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Star Wars: It’s not just the name of one of Hollywood’s most storied franchises.
Ever since director J.J. Abrams began casting for Episode VII last fall, talent representatives have been battling behind the scenes to get their clients booked for the hottest project in town. A role in the Star Wars franchise means instant stardom, after all. So with Tuesday’s official announcement of the seven new players, it’s time to take a look at which agencies emerged victorious — and which actors are now ripe for the picking.
UTA is perhaps the biggest winner, thanks to client Oscar Isaac landing a lead role. The Guatemalan-born Juilliard graduate, 35, became a critical darling with last year’s Inside Llewyn Davis, and his team’s goal of transitioning him to a mainstream blockbuster couldn’t be better suited than with the return of Disney and Lucasfilm’s legendary sci-fi franchise.
CAA, sometimes referred to as Hollywood’s “Death Star,” placed two clients in Episode VII — sci-fi/fantasy stalwart Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and John Boyega, who earned a round of best newcomer nominations for his starring role in 2011’s British sci-fi action comedy Attack the Block. CAA was especially wise to lock down Boyega, 22, whom audiences will get to know immediately when the Fox limited series 24: Live Another Day premieres next week. He could soon be Hollywood’s next big thing.
Arguably already a Next Big Thing is Adam Driver, who will be playing a villain. The former Marine, 30, has consistently earned praise as the male lead on HBO’s Girls, and he and his team at Gersh have been building a film career with smart choices, from Frances Ha to Lincoln and most memorably Inside Llewyn Davis. Playing a Star Wars antagonist will be by far his most prominent role to date.
Paradigm has Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, who is most recognizable for playing one of Ron Weasley’s older brothers in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Gleeson, who starred in last year’s Rachel McAdams time-travel romance About Time and will soon appear opposite Michael Fassbender in the quirky indie dramedy Frank, will now be part of another ensemble in another tentpole franchise. But in addition to Star Wars, he’ll be one of the stars of Angelina Jolie‘s upcoming adaptation of Unbroken.
The final two actors are not currently signed with American agencies. Max von Sydow is repped only by U.K. agency Diamond Management, but at 85 it’s hard to imagine that the Swedish screen veteran, who has worked steadily since 1949, would decide to make a big rep move now.
That leaves the project’s lone new girl so far: Daisy Ridley, whose IMDb profile lists a total of one short film, six episodes of British television, a $6,700 horror movie in post-production — and Star Wars: Episode VII. As with all the new cast members, Ridley’s role has not yet been revealed, but based on the fact that she is sitting between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher in the cast photo released today, the Internet is already speculating that the 21-year-old is playing the spawn of Han Solo and Princess Leia. Whether she is or not, it wouldn’t be surprising if her lone U.S. representation (she is repped in the U.K. by Jonathan Arun Talent), attorney Shelby Weiser of the Sloane Offer law firm, is suddenly fielding lots of calls.
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