In the blockbuster sci-fi sequel “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (directed by J.J. Abrams), it is 30 years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, and the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver) and the First Order. When a defector named Finn (played by John Boyega) crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey (played by Daisy Ridley), a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford) to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” also stars Carrie Fisher, reprising her role as the heroic Leia.
Other cast members include Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, a Resistance X-wing fighter pilot; Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, a commander of the First Order’s Starkiller Base; Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, an officer in the First Order; and Lupita Nyong’o, voicing the CGI character Maz Kanata, the operator of a cantina. J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt co-wrote the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the “Star Wars” sequels “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Revenge of the Jedi.” Abrams, Lucasfilm Ltd. president Kathleen Kennedy and Bryan Burk are producers of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Here is what Abrams, Driver, Daisy Ridley, Nyong’o, Fisher and Kasdan said when they gathered for a “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” press conference (moderated by actress Mindy Kaling) in Los Angeles.
J.J., aren’t you rich? Why did you want to do this movie?
Abrams: This is a project that I felt incredibly lucky to be asked to be a part of. I think I speak for all of us, except for Harrison, when I say this was not a job. I’m kidding. Harrison was unbelievable. The process of this movie, to a person on the crew, to a person in the cast, this was not a job. It was nothing that I think any one of us took on because it was a gig that was available. It was something that felt like a true passion and something that every single person brought much more than any of us could’ve expected. I do honestly feel honored to be part of this group.
Who was the most difficult actor?
Abrams: Well, it was definitely whoever’s not on this couch. Everyone was shockingly and eerily wonderful to work with. To get to work with people like Carrie [Fisher] and Harrison [Ford] and Mark [Hamill], people I’ve been a fan of since I was 11 years old, and also people like Lupita [Nyong’o] and Daisy [Ridley] and Adam and John [Boyega], it was so much fun to see them working together and how that alchemy all came out. It was really a spectacular and fun thing every day on set.
Carrie, you have an amazing sense of humor. Do you think Princess Leia has a good sense of humor?
Fisher: She would have to, wearing those hair pieces. I have a baboon a** hairstyle. I mean that with love, but you need a sense of humor for that sort of thing. It keeps it lively and fun when you’re getting shot at in everything. It’s the hair that really makes you funny.
Adam, how would you describe Kylo Ren?
Driver: He’s very unpolished and unfinished. I think what J.J. and Larry [Kasdan] did, keeping all that vocabulary that everyone’s familiar with in “Star Wars” and the dark side and keeping that very much intact, but also adding a recklessness that very un-neat about it. People normally associate the dark side with being very organized and in control and in command.
For more info: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” website