridley filming on Skellig Micheal in September, and a hint as to where VIII picks up…


…Or is it? Note that only one shot – Ridley holding out the saber – is actually a close duplicate to what we saw in The Force Awakens. While they may be keeping things less restrictive this time, let’s not put too much faith in what they’re willing to show us.

Meanwhile, as the day winds down…

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Tonight in The Force Awakens: Red carpet shenanigans

mark-redcarpetI was only able to see about half the world premiere red carpet livestream, but I did catch the most magical part: Carrie Fisher interviewing Oscar Isaac. Or attempting to interview. Whatever it was, it was wonderful, and you can watch it on Youtube.

I wasn’t able to collect tweets, but here are some from The Hollywood Reporter, Jedi News and @bahnree. There are also pictures at Variety and The Wrap. (The best. Or maybe…)

UPDATE: Kathleen Kennedy’s speech inside the theater and some of the first reactions.

→ Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams talked to /Film on how they collaborated with Episode VIII writer/director Rian Johnson, and how IX director Colin Trevorrow will likely work in.

Wired takes a look at Sphero, and how exactly BB-8 was a boon for them.

→ Some great The Force Awakens fashions by designer Catherine Elhoffer. You may have seen them on the red carpet tonight!

→ Andy Serkis ‘confirms’ evil Jar Jar on Conan.

→ Korean boy band EXO has an (authorized) song called ‘Lightsaber’. We truly live in an age of wonders.

J.J. Abrams teases Mark Hamill’s ‘absence’ in new Force for Change video

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J.J. Abrams and the cast of The Force Awakens talk about the new Omaze initiative today. It launched with help from Harrison Ford last week, but a key cast member is missing from this one. However, it does end with a ‘to be continued…’


For more information on the charities selected by the cast, head to StarWars.com.

The Force Awakens: How tall is a Snoke?

snokeAndy Serkis talks to Empire about filming his scenes as Supreme Leader Snoke… Who is supreme in any number of ways. Namely, he is tall.

“It was quite an unusual situation,” Serkis tells us in the new issue of Empire. “I worked specifically with Domhnall Gleeson and with Adam Driver. My first day was basically standing on a 25-foot podium doing Lord Snoke without the faintest idea what he looked like… or in fact who he was! I was very high up, totally on my own, away from everybody else, but acting with them.”

Echoing his comments to Entertainment Weekly, Serkis also calls the character “severely damaged.”

Serkis on Snoke: “It’s the first time I’ve been on set not yet knowing what the character’s gonna look like.”

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Andy Serkis didn’t know what Supreme Leader Snoke looked like at first, either, he tells Entertainment Weekly. “It’s the first time I’ve been on set not yet knowing what the character’s gonna look like. I mean talk about secrecy!” And his look was changing throughout filming of The Force Awakens:

“When we first started working on it, he had some rough notions of how Snoke was gonna look, but it really hadn’t been fully-formed and it almost came out of discussion and performance,” Serkis says.

He’s too “tall” and “extreme” for prosthetics, Serkis says. “Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone structure and facial structure.”

As for the character:

“Supreme Leader Snoke is quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful,” Serkis says. “Obviously he has a huge agenda. He has suffered a lot of damage. As I said, there is a strange vulnerability to him, which belies his true agenda, I suppose.”

He’s not anyone we’ve already met, either. (It’s been a bad week for Darth Plagueis-based rumors.)

“No, he’s a new character in this universe. It is very much a newly-introduced character,” Serkis says. “He’s aware of what’s gone on, in the respect that he has been around and is aware of prior events. I think it’d be fair to say that he is aware of the past to a great degree.”

Serkis also says that he and Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata “are the only two performance-capture characters in an otherwise very analog world.”

J.J. Abrams: Simon Pegg “was an honest, critical friend” on The Force Awakens

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Entertainment Weekly dropped their last 3 Fall Movie Preview stories today. First up, the reveal of Simon Pegg’s role… Sort of. It’s not so much who he’s playing (“he won’t be recognizable,” J.J. Abrams says) but what he was doing behind the scenes.

“He was a sounding board,” Abrams says. “He would drop by the set because he wanted to, and when he could, he would help… We could talk about things, and he was a perfect combination of incredibly smart screenwriter, fan of the series, critical fan of the series, and friend of mine – but not just blindly supportive. He was an honest, critical friend. And he wasn’t so close to it that he became immune to things. He would come in with fresh eyes and very smart ideas. He’s one of a handful of people along the way that has been really priceless.”

→ EW asks who the film’s “Ralph McQuarrie” is. Abrams points not only to the actual Ralph McQuarrie and his work for the original trilogy, but production designer Rick Carter.

Abrams adresses the fandom, keeping secrets, Ben Burtt, Andy Serkis and fear. He confirms that some of the things they’ve already put out are red herrings.

The Force Awakens: Interviewing Annie Leibovitz, revealing Andy Serkis’ role

snokeStarWars.com has an interview with Annie Leibovitz today about her Star Wars work for Vanity Fair. There’s a photo of Andy Serkis in mo-cap gear, and the reveal that his character is Supreme Leader Snoke.

Snoke! Granted, it’s no Sheev, but aren’t we glad I didn’t do the Twitter roundup last night?

→ The first actual The Force Awakens action figures have been spotted – on eBay, naturally. It’s a stormtrooper.

→ Spoiler corner: Finn and his hot new accessory.

The Force Awakens true and false with Andy Serkis

EW122614→ Andy Serkis dispels a couple of The Force Awakens rumors in a chat with Entertainment Weekly: He’s not playing more than one character, and he’s “not leading a band of gymnasts or acrobats.”

Episode VII is (naturally) featured in the next issue of the magazine, which looks ahead to 2015 and is teasing some additional stuff in addition to Serkis. EW stuff we’ve seen online but not in print includes Mark Hamill and the cards. Or maybe we’ll see some other stuff in the next few days. (Cross your fingers.)

→ If you’re still stuck on the broadsaber, Popular Science got some real swordsman to weigh in.

→ Rumor corner: Making Star Wars describes a new kind of fighter.

The Force Awakens: Disney attractions to be based on new films

tfa-promo1-falcon-imax800Variety hosted a Bob Iger Q&A today, where the Disney chief revealed that theme park plans for the franchise will be based mainly on things from the upcoming films. “I didn’t want someone to say, ‘I just saw the movie and there’s nothing in that movie in this (attraction),” he said. “We waited to see what this film would have in it.”

He also revealed that they debated whether to release an early trailer at all, and that J.J. Abrams’ use of physical sets and props have given the film a “wow factor.”

Andy Serkis says that his trailer speech “emotionally rooted” his character – go ahead and add that one to your speculation file.

→ In light of yesterday’s revelation that George Lucas hasn’t seen The Force Awakens trailer and all the hay that was made of it yesterday, Eleven Thirty-Eight has a nice reminder today that George’s perspective is not our perspective.

→ Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is #13 on The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 list of women in entertainment.

Cracked’s four stupidest reactions to The Force Awakens trailer. Yeah, pretty much.

→ Rumor corner: Making Star Wars details a chase scene, and some new ships.