Star Wars Episode IV, starring Luke Abbott. I like the sound of that.
Yes, on Saturday the Ninth, I begged my way out of work, bribed my mate to drive me to Bristol at four in the morning and queued for between four and five hours in the pouring rain. And it was worth every aching joint, dark stare from my exhausted driver and sexual favours paid to my best friend, who is sadly also my boss. Why? Because this was the auditions for the next lead role in the Star Wars trilogy. Three movies, around six years: it is the fastest way to propel yourself to the most famous actor in Hollywood from a total nobody.
I am sure you saw it on the news (you may have even seen my beautiful face if you tuned into the BBC or Sky News), but J. J. Abrams has decided he wants an unknown actor to play both a ‘smart, capable’ man and a ‘smart, orphan girl’ in the next trilogy of Star Wars. These roles have been described as a ‘lead’ role, which suggests that these ‘new faces’ in the acting world will be major characters in the upcoming films. Therefore, there will be auditions held in Manchester, Bristol, London and Chicago to find these two new stars in the biggest Sci-Fi franchise in cinema history. The competition is so tough and almost every fan of the movie, or budding actor, has turned up to try their luck.
I didn’t even hear about it, until a few days before. I was partying in Reading without internet access (Reading hasn’t invented computers yet), when my mate rang me up and asked me if I was going. I assumed it was extra work, but he insisted it was the lead role. I laughed him away and sent a text to my parents to research it for me. And sure enough, my friend was absolutely correct. I had to go. I know that the chances are so slim that I will end up as the hero of the new Jedi Order, but I had to try. I have no illusions that there is anything more than a slither of a chance that I could get the part, but if I didn’t do this, the rest of my life would be spent looking back on that day and wondering what could have been. I could not live like that and acted upon that impulse to go. Even if I ever achieved my dreams of becoming an actor, I never would have thought I would have undertaken a role like this. This opportunity was bigger than I ever could have dreamed.
So, I rocked up to the Arnofilini Arts Centre in Bristol, waking up at four in the morning to begin the two hour drive to the auditions. We hit the center just before half six (I stopped for croissants, because I don’t understand urgency), and it was the perfect scenario. I was number 31 in the queue and the crowds hadn’t hit yet. We still had a long wait until 11 though, when the auditions started. At seven, the queue began getting massive and Bristol turned into the world’s biggest stationary conga ever. It began raining, but I had planned ahead and brought my umbrella. Everything was going perfectly.
I will skip past the waiting phase of the auditions and fast-forward right to that dreaded moment when we walked in. I walked into the audition room, was given a number and asked to wait. And then it hit me. Holy fuck-a-stick, I am auditioning to Star Wars. The nerves and fear hit me faster than that girl at the club I asked ‘Do you wanna borrow some money, cus I wanna get you a-loan’. It was an important moment for me, because I haven’t been properly acting in a few years. I loved that apprehension before going onto the stage, or before a massive audition like this. The insane amount of fear before the moment, the eerie calm when you are actually performing and the ‘hell yeah’ afterwards, if you nailed every line and movement. Even if I don’t get the part, or even a call-back, I am glad for this audition, because it reminded me how much I love acting. There is no better profession out there for me.
The audition didn’t actually involve any acting. I went into a room and there was a woman sitting there with a table. She had a Belfast accent that instantly calmed my nerves; I would do anything for a woman with an Irish accent (which reminds me: I need to give Verbal Spew my credit card details). She asked me a handful of questions and thanked me. And that was it. One minute of interrogating, no acting involved and the audition was over. I am unsure how to take that. Part of me is worried, because I have no idea how they are selecting the candidates. I had no time to put myself across as the right guy to fill the role. But on the other hand, everyone else was in the same boat, and my questions went remarkably well. This blog went down well in conversation and I cracked a memorable joke (that was well received), about the back of my head being far more famous than the front of my face, starring in Les Miserables. Surely that is enough to get to the next stage of the selection process. I might not get the role, but I would like to actually do some acting for the casting directors, before I am turned down.
But, if you would allow me to get ahead of myself for one moment. If I do get this part, and that is a massive if, that would be the sign to end this little blog of mine. I would be insanely busy at work and would have no time to write for this site, definitely not being able to go to the cinema each week. I would rather end it abruptly, on my own terms, rather than fizzling out over time. Also, I would be cautious about negatively reviewing films that feature people I want to work with, making me a biased reviewer and no good to you, my readers. But this would not be goodbye. I owe you guys too much for that. I will be a regular reader as often as I can and will be leaving comments whenever I can, and partaking in the weekly Stalker Saturday on Twitter. You are not getting rid of me that easily. Mwa-ha-ha!