The Shmooze

J.J. Abrams Wants You (To Be In Star Wars)

By Anne Cohen

Attention, “Star Wars” fans!

For the low, low price of a $10 donation, you run the chance of appearing in Star Wars Episode VII. In a message recorded on set in Abu Dhabi, director J.J. Abrams announced a new charity campaign run by Disney, Lucasfilm, and his own production company, Bad Robot.

Star Wars: Force for Change, asks people to donate $10 or more to UNICEF. In return, you get to dream about hanging with Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.

As seen in The Verge:

The randomly chosen winner of the grand prize and one partner will be flown to Episode VII’s Pinewood Studios set as guests of J. J. Abrams. There, they’ll be “transformed” by costume and makeup teams, before being given roles in the next Star Wars movie. It’s unclear what those roles will entail — Episode VII’s story is so well-protected Bothan spies are yet to reach it — but the opportunity to put on a furry mask, hang around in the back of a shot, inspire the invention of an alien race of wolf-people or bobble-headed oddballs, and eventually have books written about you is enticing.

The more you shell out, the higher your chances. Get those wallets out.

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Cast Is In!

By Anne Cohen

You’ve agonized over whether or not they would bring back the original three, you’ve sweated over J.J. Abrams’ potential conflict of interest (“Star Trek” and “Star Wars”? Never the twain should meet), you’ve debated whether there should even be a sequel at all — and now, the wait is over!

The cast of the Star Wars: Episode VII is official: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are all coming back, as previously hinted in various reports. They’ll be joined by Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow.

“We are so excited to finally share the cast of ‘Star Wars: Episode VII.’ It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again,” Abrams said in a statement. “We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

Fans of Harrison Ford (myself included — Indiana Jones-themed bat mitzvah. No shame.) can do a happy dance. According to Deadline.com’s Mike Fleming, Ford, 71, will have a “gigantic role” in “Episode VII.”

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Zachary Quinto Talks 'Star Trek,' Spock And Coming Out

By Reuters

Getty Images
Zachary Quinto

LOS ANGELES - Actor Zachary Quinto has transitioned swiftly from a television villain into an unlikely action film star in J.J Abrams’ rebooted “Star Trek” franchise, playing the series’ most recognizable half-Vulcan, Spock.

The 35-year-old actor, who gained fame as super-villain Sylar in sci-fi television series “Heroes,” will reprise his role as the pointy-eared first officer of the starship Enterprise in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” which will be released in theaters on Friday.

The actor spoke about the challenges of playing Spock and why he chose to go public about being gay.

Q: “Star Trek Into Darkness” has more action, set pieces and destinations than the 2009 reboot. Is that right?

A: You’re right. It’s a larger scale version of the “Star Trek” story. The first one was about re-conceiving people’s perceptions of “Star Trek,” and trying to infuse it with new energy. The self-contained and more intimate nature of that film made sense. Now, people are more familiar with us as these characters so this movie builds on that and expands on it.

Q: What is Spock struggling with in this film?

A: I think he’s learning how to be accountable and responsible to the people he loves and cares about. He is learning to embody and live the qualities of what it means to be a friend and what it means to be responsible to other people emotionally, because that’s not the place from which he leads. He needs to learn how to integrate that part of himself and honor the feelings he has for the people he loves.

Q: What do you learn from Spock on a personal level?

A: I have an inherent understanding to his nature, which is one of duality - the head versus the heart. That is certainly something I can relate to. As someone who has been considered pretty intellectual and wordy, I also have a deep well of emotional life. I understand what it means to be in constant relationship to both of those aspects of myself.

Q: Which of Spock’s qualities do you aspire for yourself?

A: The equanimity with which he deals with every situation in front of him, and the thoughtfulness and care he gives to measure his reactions. Sometimes I can be a little extreme in my reaction to something. I respect his reservedness and pensive consideration, which is an aspect of me but outweighed by my instinctual or impulsive reactions to things sometimes.

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Is Carrie Fisher In for 'Star Wars' Sequel?

By Anne Cohen

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in “A New Hope.”

Will they? Won’t they? Speculation abounds about which of the original Star Wars cast will make the jump to the upcoming sequel.

Carrie Fisher made our hearts soar like the Millenium Falcon when she sat down with Palm Beach Illustrated and answered a point blank “Yes” when asked whether or not she was coming back as Princess Leia in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming take on the classic.

The new Princess Leia would be “elderly,” Fisher said . “She’s in an intergalactic old folks home.” With her bagel buns and gold bikini safely on hand, we hope.

As it turns out, she may have been joking. Joking. Why Carrie, why?

Jerking us around like this may come back to haunt J.J. Abrams if Episode VII doesn’t live up to expectations. Which it can’t.

The much less devious Harrison Ford is supposedly “open” and “upbeat” about the idea of dusting off his Han Solo vest. According to Ford, Solo was scripted to die in xReturn of the Jedix, but lives on because his character was one of the most popular action figures at the time.

In the meantime, Ford will be trading in space gear for a news desk as he appears in Anchorman 2 as a veteran newscaster, a role similar to the one he played in 2010’s Morning Glory, ironically also produced by J.J. Abrams.

Mark Hammill, also rumored to come back as Luke Skywalker, told Entertainment Tonight that he hopes the new installment will be more like the originals than the heresy (our words) that are the recent prequels. We feel you Mark. Please, please, no Jar Jar Binks this time.

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'Lost' Creator J.J. Abrams Wins Award

By Reuters

getty images
J.J. Abrams

J.J. Abrams, co-creator of the hit television series “Lost” and one of Hollywood’s top producer-directors of supernatural films and TV shows, will receive the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television, the Producers Guild of America said on Monday.

Abrams, whose current credits include TV shows “Fringe,” “Revolution” and “Person of Interest,” and the 2009 film “Star Trek,” will receive the award at a Beverly Hills ceremony in January.

“J.J. Abrams has produced some of the most iconic and highest-rated television shows of the past decade and longer, series that have changed the landscape of television,” Producers Guild Awards Chairman Michael DeLuca said in a statement.

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