A New Hope? Metro attends the ‘Star Wars’ open auditions

On the kerb: drama student (l-r) Oliver, Oscar, Timo, Poppy. Credit: MWN
On the kerb: From left, drama students Oliver, Oscar, Timo and Poppy await their turn.
Credit: MWN

To a rugby stadium far, far away they flew by the masses, bright-eyed and buzzing with the opportunity before them: to achieve immortality by landing a part in the most successful film franchise ever. When “Star Wars” auditions beamed down to a drab southwest London suburb on a frozen morning this past Sunday, true believers answered the call.

They were responding to a brief demanding “beautiful, smart and athletic” characters: a girl to play a 17- to 18-year-old, and a boy 19-23. A casting spokesperson had starkly reinforced the message, “If you don’t fit the brief, don’t come – you’re ruining it for others.”

But semirational hope – and the knowledge that Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, had been cast as an unknown – ensured that queues stretched around Twickenham Stadium when the audition tents opened at 11 a.m. They had grown to several thousand since the earliest arrivals before 6 a.m.

Tension built toward the front, a hotbed of motivational psychology. “I feel I meet the brief enough to give it a shot,” says Nathan Maccauley, a student originally from San Francisco. He had identified a “competitive vibe,” but felt that his knowledge of the series could provide an edge. “It’s full of strong characters that stay true to themselves when they are pulled in different directions.”

The competition was shown when dancer Freddy crashes our interview, bouncing with the nervous energy of a caffeine rush. “I’m doing this to challenge myself,” she says. “I normally do theater and music videos, but I’ll do anything. I’m not fazed.”

Farther back, later arrivals had been herded into a pen. “It took three trains to get here,” explains Colby, a musician with teeth filed to vampire points. A lifelong Star Wars fan, he said that bounty hunter Boba Fett was the best character in the series as subtle acting was “drowned” by the special effects.

Journey times ran into days and the queue demanded several hours, but applicants passed through the blue audition tents in minutes. “They just asked me my age and what experience I had, but it was all about looks,” an unsuccessful boy said bitterly, adding that no refreshments or toilet facilities had been provided during his ordeal – Hollywood glamour in short supply.

By 1 p.m., cynicism had spread through the ranks of the rejected. “This might just be a publicity stunt,” said Oliver, one of four drama students sitting in camping chairs pitched by the entrance. But then a text revealed that two friends had passed to a second stage reading, and a new hope spread among the faithful.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.