Acclaimed writer, director, producer Jason Reitman directed a live read of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Los Angeles on Thursday night as part of Film Independent’s Live Read series. The live read featured Jessica Alba reading the part of Princess Leia, and Ellen Page as Han Solo.
Let me start by saying that I will never forgive myself (or my wife and daughter) for not finding a way to attend this amazing event. I just knew it was going to be something special. I just didn’t know how special. So how special was it? Well, the
Chosen One New Hope himself, Mark Hamill was the surprise guest star. But he didn’t read the part of Luke Skywalker. No, instead he read the parts of Ben Kenobi (hmmmm), Boba Fett and Emperor Palpatine.
Variety has a decent write-up on the evening’s festivities:
Reitman took particular pleasure in introducing the most unusual casting of the night. “I’m so excited to say these words. In the role of Han Solo… Ellen Motherf—–g Page!” The “Juno” star seemed like a gimmicky choice to play the space smuggler when her name was announced earlier that day. But Page gave the character a cocky, flirtatious confidence that put all fears to rest. Her interpretation of Han Solo was every bit the archetypal antihero.
Regarding Hamill’s role, Variety wrote:
But it was the surprise appearance of beloved Star Wars icon Mark Hamill, reading the roles of Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Emperor, that brought the audience to its feet for a spontaneous standing ovation.
“I hope I pass the audition,” Hamill joked as the applause continued.
For a first person account of the evening, I REALLy enjoyed Catrina Dennis’ write-up on Movie Pilot (the photo above is from Catrina’s article). On Hamill, Catrina states what I’m sure many were thinking:
Seeing Hamill, who we all know so well as our hero, take on roles that ranged from fan favorite to that of his own mentor was incredible. Hamill looked awesome, and watching his reactions to the casts’ take on characters was truly endearing.
I think Catrina perfectly summarizes the evening when she writes:
One year to the day before the official premiere of The Force Awakens, I was given the chance to watch the best installment of the franchise (so far, in my opinion) played out live on stage, with the original hero taking on the role of the villain. I almost felt bad for the woman next to me because I squealed, cheered, and clapped so loud that it almost got obnoxious. Needless to say, I would be totally down to relive this night, every night until The Force Awakens hits theaters.
UGH…I HATE MYSELF!
For more accounts of the event, search #StarWarsLiveRead on Twitter.