10:47am PT by Borys Kit
'Star Wars' Stand-alone Movie to Star Felicity Jones (Exclusive)
After a series of hush-hush readings and tests, Lucasfilm and Disney have zeroed in on Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Jones for the female lead in the Star Wars stand-alone film.
Jones is now in talks to star in the project, which Gareth Edwards is directing and Chris Weitz — who was just hired last week — is writing. Weitz is replacing Gary Whitta, who penned the first draft.
Actresses were meeting, reading and testing last week in Los Angeles for the role, with Tatiana Maslany and Rooney Mara among those in the mix.
The secrecy surrounding the project is thicker than the mists of Dagobah, and it is even unclear which character the stand-alone is focusing on. Sources say that Aaron Paul and Edgar Ramirez are on the interest list for the male lead.
Disney had no comment.
The movie has a release date of Dec. 16, 2016.
Jones is currently making the awards season rounds for The Theory of Everything, for which she snagged a best actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Jane Hawking, the first wife of physicist Stephen Hawking.
True Story, in which she stars with James Franco and Jonah Hill, just premiered at Sundance, and she is also shooting A Monster Calls, a family fantasy directed by J.A. Bayona that also stars Liam Neeson and Toby Kebbell.
She is repped WME.