Jesse Plemons, who starred on both “Breaking Bad” and “Friday Night Lights,” is in contention for a lead role in “Star Wars: Episode VII,” multiple individuals with knowledge of the top-secret casting process have told TheWrap.
A representative for Disney/Lucasfilm had no comment.
Plemons is scheduled to meet with director J.J. Abrams next week to discuss the highly anticipated sequel, which is expected to bring back original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. Plemons has already taped an audition that was well-received by those involved in the casting process, and he’ll by flying in to Los Angeles from Austin, Texas for a second audition that will bring him face-to-face with Abrams.
While Plemons is represented by Talentworks, a smaller agency located in Burbank, two well-placed sources within the major agencies have told TheWrap that Plemons is a favorite to land one of the coveted lead roles in the “Star Wars” sequel; a third individual confirmed that Plemons is in the running and a serious contender.
There’s been no chatter on what role Plemons might take, but Plemons does bear a resemblance to Mark Hamill, and at 25 would be the right age to play the offspring of the 62-year-old Hamill’s Luke Skywalker.
So who is Jesse Plemons? The Texas native was a child actor who played Paul Walker‘s younger brother in “Varsity Blues” and a young Matt Damon in “All the Pretty Horses.” His breakout role came in 2006 when he was cast as Landry Clarke on Peter Berg‘s football series “Friday Night Lights.”
He went on to co-star in Berg’s “Battleship” and Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “The Master” (as Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s son) before landing the role of the sweet but cold-hearted young gangster Todd opposite Bryan Cranston in “Breaking Bad.” Plemons recently wrapped Stephen Frears‘ untitled Lance Armstrong biopic and will soon be seen in Tommy Lee Jones‘ drama “The Homesman,” so his 2014 schedule remains wide open and would be able to accommodate a long “Star Wars” shoot.
While Abrams and his team have scoured the galaxy to find the right actors for their “Star Wars” ensemble, no one has been officially cast yet, despite numerous rumors surrounding Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sullivan Stapleton.
Abrams is directing from a script he’s writing with Lawrence Kasdan, who penned “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the Jedi.” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is producing with Bad Robot’s Abrams and Bryan Burk, while Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin will serve as executive producers. John Williams will return to score “Episode VII.”
Disney is scheduled to release “Star Wars: Episode VII” on Dec. 18, 2015.