After more than a year of rumors and speculation, a fairly firm casting report has arrived for Star Wars: Episode VII, with Jesse Plemons said to be closing in on a lead role. The actor has not been hired at this time, but he does have a second audition with director J.J. Abrams.
The actor had a break out role-playing the nefarious Todd on the finale season of Breaking Bad, and is known for his work on Friday Night Lights. He also played an important role in The Master. Multiple inside sources with knowledge of the top-secret casting have confirmed that he is close to landing a deal.
Neither LucasFilm nor Disney would comment at this time.
Jesse Plemons is scheduled to meet with J.J. Abrams next week to discuss the project. The actor previously taped an audition that was well received, and he is being flown from Austin, Texas to Los Angeles, where he will meet the director for the first time face-to-face.
This new report also claims that Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are returning, something that has been rumored since the project was first announced, but still has never been confirmed by the studio.
The source of this breaking news is actually coming from two different casting agencies, neither of which represents the actor. They claim he is a favorite, while a third unidentified source confirms that he is in the running and a very serious contender.
Its unclear who Jesse Plemons is up to play, as no character details have been released. Some speculate that he will be the son of Luke Skywalker, as he bares a resemblance to actor Mark Hamill. At 25, he would be the right age to play 62 year-old Hamill's on-screen offspring.
Jesse Plemons first broke onto the scene playing Paul Walker's younger brother in Varsity Blues. He also starred alongside Matt Damon in All The Pretty Horses. But it was likely his work as the 'Opie' like drug associate of Walter White on Breaking Bad that has garnered him the most acclaim, especially when he took hold of a major story arc that saw him killing a young child in cold blood just to protect his team. He most recently wrapped Stephen Frears' Untitled Lance Armstrong Project, but is 2014 schedule remains open, so he will be able to accommodate the long Star Wars: Episode VII shoot.
J.J. Abrams and his team have spent the last twelve months trying to tweak the screenplay, as well as scouring the earth looking for just the right actors to join the project. Thus far, no one has joined the ensemble, despite Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sullivan Stapleton all being major contenders.
J.J. Abrams has been locked in the process of re-writing the screenplay with original Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan at his side. Physical shooting is expected to start this March to meet the December 2015 release date.
Will that happen? Disney sure hopes so!