It’s taken a little longer than we might have expected, but the outlandish casting rumours for Star Wars: Episode VII have started coming in thick-and-fast.
First up: reports that both Ryan Gosling and Zac Efron went into Lucasfilm for meetings last week.
“What I was told for sure is Gosling went in for Skywalker’s son … Luke’s kid,” said Latino Review, a film news source that’s entirely more authoritative than its name suggests. “As for what role Efron would be playing, we don’t know. He could be a Solo kid.”
The same report mentioned that Leonardo DiCaprio met with Lucasfilm and subsequently turned down a role.
Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher aside, these are the first substantial casting rumours for the franchise’s debut film under its new Disney overlords.
The news, we’re sure, sent some sci-fi messageboards, somewhere, into nuclear meltdown. Seeing as both Gosling and Efron have had stints working with the Mouse, the gossip seems like a delicious realisation of a Comic-Con-frequenting fanboy’s worst nightmare.
Let’s be real: if either or both rumours end up substantiating, it ain’t such bad news.
Consider Gosling’s performances in his Nicolas Winding Refn films – Drive and Only God Forgives – that’s a proper Jedi, right there: smooth, stoic, pensive. His capacity for sudden violent outbursts, too, could make for good fodder. (Lest we remember Hayden Christensen losing it at the Tusken villagers in Attack of the Clones.)
Those condemning Gosling as a one-gear actor, based on his Refn movies, should eye his performances in Blue Valentine (in which he convincingly played a rage-filled alcoholic) and Lars and the Real Girl (in which he convincingly fell in love with a sex doll) as evidence of his breadth.
But yes, the prospect of Efron will draw bigger eye-rolls. It’s with noting that a) he was not-terrible in smaller profile films like Liberal Arts and Me and Orson Welles, and b) Harrison Ford was working as a goddamn carpenter before he met George Lucas – and that casting decision turned out half-good.
Really, as soon as Justin Timberlake blew collective minds with a sharp and charismatic performance in The Social Network, the whole idea of slagging-off actors with less-than-superlative adolescent careers should have gone out the window.
The reality is these guys have been performing in some capacity since they were like, 8. Shouldn’t we give some credence to the Gladwell’s 10,000 hours-to-expertise theorem?
Plus, with J.J. Abrams at the helm, and screenwriting genius Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) sketching out a plot, there’s enough talent stacked at the head of this project to keep things in order.
Whatever does eventuate, it’s best to keep cool and remember: this is Disney, and this is a billion-dollar franchise. It will be made to appease the widest audience possible.
Star Wars Episode VII is aiming for release in 2015.