Boyega and Plemons are my two favorite contenders for the male lead of Star Wars: Episode VII. Now the roles appear to be going to different actors. But I wouldn’t count either of the men out just yet.
THR and various film blogs have written about how Jesse Plemons is close to signing a deal to start in a film called Black Mass. The first knee-jerk reaction is this means Plemons is not in Star Wars: Episode VII. That’s a fair assumption. But I think we still need to remember that it is still an assumption. There’s a lot of factors that can come into play here.
Plemons will play a blue-collar tough guy who is a close friend of Bulger’s in the film, which is looking to begin shooting in early May in Boston. Episode VII — set 30 years after the events in 1983’s Return of the Jedi — is also slated to begin shooting in May in London and Morocco. The concurrent shoots, separated by the Atlantic Ocean, would seemingly preclude Plemons from participating in both.
So there’s Morocco. Is that confirmation of the story from yesterday or the acceptance of a rumor as a fact? Either way, we’ll look past that for now…
The important thing to remember is that Plemons hasn’t yet signed onto Black Mass. Going into talks isn’t the same as signing on. Talking isn’t making a deal, either way it goes. Perhaps he hasn’t signed on because he is waiting to hear about Star Wars. We also don’t know how big Plemons role, if he got it, would be in Star Wars. We’ve heard a lot of rumors the role he would be playing was greatly reduced in Star Wars: Episode VII after Michael Arndt’s draft was reorganized by J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (if that’s true). While it is unlikely Plemons could do both films, it isn’t exactly impossible, especially since we don’t know the size of the part.
Now, the fact he’s talking to other big pictures says a lot. It is probably the case he’s not going to be in Star Wars: Episode VII, but this isn’t unlike Jon Boyega that was in “deep talks” to star in Terminator: Genesis. A few news magazine writers scoffed at the idea Boyega would take the role as Terminator sounds like a bad film in the works. I do think we can deduce that both men have not been offered the role in Star Wars, hence why they’re talking to other productions at this time.
As the rumors stated, there were five young men up for the role in Star Wars: Episode VII. As professional actors, I think these young men still need to make sure they have something else lined up because a one in five chance of getting the role isn’t that great, assuming the rumors outed all the candidates. At the same time, being rumored to be in Star Wars helps a young actor’s chances of getting into other big films because it shows they were good enough to be considered and it makes them “hot.”
Some have speculated that talking to other productions might make the Star Wars production make a choice to make sure they snatch up the person they want before someone else does. That’s possible. Such tactics could backfire though, if they were debating between two actors and one had a great opportunity in a huge Hollywood film, it might make it easier to make that choice without the guilt of having to say no to someone.
The question we won’t know the answer to for a very long time: are Boyega and Plemons fielding their opportunities or have they already been cut from the list of candidates?
Make no mistake, I have no idea what’s going on here. But in the course of a few hours, I’ve seen the stories go from “Plemons is in talks” to “Plemons isn’t in Star Wars and he’s doing Black Mass” which just isn’t the case…yet. When the Boyega rumors started, they were saying he was in Terminator and we know today that isn’t the case as the role has gone to someone else.
There’s always the chance Boyega didn’t get the Terminator role because he’s in Star Wars: Episode VII and Plemons is in talks because Boyega got the part. But that’s as likely as any of the other scenarios we can come up with.
Either way, we have to be on the cusp of casting announcements. Hold your breath.