Entertainment & Arts

Star Wars sequel: Young unknowns cast in open auditions

Pip Andersen and Crystal Clarke Image copyright Lucasfilm
Image caption The open auditions spanned 11 cities in the UK and US

Two young unknown actors have been cast in the next Star Wars film following open auditions.

British actor Pip Andersen and US-born Crystal Clarke, who is studying in Glasgow, were chosen from 37,000 hopefuls who attended casting calls held in 11 cities across the UK and US.

A further 30,000 others applied online for the parts, which are lead roles.

Little known actors have won parts in past Star Wars films through the traditional casting process.

It dates right back to the first Star Wars film in 1977 when the then unknown Mark Hamill secured the starring role as Luke Skywalker.

He went on to appear in the next two Star Wars films and will also feature in the forthcoming Episode VII.

Film producer Kathleen Kennedy said: "The Star Wars universe has always been about discovering and nurturing young talent and in casting Episode VII, we wanted to remain absolutely faithful to this tradition".

Ms Kennedy, who is also president of Lucasfilm, the production company behind the science fiction series, added: "We are delighted that so many travelled to see us at the open casting calls and that we have been able to make Crystal and Pip a part of the film."

Crystal Clarke is also due to appear in her first feature film next year, while Pip Andersen is a professional free-runner and recently appeared in a Spider-Man ad for Sony.

Image copyright Lucasfilm
Image caption Mark Hamill (l) was an unknown when he won the role of Luke Skywalker

Other movies have successfully cast secondary actors and actresses through such open auditions - most notably some of the later Harry Potter films.

The open auditions for a "major Hollywood Movie" were first published at the end of last year on the twitter account @UKopencall, which announced a "nationwide search for lead roles for a Disney movie".

Disney bought Lucasfilm in October 2012.

Meanwhile, principal photography is under way at Pinewood Studios after filming on location in Abu Dhabi was wrapped in May.

The team is to take a two-week break in August due to production delays after actor Harrison Ford, who starred as Han Solo in the original three Star Wars films, injured his leg during filming.

Star Wars: Episode VII , directed by JJ Abrams, is scheduled for a Christmas release in 2015.

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