→ Per a new survey, The Force Awakens and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 are not just the most-anticipated releases of late 2015, but the most-anticipated fall/winter movies in the five years this specific survey has been done.
Over at BigShinyRobot.com, I’ve got reviews of this week’s new books for younger readers from Disney Lucasfilm Press. All three are great reads, taking the original trilogy films and telling them from new perspectives.
→ A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken is told in three parts, each from a different point of view as the three heroes recognize the simple labels they’ve got, and grow past them. Lots of great Leia stuff in the first third (including extra scenes), and Wedge makes a good appearance in the Luke section at the end.
→ The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz put the reader square into the action by putting them in the role of Luke Skywalker. Great getting into Luke’s thoughts and emotions, plus lots of Jedi lessons at the end of each chapter to help readers become more mindful.
In a new Variety interview, Gwendoline Christie praised the Star Wars social media team for their response when a fan on Facebook questioned Captain Phasma’s armor:
“It was beautiful because it was informative, which is what we all need in order to tackle prejudice of any kind in our world … to be fed information,” Christie said of the measured response. “That’s just my opinion, that education combats fear, and fear leads to prejudice — so if we all become more educated, and if our mainstream media continues to expand and show a more realistic representation of women and of men.”
And this isn’t the first time that Christie has implied that we’re unlikely to see Phasma unmasked, but it’s certainly a double down:
“It was very important to J.J. that I was there acting a part,” she noted. “I found it to be a really interesting acting challenge, not just because of what I felt this character was representing — and it was just what I felt, and we talked about it a little bit, but it was never like a manifesto, ‘this is what it must be’ — and it was exciting to me to have that weight of responsibility taken away, of having to be a certain way as a woman, to have to be mindful in a way that isn’t always useful. To have that stripped away was very liberating, and it meant that as an actor I had to focus on other things. I had to focus on what my body was communicating and what exactly my voice is communicating.”
She added, “It becomes about the way in which you hold your hand, the way in which you walk, where your weight lies and what you want that to mean, and I wanted to give the character identity. I thought it was interesting to make something about the character identifiably female in a non-superficial way, and I hope that comes across.”
Star Wars and Game of Thrones may be getting the bulk of the attention at the moment, but we’ll see Christie first – and unmasked – this November in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.
The cover of Vogue is a big deal, and Lupita Nyong’o has now scored her second in as many years. The October issue features the actress, who talks a little about The Force Awakens – and J.J. Abrams himself sheds a little light on what they were looking for in the role:
While we tuck into delicious platters of fish, sorbets, and cheeses, Lupita tells me that she has just spent four months filming a CGI character—a pirate named Maz Kanata—for J. J. Abrams’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, opening this December. “We needed a powerful actress to play a powerful character,” the director explains to me later. “Lupita was someone I’d known a little and was enormously fond of. More important, her performance in 12 Years a Slave blew my mind, and I was vaguely desperate to work with her.”
Acting a motion-capture character was “really bizarre and lots of fun,” Lupita says. “I really enjoyed the fact that you’re not governed by your physical presence in that kind of work. You can be a dragon. You can be anything.”
Again, it’s very Vogue, but she also talks about her life in Kenya and America. She answers a few more Star Wars questions on video: