'Star Wars' auditions: Yoda-worthy advice from the pros
With open auditions for the new "Star Wars" film under way, Crave's Bonnie Burton asked five veteran "Star Wars" actors to share tips on standing out from the rest of the Jedi hopefuls.
Think you have enough midi-chlorians to be in the new "Star Wars" film? Perhaps you're the droid director J.J. Abrams is looking for? Or maybe you just want to test out your best impression of Jack Lemmon imitating Chewbacca?
Open auditions for the new "Star Wars" film started Saturday in Bristol, England, but with long lines turning people away, Lucasfilm is now accepting video applications through Cast It Talent's Web site
The site reveals generic bios of characters that most likely will not be exactly the same in the movie (Abrams undertook a similar style of casting with his 2010 film "Super 8").
Seeking: Young woman to play 17-18 years old. Must be beautiful, smart and athletic. Open to all ethnicities (including bi- and multiracial). Rachel was quite young when she lost her parents. With no other family, she was forced to maker her way alone in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17, she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humor and guts to get by. Always a survivor, never a victim, she remains hopeful that she can move away from this harsh existence to a better life. She is always thinking of what she can do to move ahead.
Seeking: Young man to play 19-23 years old. Must be handsome, smart and athletic. Must be over 18. Thomas has grown up without a father's influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn't have the strongest sense of himself. Despite this, he is smart, capable, and shows courage when it is needed. He can appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can't take life too seriously.
Barbara Gamlen, Lucasfilm publicist, said 75 of some 2,500 hopefuls who auditioned over the weekend were called back to read a generic script in front of the "Star Wars" casting team.
But what does it take to be in a "Star Wars" film? Before you record your audition reel for Lucasfilm, Crave asked actors from both "Star Wars" films and "The Clone Wars" animated series for a few pointers.
James Arnold Taylor, Obi-Wan Kenobi in "The Clone Wars" animated series
"My advice for auditioning for 'Star Wars' is to tell them you really see James Arnold Taylor being a person they should reach out to play something in the movies, because you really love him. Also, remember it's 'May the Force be with you,' NOT 'Live long and prosper.' Although J.J. Abrams has done both films so... If none of that works I suggest the old Jedi mind trick (said in an Obi-Wan voice): "This is the actor you're looking for.'"
Daniel Logan, young Boba Fett in "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones," "The Clone Wars" animated series
"Be yourself. A good casting director will be looking for small inherent traits within you that will lend themselves to the character. Also, learn how to swing a lightsaber and fire a blaster, drawn upon your imagination... the Force is within you! And the most important advice I can give: DO NOT talk about doing the audition to anyone, including, but not limited to: the press, on Twitter or Facebook. Keep it to yourself until you get the role and are given permission to talk about it. And remember if you don't get a part in Episode 7, there are more bounties to come in Episodes 8 and 9!"
Dee Bradley Baker, Clone troopers and various creatures on "The Clone Wars" animated series
"Avoid using words. Try auditioning your 'Star Wars' role speaking in bizarre alien utterances instead of actually speaking the lines as written. They can insert the subtitles later. If the role you are reading for is evil, be sure to incorporate some sort of breathing affliction into your audition. Or use a British accent. If you are reading for the most evil of all the evil characters, make sure to use a severely asthmatic British voice."
Meredith Salenger, Barriss Offee in "The Clone Wars" animated series
"When you choose your voice and character, be uniquely you. There is a reason you are special even if you don't typically sound like what you envision voice actors to sound like."
Sam Witwer, Darth Maul in "The Clone Wars" animated series, Starkiller in "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed," and Aidan in "Being Human"
"Watch '40s movies. Then watch some '70s movies. Speak loudly. Speak fast. Don't wait for your closeup because it will never come. Less is more? Eff that. More is more. It's 'Star Wars'!"
Though we have to admit, this parody of Wes Anderson's "Star Wars" audition tape on "Conan" is pretty epic too.
While Lucasfilm is accepting video submissions, you can also expect open auditions to take place in Chicago, Austin, Nashville, and Troy, Mich. The movie is set to start shooting in early 2014 at Pinewood Studios in London and.
Just think: If the Muppets can do Yoda and Chewbacca impressions, you can too!
Update, 4 p.m. PT: The story was updated to include advice from actor Sam Witwer.