Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Ellen Page is Han Solo, Jessica Alba is Princess Leia for Jason Reitman’s live read

Illustration for article titled Ellen Page is Han Solo, Jessica Alba is Princess Leia for Jason Reitman’s live read

Likely fulfilling the dream of some Star Wars fan, who would normally keep that dream to themselves or a Reddit thread, Ellen Page will play Han Solo to Jessica Alba’s Princess Leia in the upcoming Empire Strikes Back live-read from Jason Reitman. As announced yesterday, Reitman is staging one of his now-traditional run-throughs of the film with another all-star cast, with Aaron Paul’s Luke Skywalker facing off against J.K. Simmons’ Darth Vader, Stephen Merchant contributing his British gangliness to C-3PO, Dennis Haysbert his insurance company pitchman smoothness to Lando Calrissian, and Kevin Pollak playing Yoda and myriad strangled Imperials. And now he’s brought Page in to play the gender-flipped Solo, hoping to reexamine Empire in the way he did with his all-black version of Reservoir Dogs and all-female Glengarry Glenn Ross. Or, at least, to get the Internet talking about what is otherwise just a bunch of actors sitting on stage, reading aloud a movie it’s seen 100 times.

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But more than just knowing that Page’s casting will bring the project lots of attention, Reitman says that he actually sees a lot of Han Solo in the actress. “In casting Han, the most important thing is: Who has the most interesting, ironic approach to life? And when I think of that, I think of Ellen Page,” Reitman says. As for Alba’s casting, he says, “For Leia, I just wanted to find an actress who was beautiful and also had the ability to be tough and funny, and I’ve seen Alba do all of that. And I needed somebody who would have chemistry with Ellen.” (Offering a further, somewhat backhanded compliment to Alba, Reitman adds, “I have no doubt that Ellen Page could have chemistry with anybody.”)

The Empire Strikes Back live read—complete with the classic Leia/Han Solo exchange, “I love you” / “Uh, doy”—takes place tonight, Dec. 18, at Los Angeles’ Ace Hotel Theater. It’s long since sold out. The Aggrieved White Male Strikes Back is currently playing out across comment threads everywhere.

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