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Star Wars: Episode VII: Oscar Isaac Talks Original Cast, Practical Effects, And Fire

Oscar IsaacFans aren’t the only people excited about the impending expansion of the Star Wars universe, especially when it comes to J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII (as much as we want to see Star Wars Rebels, we have to assume that leaked photos from that set would be significantly less interesting and probably not contain images of a partially constructed Millennium Falcon). Many of the new additions to the cast are also huge fans, some who have never lived in a world without that galaxy far, far away, and they’re also pretty pumped up. And while they’re talking in regards to characters and plot details, they’re not shy about sharing their on set experiences. One of these is Oscar Isaac.

Isaac recently sat down with Entertainment Weekly, and while the main topic of conversation was his more immediate work, specifically his upcoming adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Two Faces of January, the topic of Episode VII did come up. You have to assume that’s going to happen in every conversation he has from now until the day he dies. People want to know about this shit, and will even after it has faded into the past.

Part of what he was asked was what it was like working with the original cast members, especially Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. He said:

Yeah, I have [had interactions with them]. Both. They’re such funny people. Carrie is hilarious and doing such cool work. Harrison is back. He went on hiatus for a little while, but he’s 150 percent back. It’s pretty amazing to see him bounce back. He looks incredible. Everyone’s having a really good time. J.J. sets that tone. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and it’s being done with a lot of heart. There’s nothing cynical about the way we’re doing this. Even the in way he’s shooting it—he’s shooting on film and actually building the sets, so you’ve got hundreds of Stormtroopers or whatever, and hundreds of extras and all the ships. You actually see it. It’s all real. Everyone can interact with the world.

That has to be surreal, looking out and seeing dozens of stormtroopers out there milling about like everything is normal. That also must be what it’s like to be a Comic-Con. While this doesn’t say much about the details, it does drive home that Episode VII is going back to an approach that favors practical visual effects as opposed to the ubiquitous green screen that George Lucas employed in the prequels. If nothing else, that is heartening to hear, no matter how many times it gets said.

Star Wars Episode VIIThere have been so many leaked set photos (and photos taken from planes and drones like we’re living in a damn spy movie), and Isaac commented on the rabid fan interest. He said:

People want to know all those special things and when those iconic moments are going to happen, but if all that gets revealed beforehand I feel like it robs people of that moment when they’re sitting there watching it for the first time.

The interviewer notes that, as beloved as the original Star Wars movies are, there are some cheesy moments, especially when it comes to dialogue. Isaac said:

I’m constantly looking for a cheesy line to say to harken back to the old ones. No, what they’re trying to do and what’s really great is J.J.’s been loosening it up a little bit and trying to make it alive and energized. It’s not formal. They’re messy, energized people. We’ve all intentionally tried to do that. Just make it a little more fiery and messy.

Aside from this film, we’re also excited to see Isaac in Alex Garland’s directorial debut Ex-Machina, where he plays a reclusive billionaire who creates an artificially intelligent robot that may have achieved true consciousness. That sounds right up our alley, and while it will arrive first, sometime in earlier 2015, it’s Star Wars: Episode VII that we’re really excited for, and December 18, 2015 is the date we have circled on our calendars.

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