If it’s a day that ends in “Y” then it’s a good time for another Star Wars Episode VII casting rumor. Today’s winner is Chiwetel Ejiofor, who’s currently getting wide-spread acclaim for his lead role in the Steve McQueen drama 12 Years a Slave, and over the weekend an article suddenly linked Ejiofor to the latest chapter of the sci-fi franchise. But how true is it?
Let’s lay the scene, a journalist with The Times named Rhys Blakely was in the Bad Robot offices interviewing director J.J. Abrams about an unreleated project. In the director’s “waiting room” was none other than Chiwetel Ejiofor. Of course, Star Wars isn’t the only thing going on at Bad Robot, but naturally, in that moment, one saw Ejiofor and Star Wars together in one, big, good looking and talented package. Let’s let the Times article say the rest:
The Lost and Star Trek director thrives on mystery and surprises – which pits him against the Hollywood hype machine. Can he keep his plans for the most famous sci-fi franchise of them all under wraps?
The British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, front-runner in this year’s Oscar race, is sitting in the lobby of J.J. Abrams’ office. If you’re a sci-fi fan, this might be very big news indeed.
I’m here to talk with Abrams about a side project – a book, called S., of which more later. But, really, if we’re honest, there’s only one thing any showbiz hack wants to know from J.J. right now: the skinny on Star Wars Episode VII, which he’s going to direct.
Sadly the Times’ paywall stopped most fans from snooping further than that, but Bleeding Cool took one for the team and got Abrams’ quote about the actor’s reason for being there:
He looks at me, dead-eyed. “I can’t discuss casting,” he says. “But he’s a very talented gentleman.”
Okay, so that’s not a confirmation, but Abrams would have to be crazy to not want a man of Ejiofor’s immense talent on the Star Wars set. And bonus, the actor has tremendous sci-fi experience already with both serous science fiction roles (Children of Men) and parts in more popcorn-related fair (Serenity). But before we close out, let’s at least get some feedback from the man all this is being written about. Flicks and the City asked Ejiofor on the red carpet Sunday night what he knew about Ejiofor being cast in Episode VII.
As always, all casting news is soft till it comes from an actual Disney press release. More news as it develops.