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Mark Hamill as The Emperor! Rainn Wilson is Chewbacca! Photos from the Live-Read of 'The Empire Strikes Back'

Mark Hamill finally went over to the dark side of the Force.

Jason Reitman’s live-read of The Empire Strikes Back last night brought two surprise guests to the roster of actors recreating the Star Wars sequel. Hamill, who was once Luke Skywalker himself (and will be again) joined the group to play none other than The Emperor.

Hamill, an acclaimed voice actor who has done countless animated shows, also read the lines for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Boba Fett, doing spot-on imitations of each, while The Office‘s Rainn Wilson, sporting a bushy beard and lumberjack-style checked shirt, played Chewbacca — and only Chewbacca.

Needless to say, there was a lot of roaring.

Here are some more photos from the performance, which took place before a live audience of 1,600 fans.


Spirit Awards reaction: Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, Benh Zeitlin, David O. Russell, more weigh in

The nominations for the 28th Independent Spirit Awards were announced this morning in Hollywood. We checked in with Jack Black (Bernie), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook),  Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Middle of Nowhere), and more for their reactions. Check out what the stars had to say below and read our full analysis of what the nominations mean for awards season here.


'Moonrise Kingdom' and 'Silver Linings Playbook' lead Indie Spirit noms


Runaway kids and a guy with a runaway temper led the Independent Spirit Award nominations with Moonrise Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook collecting five bids each, including best picture.

Their rivals in the best picture race are Bernie, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Keep the Lights On.

With big-screen behemoths like Lincoln, Argo, and Les Miserables dominating Oscar talk, Film Independent’s awards  — chosen by filmmakers, actors, critics, and festival programers — cast the spotlight on some smaller films that are nonetheless worthy of consideration this award season.


Independent Spirit Awards will be held Feb. 23

It’s almost Hollywood law: After the super-human slog of awards season, on the day preceding the Academy Awards, everyone gets to dress down and let loose at the Independent Spirit Awards.

So it has been, and so it shall be again — Film Independent, the not-for-profit organization behind the Indie Spirits, announced Wednesday that the 28th Indie Spirit Awards will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, the day before the 85th Oscar ceremony.

The show will be broadcast that night on IFC at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Nominations for the Indie Spirits will be announced on Nov. 27. At the 27th Spirit Awards, held last February and hosted by Seth Rogen, The Artist became the first film since 1986’s Platoon to win the top prize at both the Indie Spirits and the Academy Awards.

Read more:
‘Bernie,’ ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ score 2012 Gotham Award nominations
Hollywood Film Awards: Seth Rogen kicks off Oscar season
Inside the 27th Indie Spirit Awards: A brisk-yet-tedious celebration of films we’ve already been celebrating

A cloud of weed descends on Jason Reitman's live-read of 'The Big Lebowski'

Alexandra Wyman/Getty ImagesThe unmistakable smell of burning marijuana wafted over the audience.

This was the scene at Jason Reitman’s live-read of The Big Lebowski last night, with Seth Rogen on stage recreating the Coen brothers movie alongside Christina Hendricks, Jason Alexander, Rainn Wilson — and surprise guest Sam Elliott, playing the part he originated 15 years ago.

How someone at the reading could get away with smoking a joint in the middle of a packed theater at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is something we’ll just have to ask the boys down at the crime lab. (Maybe the LAPD should get four more detectives working on the case.) READ FULL STORY

Seth Rogen is not 'The Big Lebowski' -- he's The Dude, man -- EXCLUSIVE

UPDATE: If you are in Los Angeles, you should swing by the L.A. County Museum of Art at 7:30 p.m. Though the theater is sold out, Reitman and Film Independent plan to broadcast the show into the courtyard. No rioting, please.

For one night only, Bunny Lebowski’s life is in Seth Rogen’s hands.

The Knocked Up star will be taking over Jeff Bridges’ iconic role for Jason Reitman’s live-read tonight of the Coen brothers script for The Big Lebowski. So call him The Dude. You know… that or, His Dudeness, or Duder, or El Duderino (if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.)

Tonight’s Film Independent event at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will be the sixth and final of Reitman’s staged readings of classic movie scripts before a live audience (at least for now.) By recasting iconic characters with different actors, the events are basically a movie-lover’s experiment, and — sadly, due to rights issues — not recorded for later distribution.

It’s designed to get movie fans talking. Who would you cast in an alternate universe version of the movie? The Up in the Air and Young Adult filmmaker tells EW his picks for The Big Lebowski


Jason Reitman's latest live-read really ties the room together -- EXCLUSIVE

Jason Reitman’s live stage-reading series — classic movie scripts like The Breakfast Club and The Princess Bride — has become one of the coolest phenomenons to hit Los Angeles these past few months, so what better way to close out the six-installment series than with an iconic L.A. story?

Next Thursday, Reitman will assemble a group of actors to re-create The Big Lebowski for one night only. Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1998 comedy, which may rank as the ultimate cult movie, presents a few challenges that make it a tantalizing prospect for Reitman & Co. to re-create on stage.

“There are so many characters in this movie,” Reitman says. “We’ve tried to keep all of our live-reads to movies that have maybe 10 or 12 characters. This movie has something like 40 characters in it. You don’t realize it when you’re watching it, but person after person turns up to do interesting and strange scenes.”

Luckily, three actors known for their diverse voices have signed on to ensure that worries about the size of the cast don’t drag any negative energy into this tournament. READ FULL STORY

Laurence Fishburne as Mr. White! Inside the all-black (almost) 'Reservoir Dogs' reading

Imagine a very smooth, very self-satisfied rattlesnake.

That was what Terrence Howard brought to the role of Mr. Blonde, the casually homicidal madman of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs in a one-night-only live-reading of the script last night.

Now picture an older guy, who probably should be thinking about retirement, but realizes too late he has thrown in with the wrong thugs — and he left his medication at home. That was what Laurence Fishburne did with the part of Mr. White, originated by Harvey Keitel.

Up in the Air and Young Adult filmmaker Jason Reitman has been creating these events for the past five months, with one more to go in the series. This time around, he decided to take a movie that once featured an all-white cast and replace it with an entire group of black actors (with one exception.)

Though the event is not recorded, EW has this to share from the cinematic experiment …


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