Star Wars: Episode VII has announced the casting of a pair of young actors following the open auditions held in the US and UK last year.
They are Britain's Pip Andersen, a 23-year-old freerunner from Taunton, and American Crystal Clarke, who is currently studying at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow.
The two will join Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, who are returning to the classic roles of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo from the original trilogy which hit cinemas between 1977 and 1983. A swathe of newcomers – from Attack the Block's John Boyega to Ingmar Bergman regular Max von Sydow – were were also confirmed in May for JJ Abrams' film.
Andersen and Clarke's roles have not been confirmed, though the casting calls said producers were searching for characters named Rachel and Thomas who might fit the bill. Rachel was described as "street smart, independent, athletic, natural beauty" while Thomas had "grown up without a father's influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn't have the strongest sense of himself."
LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy said the pair were picked from 37,000 actors who attended open casting calls in the US and Britain, as well as another 30,000 who submitted applications online.
"The Star Wars universe has always been about discovering and nurturing young talent and in casting Episode VII we wanted to remain absolutely faithful to this tradition," she said. "We are delighted that so many travelled to see us at the open casting calls and that we have been able to make Crystal and Pip a part of the film."
Clarke was born in Belleville, New Jersey, according to her Imdb profile. She is also set to star in the upcoming Sean McNamara fantasy film The Moon and the Sun, opposite Pierce Brosnan and William Hurt. Andersen will be making his film debut but has appeared in MTV's Ultimate Parkour Challenge and in an advert for Spider-Man.
Producers at studio Disney, which bought all rights to Star Wars in October 2012, also announced Episode VII would go on a two-week hiatus while Ford recovers from a broken leg sustained on set at Pinewood Studios in London last month. The film remains on course for a December 2015 release date.
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