Over the past few days Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican has been releasing pieces of his phenomenal interview with Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan discussing The Force Awakens. These articles have proven to be the most revealing feature we've seen from the film thus far, giving us brand new looks at some of the characters, revealing what made J.J. Abrams take the job of directing the first place, more details about Kylo Ren, character name origins and some news about the Han Solo Anthology film. They then continued on with more articles focused on Han Solo, Simon Pegg, production designer Rick Carter, and various other topics. Below we have collected a number of excerpt with the most interesting quotes from the interviews.
J.J. Abrams first spoke about Harrison Ford's on-set injury and his seemingly miraculous recovery:
“It was obviously a horrible experience that I wish had never happened for obvious reasons. But the truth is, once we knew that Harrison was going to be okay, we all realized this was this greatest gift to the movie, and I would think that any filmmaker would say, ‘If I could get a break after a month of shooting, for a few weeks, to recalibrate, I would take it.'... There are some places where he’s more active than he was prior to the accident. As you’ll see in the movie, he is running and doing more physical activity in this movie than I think anyone who knows he was injured would expect. Nothing was adjusted or lessened because of that accident. Even for Harrison, who is famously resilient and strong, he blew everyone’s minds.”
You can read about that further here.
They also spoke about the joint issues that Peter Mayhew has had with his knees, which have forced him to use a cane and a wheelchair in recent years. They confirm that another actor stepped in to don the iconic Wookiee fur in more strenuous, action oriented scenes. Still, Mayhew was the preferred actor to portray Chewbacca whenever he was able. Kathleen Kennedy spoke briefly about a moment off set when Mayhew and Ford reunited:
“We had a dinner and the whole cast was reunited just before we started shooting. I had no idea how close Peter and Harrison were. And when Harrison came into the room and Peter was sitting down, he just went over and gave him the biggest hug, and you could just see that there had been this incredible relationship between these two.”
Be sure to read the full article by clicking here!
Next, EW focused their attention on someone that's been getting who's been getting a lot of it lately: Simon Pegg. While Pegg himself was not available to comment, J.J. Abrams talked extensively about the actor's involvement in the film, and it's not what you think. Aside from playing an alien of some kind, as we saw in the Comic Con reel, Abrams says Pegg offered support to the writing team as well:
“I will say this in terms of Simon: while he won’t be recognizable in the movie, in all honesty, his role in this – not the performance or the character – but his support and friendship has been massively important and helpful in the process,” Abrams says, shifting from deadpan to sincere. “He was a wonderful partner in crime to kick the story around and ask questions and come up with ideas, and he was an incredibly helpful part of the process for all of us. I’m very grateful.”
“He was a sounding board. He would drop by the set because he wanted to, and when he could, he would help… We could talk about things, and he was a perfect combination of incredibly smart screenwriter, fan of the series, critical fan of the series, and friend of mine – but not just blindly supportive. He was an honest, critical friend. And he wasn’t so close to it that he became immune to things. He would come in with fresh eyes and very smart ideas. He’s one of a handful of people along the way that has been really priceless.”
Abrams was also asked about the rumor that Daniel Craig is playing a Stormtrooper, which he replied:
“I’ve been asked to say nothing by Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
Click here to read more about Simon Pegg.
Additionally, Abrams discussed working with production designer Rick Carter:
“I was incredibly blessed to work with Rick Carter, who – beyond being a brilliant production designer – is a font of imagination and associations. He is able to make connections to things that no one else can see, and he has such a trove of references and life experience and images and design ideas.”
He also spoke about taking inspiration from the late, legendary Ralph McQuarrie:
“We both knew the importance of what McQuarrie had done, and how critical he was in creating the aesthetic of what we all know is Star Wars. We could have taken another path and said, ‘Okay, everything that we all know about Star Wars has been done; let’s go somewhere else and do something totally different,’ but when you’re lucky enough to inherit the history of this world that we know, there should be a continuum.”
You can read that article here!
And lastly, J.J. Abrams talked about communicating with the fans and the various reveals we've seen so far:
"They’re all, in a way, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that is, little by little, coming together in some form. We’re doing the best we can to simply finish this movie, and make it as good as it can be, and at the same time, dole out moments and characters and images that will be in line with what Lucas has been doing for so many years.”
He was also asked about Supreme Leader Snoke. Of course he wouldn't give any details about the character, but he had high praise for the actor playing him, Andy Serkis:
“I will say that Andy Serkis is like working with someone who is an historically great actor. He is the kindest, sweetest, most lovely guy, so it’s not that he puts on any airs of being pretentious or anything at all, but he’s simply so damn good, that when I’m working with him, I feel like I’m working with someone who is, you know, like a Charles Laughton, or someone who is just so extraordinary. Then there’s the whole matter of how he incorporates technology in a way that no one has seen or done… There are many levels to his genius, but he is certainly a genius.”
You can read more of Abrams thoughts on that, as well as working with Ben Burtt, by clicking here!
Be sure to pick up a copy of Entertainment Weekly as soon as you can, which is on newsstands everywhere now!
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