With the release of the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ blu-ray upon us J.J. Abrams is letting some ‘Behind the Scenes’ secrets out to the public. The first image the public saw was the black and white picture from the first script reading with the entire cast before production began.
EW had a chance to speak with J.J. about the upcoming release and that table read.
“It was a momentous thing for the new actors,” Abrams recalls. “We were not just coming together but we were going to be reading alongside the existing cast. It was…you could feel it in the air, the moment. It was exciting because we felt like it made it real in a weird way.”
Now that fans have seen the film and know what ‘Luke Skywalker’s’ role in the film was and that it was relatively small the natural question for fans was to ask ‘why was he at the reading in the first place?’
J.J Abrams explained
Deception. “It was partly trickery,” the director said. “We knew, obviously, that he didn’t speak in the film. And because we knew we were going to take pictures, and people knew he was in the movie, we needed to have him there.”
But that left Abrams with a dilemma: “It wouldn’t have been right not to have him there,” the director says. “But it also wouldn’t have been right to have him there and not participate.”
So he was asked to participate in another way. He was asked if he’d be willing to read all the scripts stage direction. That’s a ton of reading. Every single page. The Blu-ray bonus feature shows footage from that rehearsal.
“It is a pretty herculean task, to ask an actor to read a hundred and twenty some pages aloud over the course of two plus hours,” says Abrams. But Hamill has become just as famous over the years for his voice-acting, most notably as The Joker in many of the DC Comics animated films, games, and TV shows, so he was ready to talk at length — especially since he wouldn’t get to onscreen.
“I almost felt guilty,” Abrams said. “And yet it also felt so right and I hoped that he would say yes. He immediately said, ‘Of course.’” Not only did it give Hamill a part in the script, but everyone got to hear the story told from the voice of Luke Skywalker, which added an extra layer of emotion.
“It was a way of having [him] be part of every scene, every moment, not just spiritually or thematically or narratively, but actually,” Abrams says. “Having his voice in it made the read through a better experience for everyone.”
It’s always awesome when fans get to discover new insights about their favorite films.