What was it like to audition to for Star Wars: Episode VII?
Only a phenomena like ‘Star Wars’ could drive people to camp outside in the middle of November. Some arrived at 11pm the prior evening, with many more arriving throughout the night. Their mission? To audition for a lead role in J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’.
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The gates opened at 6am and by 9 Twickenham Stadium’s car park was packed with thousands of hopeful fans and aspiring actors. Some were taking it more seriously than others, but everyone was enjoying themselves – even if the process was a little cutthroat.
"We are doing this to find someone who might not have necessarily gone to drama school,” the film’s UK casting agent Kate Bone told the BBC. “They don't have to have acting experience - just the right look and then we can see if there's any talent there.
“We don't want to leave any stone unturned, we want to see what's out there. To find an unknown talent is very exciting."
Not the cast members you're looking for... hopefuls queue up outside Twickenham (Credit: Ben Skipper)
Finding that “right look” is ultimately what November’s open auditions around the country have come down to. According to people who had been through the process it was over very quickly and most of the time came down to a simple no.
Mitch Reeves was among the first to work his way around the queue, so I asked him what the process was like. "Quick,” he said. “Well, we got here at like 12am so there was a lot of hanging around, but the actual process of being seen and having your photo looked at - very quick, probably twenty to thirty seconds. In and out, then a straight up no.”
One of the lucky ones was aspiring French actress Albame Courtois, who having received a yes moved inside the stadium for phase two of the process. “I went in and it was like an individual meeting,” she said. “She [the casting director] asked me about what I do with my life, how I was, my favourite actresses, things like that. Basic questions to see who I was and to know me better - then they said yes!”
Albame was given an audition script, a bracelet and a time to come back later in the day for a proper read-through. She was however, one of few.
Obi Wannabe Kenobi... hopeful dons costume at Star Wars auditions (Credit: Press Association)
Both her and Mitch were aspiring actors, but many in the crowd were simply there for the hell of it. Lorenzo Caravantti was one such person, and I asked him what it was like in the crowd. “There’s lots of excitement, a very joyful atmosphere,” he said. “I came here with my flatmates and we actually made friends with a lot of people. It was a really nice atmosphere.