Last night director Jason Reitman introduced the audience to a star-studded live read of The Empire Strikes Back with a timely joke: “Welcome to the first live screening of The Interview.”
The Star Wars live read is part of a series Reitman has been hosting at LACMA’s Film Independent since 2011, but this year was really something special. Mark Hamill was on hand to read the parts of Palpatine and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ghost, while the lines of Luke Skywalker were read by Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul. Chewbacca was voiced by Rainn Wilson, while J.K. Simmons played Darth Vader, Stephen Merchant played a foul-mouthed version of C-3PO, Dennis Haysbert played Lando Calrissian, Jason Reitman voiced R2-D2, and Kevin Pollak played Yoda as a hyperactive blue elfin creature (as Yoda was depicted in the original script).
Our favorite part came from an inspired bit of casting. Ellen Page played Han Solo to Jessica Alba’s Princess Leia, which led to arguably the best scene of the night, the “I love you / I know” exchange. When Reitman reads the stage directions about them kissing, one audience member shouted what we were all thinking…
Another great moment came from Jason Reitman’s reaction to some of the other stage directions:
Han Solo is in one scene described as “kiss[ing Leia] with slow, hot lips.” Reitman interjected, “Oh, George.”
Man, how is J.J. Abrams going to film Star Wars: The Force Awakens without George Lucas’ helpful descriptions?
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It's fair to say I totes lost my shit when #MarkHamill came on stage as a surprise cast member of #StarWarsLiveRead to play #EmperorPalpatine #BobaFett and #ObiWanKenobi. #StarWars #TheEmpireStrikesBack #TESB #MTFBWY and you know you've had a good night out when #JessicaAlba says she recognises you cuz of the dorky Wampa hat you wore in the front row.