'The Empire Strikes Back'

‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Live Read: Ellen Page, Jessica Alba As Han And Leia?

A special edition of The Empire Strikes Back was released on Thursday — sorta.

Jason Reitman decided to use Episode 5 of the Star Wars franchise for the latest installment of his popular Live Read series.

According to the introduction given by Film Independent curator Elvis Mitchell, The Empire Strikes Back is the “best ‘Star Wars’ movie ever made.”

To properly honor The Empire Strikes Back, Jason Reitman and Film Independent even decided to change the venue of the live read to the spacious Theatre at the Ace Hotel.

However, that was really the only major change made to the overall live read format.

The cast was still not able to read the script to The Empire Strikes Back before showtime, and no special effects were used during the reading.

The actors and actresses chosen for the roles in each Live Read are tasked with reinterpreting the dialogue of the iconic characters, experimenting with the overall performance as they go along.

Even though the concept of any Star Wars movie without special effects might seem bare and boring (especially The Empire Strikes Back), Jason Reitman made sure that the eccentric cast of actors and actresses selected was able to liven things up a bit.

Here is the cast list:

Rainn Wilson: Chewbacca

Mark Hamill: Palpatine & Obi-Wan Kenobi

J.K. Simmons: Darth Vader

Ellen Page: Han Solo

Jessica Alba: Princess Leia

Aaron Paul: Luke Skywalker

Dennis Haysbert: Lando Calrissian

Kevin Pollak: Yoda

Stephen Merchant: C-3PO

Jason Reitman: R2-D2

Yes, you read that correctly.

Mark Hamill, the actor known for playing Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars movies (and the highly-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens) crossed over to the Dark Side during the Live Read — at least to read Palpatine’s lines.

Han Solo was played by a woman — Ellen Page. Aaron Paul is an award-winning actor, but he decided to portray Luke Skywalker as his popular Breaking Bad character, Jesse Pinkman, which definitely got a few laughs from the audience. J.K. Simmons was able to dive back into his own Dark Side that he portrayed in the film Whiplash as well as the popular HBO television series, Oz by reading for Darth Vader.

Stephen Merchant added a bit of sarcasm (and profanity) to C3PO’s lines in The Empire Strikes Back, while Kevin Pollak portrayed Yoda as being somewhat hyperactive.

Jason Reitman decided to join the cast for the very first time by playing the role of the lovable droid, R2-D2. The bottom line is that this version of The Empire Strikes Back was definitely not what George Lucas had in mind. However, quite a few people seem to have loved it anyway.

What do you think about The Empire Strikes Back live read casting?

[Image Credit: Scott Allen Twitter]

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