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‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Takes Break, Expands Cast

Plus, Kevin Smith visits set, teases ‘a world you can touch’

As “Star Wars: Episode VII” prepares for a two-week hiatus in August, the film’s cast has expanded to include two new actors, Crystal Clarke and Pip Andersen.

The casting was part of an open call by Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios late last year that attracted more than 37,000 hopefuls.

Clarke is an American actress studying in Glasgow, U.K., who has both stage- and screen-acting experience and will make her feature-film debut in 2015’s “The Moon and the Sun.” British actor Pip Andersen is a skilled practitioner of parkour. He was recently seen in a Spider-Man ad for Sony.

“The Star Wars universe has always been about discovering and nurturing young talent and in casting ‘Episode VII’ we wanted to remain absolutely faithful to this tradition,” said producer and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “We are delighted that so many traveled to see us at the open casting calls and that we have been able to make Crystal and Pip a part of the film.”

While Clarke and Andersen settle into the Star Wars family, filming on the sequel will pause in August to allow for adjustments to the production schedule as actor Harrison Ford, who returns to his iconic Han Solo role, recovers from a leg injury he received last month during filming.

Meanwhile, filmmaker and Star Wars enthusiast Kevin Smith (“Comic Book Men,” “Clerks”) was recently invited to the sequel’s set at Pinewood Studios in London, and he teased his thoughts on what he saw during an appearance at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival in Switzerland on Saturday.

“What I saw I absolutely loved,” Smith said. “It was tactile, it wasn’t a series of f—–ing green and bluescreens in which later on digital characters would be added. … I saw uniforms, I saw artillery that I haven’t seen since I was a kid.”

J.J. Abrams is “building a tactile world, a world you can touch,” he added. “And he’s replicating it with all the love of somebody that has the world’s greatest collection of Star Wars figures.”

Principal photography on “Episode VII” continues at Pinewood Studios after wrapping on location in Abu Dhabi in May.

Shooting is expected to conclude this fall with the film set for release on Dec. 18, 2015.

Directed by Abrams from a script he penned with Lawrence Kasdan (“Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back”), “Episode VII” also stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Max von Sydow.

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