From Quentin Tarantino’s all-star Hateful Eight table read to Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin emulating Michael Jordan in Space Jam, live script readings are now the Off-Broadway shows of Hollywood. On Thursday, December 18th, Juno director Jason Reitman will stage a reading of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back at Los Angeles’ Ace Hotel with Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul taking on the role of Luke Skywalker.
The one-night-only event is the latest in a series of Reitman’s monthly live script readings. “The first thing I had to figure out was who is going to be the voice of Luke,” Reitman told Entertainment Weekly. “My first instinct was, ‘Who is the actor most like Mark Hamill today?’ But five minutes into that, I’m thinking we already have that; we already have Star Wars as it is. What is the opposite of that?”
Reitman settled on Paul, whose well-known TV persona is the complete opposite of the wholesome farm boy Skywalker. “Jesse from Breaking Bad questions authority in a much different way than Luke Skywalker does,” Reitman said. “He growls at it, and his annoyance at his journey will be unique from the traditional boy-to-man transition.”
“It’s official! I will be playing Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. Give me my light saber!! Dreams are real my friends,” Paul tweeted jokingly. “To everyone that thinks I’m playing Luke Skywalker in the new movie…bless you. The link I posted talks about a staged reading I’m doing.”
Rounding out the Empire Strikes Back cast are some more inventive picks. In voice casting we only wish the new Star Wars series thought of, Stephen Merchant will portray the courteous, paranoid android C-3PO, while Whiplash‘s J.K. Simmons will deliver Darth Vader’s lines. “He has to be able to be fatherly and evil simultaneously, and no one has explored that idea more than J.K. Simmons in Whiplash,” Reitman said. 24‘s Dennis Haysbert will play Lando Calrissian and Kevin Pollak will attempt to mimic Frank Oz’s Yoda voice.
No word yet on who Reitman has recruited to play the co-leading roles of Han Solo and Princess Leia.