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Star Wars Episode 7 Starts Filming While Still Rounding Out Cast

By Nick Sanchez   |   Monday, 07 Apr 2014 09:59 AM

Star Wars Episode 7 has begun filming, and nearly all of the cast is in place, Disney studios chairman Alan Horn revealed in a recent interview.

"We have a lot of them," he told The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Galloway at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television in Los Angeles. "We’re just not completely done yet."

Despite the interviewer's focus on the actors, Horn also said "It’s all about the screenplay."

Michael Arndt, who wrote the screenplay for "Toy Story 3," "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," and "Little Miss Sunshine" – for which he won an Oscar, was named the sole screenwriter for "Star Wars VII" late last year.

In October, Lucasfilm announced that they were replacing Arndt with director J.J. Abrams, of "Star Trek" and "Lost" fame, and Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi."

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"It has to be screenplay, screenplay, screenplay," Horn reiterated to Galloway during the interview. Asked about the progress of the screenplay and if it was sufficiently complete, he said, "It actually is now."

The new Star Wars Episode VII takes place where the sixth episode left off, which Horn points out will be 35 years ago by the time the new episode launches in December 2015.

As part of the ongoing Hollywood Masters series — which has also conducted interviews with Alfonso Cuaron, David O. Russell, Judd Apatow, John Singleton, Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin — Horn also spoke of past career challenges and highlights in addition to breaking the new Star Wars news.

He also spoke of the importance of China as a "major new growth market," saying "to give you some perspective, there’s 44,000 screens in the U.S. and Canada; in the U.K. there’s 4,000, Italy 4,000, Spain 4,000, France 4,800, Mexico 5,000. China has 18,000 now [for] 1.3 billion people — 18,000 screens. We have one-quarter as many people and 44,000 screens. And they’re building 10 screens a day in China."



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