Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sean Bean to star in HBO's 'Thrones'

Boromir This is great news for an eagerly anticipated series.

By Borys Kit and Nellie Andreeva

Sean Bean has nabbed the lead in "Game of Thrones," HBO's adaptation of the George R.R. Martin fantasy-book series. Tom McCarthy is directing; David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who wrote the screenplay, are executive producing.

Mark Addy is in final negotiations to also join the production. Kit Harrington, Jack Gleeson and Harry Lloyd also have come aboard.

The books revolves around a battle among seven kingdoms and between two ruling families for control of the Iron Throne, the possession that ensures survival through a 40-year winter to come.

Bean will play Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark, known for his sense of honor and justice, who becomes closest adviser to King Robert (Addy).

Harrington will play Jon Snow, Bean's bastard son, and Lloyd will play Viserys, a powerless ruler who seeks to marry off his sister to a powerful king. Gleeson will play Joffrey, King Robert's son.

Peter Dinklage also is in the cast for the production, which is in the pilot stage and begins shooting in October in Ireland.

Guymon Casady, Carolyn Strauss, Vincent Gerardis and Martin also are executive producing.

"Thrones" marks the latest fantasy epic-style production for Bean. He recently wrapped shooting on "Percy Jackson & the Olympians," an adaptation of Rick Riordan's children's book. Bean, repped by CAA, also has "Black Death," a supernatural thriller set during England's first bubonic plague, in postproduction.

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McCartney Makes History at Citi Field With Billy Joel, Beatles Hits

Photo: Bill Bernstein/MPL Communications Ltd/Getty

Forty-four years after the Beatles‘ legendary show at Shea Stadium, Paul McCartney returned to Flushing Meadows, Queens, last night to perform the first concert at Citi Field, Shea’s replacement. The sold-out crowd was clearly nostalgic for the Beatles’ heyday, but not as much as McCartney himself. “These occasions are so cool,” he said early on in the show, as he walked to the front of the stage to absorb the crowd’s adoration. “I’m just going to take a sec to soak it all in.”

During the first encore McCartney spoke about his most recent appearance in the area, guesting with Billy Joel during his Last Play At Shea concert. “That gentleman is with us tonight,” he said as Joel ran onstage, sending the audience into hysterics. He played piano and sang a rollicking duet with Macca on “I Saw Her Standing There.” Joel, currently on tour with Elton John, looked extremely sunburned, but clearly relished the opportunity to play again with his hero again.

For the rest of the show McCartney stuck to his tried and true concert formula: a smattering of new songs in the beginning, a handful of Wings hits and a fuckload of Beatles classics. Each time he’s toured recently he’s revived a couple Fab Four songs that haven’t been played since their original recording. This time around he dug out “Day Tripper,” and “A Day In The Life.” “Day Tripper” was scorching and clearly should have been unearthed years ago, while “A Day In The Life” was surprisingly effective and emotional considering that the original was a product of so much studio magic. At the end of the Wings cut “Let Me Roll It” the band played a snippet of “Foxy Lady,” followed by a story about McCartney seeing Jimi Hendrix cover a track from Sgt. Pepper in London days after it came out.

The middle section was heavy on material from McCartney’s recent Fireman album, and obscurities like “Flaming Pie” and “Here Today.” It also began raining, and one could feel the energy being sucked out of the stadium as masses of people begin sitting down to huddle under umbrellas and makeshift hats. When McCartney sat down at the piano for “Live And Let Die,” however, the rain stopped and the booming pyrotechnics instantly brought the crowd into the game. From here it was one Beatles song after another: “Lady Madonna,” “Yesterday,” “Get Back,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and the inevitable crowd sing-along on “Hey Jude.” Best of all was “Helter Skelter,” which managed to nearly sound as hard and menacing as the original.

The Beatles’ 1965 and 1966 Shea Stadiums gigs were certainly landmark cultural moments, but as musical events they were quite lousy. The sound was run through the stadium’s public address system, rendering it all but inaudible — regardless of the fact that the girls spent the entire time screaming at the top of their lungs. They only did a dozen songs during a barely 30-minute set. Last night, McCartney played for nearly three hours, in a voice that sounds remarkably unaffected by the passage of time. The only song played at both the 1965 and 2009 shows was “I’m Down.” While nothing could beat this version (watch John Lennon play the keyboards with his elbows), the 2009 rendition was light years better than you’d expect from a man three years short of his 70th birthday.

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Metallica’s Lars Ulrich is Proud of Napster’s Destruction

Written by enigmax

Just days after the BPI’s Geoff Taylor said that the industry screwed up in its handling of Napster, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich indicates he has no such regrets, declaring his pride for his hand in the destruction of the file-sharing pioneer but giving credit to the Napster management for painting the band as greedy luddites.

larsIn recent times it’s become something of a trend in the music industry to admit that its handling of Napster left a lot to be desired. Of course, everyone was telling them this exact same thing 10 years ago.

While some, such as the BPI’s Geoff Taylor, have shown at least some sign of regret (although not necessarily backed up by actions), others are adamant that crushing the file-sharing pioneer was the right thing to do.

Despite making some uncharacteristically pragmatic comments about P2P last year when his album ‘Death Magnetic’ appeared on the Internet, and despite trying file-sharing himself fairly recently when he downloaded the album using BitTorrent, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has no regrets over his part in the neutering of Napster.

Ulrich and Metallica generated years of hate with their aggressive anti-Napster stance in the early part of the century, after discovering their entire back catalogue was available through the service.

But now, speaking with Kerrang!, Ulrich says he did the right thing in bringing Napster down, standing firmly behind his decision, expressing pride where others today are expressing cautious regret.

“Being right about Napster doesn’t mean that much to me. I don’t find any particular glory in being proved right about it,” he said.

Turning to Napster’s management, Ulrich said he admired them for managing to paint the band as greedy rock stars who were behind the times, although it hardly seems fair to give Fanning and friends all the credit for that - the band did more than enough to nurture that impression too.

“You have to give props to the other side because they did run a brilliant campaign, and they did portray me and Metallica as being greedy rock pigs and luddites who were completely behind what was happening technologically,” said Ulrich.

“But I am proud of what we did, and what we stood up for,” he added.

Indeed, today’s file-sharing community owes a debt of gratitude to Ulrich and Metallica, because without their efforts to destroy Napster there wouldn’t have been the massive effort by others to create the many improved replacements available today.

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Steven Sommers Dismisses G.I. Joe Firing Rumors as 'Complete Lies'; Sienna Miller Admits It Isn't the 'Best Acting Work We've Ever Done'

Written by Seth Abramovitch

joestrike.jpgAny movie based on a line of boys’ attack-Barbies, directed by the man who brought you Van Helsing, and starring Marlon Wayans and Joseph Gordon-Levitt without the least bit of irony has turkey written all over it, and nothing in the trailer for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra suggests otherwise. Indeed, the signs were there early on, after a number of stunt mishaps narrowly averted serious disaster — though resulted in at least one cleavage-singeing for star Sienna Miller. She confirmed as much to Australian press at a stop on the movie’s worldwide promotional tour, saying, “Luckily it wasn’t my breasts, it was the bit in-between. It got a bit burnt when an explosion got a bit close.”

But it would take more than some barbecued boobies to get Paramount to eject the man behind it all from the production. Denying widespread rumors that he’d been dismissed by the studio after some disastrous test screenings, Sommers said:

‘It’s complete lies. I have always had final cut of the film. People just make stuff up. You have to really screw up to get fired from a movie. The stigma of that would kill it. This is not the case.’

Meanwhile, newly married star Channing Tatum explained how his position as an opinionless patriot nearly prevented his involvement — until he read the script, and realized that what Sommers and Paramount were trying to do was create a military strike-force movie, without the military:

‘When I was first approached about the role I thought, ‘Aww man, how are you going to make a movie about G.I. Joe in a time of war?’

‘Then I read the script and it was nothing to do with the military at all. ‘I’m a big supporter of the soldiers and the military and I don’t have a view on the war at all, I’m not a political person.

In the end, the film’s stars seem to want to keep expectations realistic:

Actor Channing, 29, said: ‘I hope it does OK’, while a less tactful Sienna added: ‘You know, GI Joe, it’s not going to be the best acting work we’ve ever done.’

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Growing Pains: When Child Stars Become Adults

Growing up isn't always easy, so imagine having to grow up on movie screens in front of an audience of millions. Sure, the money probably eases the burden... but we digress.

Watching the Harry Potter kids as Half-Blood Prince rolls out seems to reveal a relatively well-adjusted trio of stars who've avoided the pitfalls of celebrity life and kept their wits about them (though not always their clothes, as Daniel Radcliffe showed in his Equus theatre debut).

But how will the kids fare post-Potter? Will they transition successfully into adult roles? We decided to take a look back at 25 memorable child stars -- and the courses their careers took.

Natalie Portman

A 12-year-old couldn't ask for a cooler film debut than that of a gun-toting, Lolita-esque muse to a hardened New York hit man. In 1994's Leon, Natalie Portman gets to swear, smoke, wear hot pants and learn how to take out a target -- only Luc Besson would dare get away with it -- thus preparing herself for a successful adult career as the muse of a Sith Lord, a terrorist, and Devendra Banhart. But really, Natalie -- what the hell was with Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium?

Edward Furlong

Ah, Eddie. He burst onto screens wearing a Public Enemy T-shirt, robbing ATMs and teaching killer robots how to high five as the young k.d. Lang -- sorry, John Connor -- in 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but the ensuing years have been anything but 'eeeasy money'. 1998's trio of Pecker, American History X and Detroit Rock City looked promising, but Furlong's battle with drugs sidelined his CV -- and meant we had to deal with Christian Bale as John Connor in Terminator Salvation. Uh, thanks for that. Still, at least Uwe Boll's giving him work.

Dakota Fanning

There are those who'll insist Dakota was never really a child actress -- just an adult trapped in a miniature body. True, there's something eerily preternatural about her performances, even going back to 2001's I Am Sam -- when she was just seven -- and she was definitely too old to be playing with pigs and spiders in Charlotte's Web. But the world wasn't ready for Dakota to grow up, as the rape-gate controversy over the quickly-shelved Hounddog illustrated. Now, she's ready for proper young adult, starring in Twilight: New Moon, and as proto-punk '70s riot grrl Cherie Currie in The Runaways. Hello daddy, hello mom...

Linda Blair

To be fair, Linda Blair was never going to live up to -- or live down -- her portrayal of The Exorcist's Regan, a... 'troubled'... child given to decorating her bedroom with projectile vomit, descending staircases upside-down, and telling men of the cloth exactly what their mothers liked to suck in Hell. Her roller-skating teenage return in the train wreck Exorcist II quickly gave way to a rut of straight-to-video B-movies in the 1980s, while she later spoofed her most famous role with 1990's Repossessed!, resurfaced for a cameo in Wes Craven's Scream, and recently appeared in an episode of TV's Supernatural. Fitting enough.

Haley Joel Osment

Teenage growth spurts can be painful at the best of times, but when your awkward years are captured in a police mugshot for a DUI, it's all the worse. That 2006 photo of Haley Joel Osment's post-car accident arrest stunned everyone who remembered him as the silent, ethereal little boy who saw dead people in The Sixth Sense, played a creepy kinder-droid in Spielberg's A.I. and then, well... it's not that HJO disappeared exactly, but did anyone see Home of the Giants? He's only 21, so let's give his body time to align and then we'll see where he goes...

Elizabeth Taylor

Hard to imagine the fabulously over-the-top 77-year-old icon was once a child star, but there it was: baby-faced Liz cuddling up to a border collie in 1943's Lassie Come Home and a prized horse in 1944's National Velvet. Her adult career is legendary, of course, with two Best Actress Oscars, star turns in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Giant; not to mention an infamously stormy marriage to Richard Burton and a collection of husbands almost as long as her list of film credits.

Ke Huy Quan

He got his break trying to pick Dr. Jones' pockets and went on to become the adventurer's trusted sidekick in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom -- proving useful in a lop-sided fight against evil henchmen and wicked Maharaja's with voodoo dolls -- but Ke Huy Quan may just be as fondly remembered as Data, he of the malfunctioning booby-trap gadgets in 1985's The Goonies. Seems his fight-training paid off, too: he's since worked as a stunt choreographer on X-Men and Jet Li's The One.

Kristen Stewart

Okay, so she wasn't exactly stretched to do much of it in Twilight, but we all knew Kristen Stewart could act -- cast your memories back to the barely 12-year-old's petrified turn as Jodie Foster's diabetic daughter in David Fincher's Panic Room and you can see a child actress with an intense range... of fear, at least. No doubt her ex-child prodigy co-star offered her some tips because Kristen's career has been on a sure and steady climb ever since -- with the obligatory kids' films (the underrated Zathura) giving way to parts in Into the Wild and the Twilight Saga, which has made her one of the world's most recognizable stars. Next up: loving rock and roll as Joan Jett in The Runaways. Yowl.

Drew Barrymore

Drew's rise and fall and rise again is the oft-told stuff of pop culture legend: a descendant of the famous Barrymore acting clan, the 7-year-old with the blonde pigtails melted the world's heart as Gertie in E.T. and, just a few years later, had succumbed to the abyss of Hollywood's party drugs. Yet what looked like a classic case of child-star burnout turned around in the '90s -- we're saying precisely at the moment she appeared as a Swedish receptionist in Wayne's World 2; or gave a 'revealing' interview on Letterman -- and, post-Charlie's Angels, Barrymore is a successful producer (thank her for Donnie Darko) and about to be first-time director, with Ellen Page's all-girl roller derby Whip It! due later this year.

Macaulay Culkin

It's a filmic image as enduring as Mйliиs rocket in the Moon, Citizen's Kane's Rosebud or Godard's Breathless jump cuts: yes, we're talking about 10-year-old Mac's hands clasped to his face in Edvard Munch-like horror in Home Alone -- arguably the greatest ever moment in cinema history. (What? We poll experts on these things, you know.) Culkin was the biggest thing in child stardom since Shirley Temple and for a brief moment in the early '90s he reigned supreme: a hit sequel, hangin' with Michael Jackson; a pretty moving turn in My Girl. But age and -- dare we say, a limited acting range -- caught up with Culkin, whose roles in the likes of Party Monster required more than cute McCallister face-pulling. We'll always have his weirdly hot Sonic Youth video, though.

Winona Ryder

"My whole life is a dark room," deadpanned Winona Ryder as the comically morbid kid in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice. "One big, dark room." Okay, so things haven't gotten quite so grim for "Wino Forever" (as ex Johnny Depp renamed his tattoo of her), but after an opening resume that included Heathers and Edward Scissorhands -- and an Oscar nomination for 1994's Little Women -- the actress appears to have steadily drifted sideways, appearing most recently in stuff that's missed theatrical release altogether. We could make some easy wisecrack about kleptomania here, but whatever she's doing to keep her looks -- it's clearly working.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Hey, Mr. Serious Scorsese Muse and Eco-Crusader -- you were in Critters 3! Yep, Leo's less-than-auspicious debut predicted little of what his career would become; yet the guy quickly demonstrated his electric talent as a teen in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? and The Basketball Diaries. Titanic teen-idolatry, running with the so-called "Pussy Pack" and overexposure almost finished him, so DiCaprio wisely removed himself from the public eye for a couple of years, reemerging with Spielberg (Catch Me If You Can), Scorsese (Gangs of New York, et al) and Ridley Scott (Body of Lies). What we wouldn't give to see the dude lighten up a little, though...

Christian Bale

Ben Stiller said that, while working on Empire of the Sun, he conceived the idea for Tropic Thunder, his war-movie satire rife with maniacal, egotistical actors who love to shout a lot. Could he have been reminiscing about his 13-year-old co-star Christian Bale, who hurled perfectly eloquent obscenities at incompetent director Steven Spielberg and ordered John Malkovich to get out of his shot? We'll never know, but Bale's performance -- based on J.G. Ballard's memoirs -- shows a kid with already enormous intensity. The rest is history -- Patrick Bateman, Bruce Wayne, Reign of Fire. What's that, you don't remember that movie? Helicopters and dragons -- together? Bale is next up in Public Enemies, and is filming The Fighter with David O. Russell.

Judy Garland

Dead at age 47 from a drug overdose, Judy Garland's was a tumultuous career marked by dizzying highs -- and tragic lows. Already a child star at MGM in the '30s, she may have been 17 by the time she stepped down the Yellow Brick Road as Dorothy, but her role in The Wizard of Oz is immortalized among the great childhood performances. Garland's adult career was marred by pills and alcohol abuse -- some claimed the studios insisted she was overweight, leading to her self-destructive binges -- and the actress attempted suicide several times. Yet with 1954's A Star Is Born she emerged triumphant -- only to be gone, sadly, just a few years later.

Jodie Foster

Stick with psychos, kids, and you'll do just fine. 13-year-old Jodie Foster's big break (and first Oscar nomination) came as Travis Bickle's obsession -- a preteen prostitute in Taxi Driver -- and she would go on to win her two adult Oscars playing a rape victim in The Accused and matching wits with Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. (On the other hand, a Foster-fixated wackjob did attempt to assassinate ex-President Ronald Reagan by claiming the actress made him do it.) Still at the top of her game, Foster will next direct Mel Gibson in The Beaver (jokes after class, please). But would everything have been different if Disney had released her from her contract for a shot at Princess Leia?

Jake Lloyd

You kinda have to feel a bit bad for Jake Lloyd: aside from his CGI Rasta pal Jar Jar Binks, the young Anakin Skywalker copped a large percentage of the flak from incensed fan-boys demanding a refund for their violated childhoods in the fallout from Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace. And that was more or less it for Lloyd, who seemed none-too-fussed about the whole thing -- as this candid interview reveals -- and headed off to college (as a film major, no less). Then again, we're sure the merchandising royalties from one of the ten highest-grossing films of all time will ease his bad memories.

Natalie Wood

Her role in 1947's holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street would have sealed her movie memory, but child star Natalie Wood was only beginning -- it was her roles as a young woman that will be best remembered. Over the next two decades she starred opposite James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause, headlined musical gem West Side Story, and appeared alongside Warren Beatty in Splendor in the Grass (both from 1961). Her later career was less eventful, save for the fact that, well, she drowned -- at just age 42, having filmed her last role opposite Christopher Walken in the sci-fi Brainstorm.

Kirsten Dunst

"I want some more," hissed Kirsten Dunst's tortured bloodsucker in Interview With the Vampire, all golden tresses and dripping red fangs like some Shirley Temple of the underworld. And she got it: after doing kid duties in films like Jumanji and Small Soldiers, she transitioned elegantly into quality teen roles both haunting (The Virgin Suicides) and archly bubble-headed (Bring It On). Spider-Man, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Marie Antoinette would follow, confirming her place as one of her generation's most talented.

Shia LaBeouf

"Who is this guy and how does he seem to be everywhere all of a sudden?" exclaimed some as the teenager apparently groomed by Dreamworks for instant stardom started opening number one films with Disturbia and Transformers and landing the plum role as Jones Junior Junior in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Shia's success wasn't quite overnight, however: he'd done his time on Disney's TV series Even Stevens, appeared in kids' film Holes, and guested on episodes of The X-Files and Freaks and Geeks. Now, he's the more or less the biggest star in the universe -- whether you like it or not.

Christina Ricci

Miss Ricci's always had a thing for the dark side -- she was, after all, the sardonic face of Wednesday Addams in the two films of the classic TV series, before taking the Tim Burton rite-of-passage opposite Johnny Depp in Sleepy Hollow. But even that couldn't prepare us for the emotionally dark places the actress was drawn to: from her precocious role in Ang Lee's The Ice Storm to her lascivious entrapper in The Opposite Sex, Ricci has shown she's willing to bare her soul -- and, in Black Snake Moan, everything else -- for her art. Plus, her haircut might have been the best thing about Speed Racer...

Anna Paquin

Winning an Oscar at 12 -- the second-youngest actress to do so -- for The Piano in 1994 was either a ticket to a downhill ride or the beginning of something illustrious. In truth, Anna Paquin's career since has been a mixed bag, her most visible work being her role as Rogue in the X-Men trilogy. Beyond the franchise, though, she's shown range in smaller films (Almost Famous, the excellent The Squid and the Whale) and her current gig headlining TV's True Blood has seen her maintain her profile. Not so sure about the hair.

Corey Feldman

As one half -- the more charismatic half, you say? -- of late '80s teen heartthrobs the Coreys, Feldman and his screen pal Haim were cemented onto bedroom walls and into a time and place that it was always going to be tough to escape from (just try to watch 1995's Dream A Little Dream 2 -- we dare you). Long before that particular dreamboat ran aground, though, Corey Feldman had appeared in a bunch of the '80s most cherished films: there he is playing with Gizmo in Gremlins, shooting his mouth off in The Goonies and coming of age in Stand By Me. The Lost Boys should have made him a star. So what happened? May we direct you to last year's Lost Boys: The Tribe, perhaps?

Carrie Henn

Who could forget wide-eyed, pint-sized lost urchin Newt in Aliens? (Well, who but David Fincher, anyway, who decided to reintroduce her as a frozen corpse in Alien 3). In many ways she was the soul of James Cameron's revered sci-fi sequel, compelling Sigourney Weaver's Ripley to motherhood instinct action and inspiring the movie's great line: "Get away from her, you bitch!" So, with just the one movie to her credit -- and what a movie at that -- it makes you wonder where she vanished to. The answer: Henn, now 33, is a school teacher. (Thanks to Cplbeaudoin for the photo).

Tatum O'Neal

Sorry, Anna Paquin: Tatum O'Neal was all of 10 when she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Paper Moon, the 1973 hit in which she played a diminutive grifter opposite her dad, Ryan. Unfortunately it was to be the high point of her career. After a couple of teen turns in The Bad News Bears and International Velvet, Tatum became better known for her marriage to tennis bad-boy John McEnroe, and -- if Michael Jackson's 2002 reminiscence is to be believed -- she was the raunchy starlet who attempted to deflower the shy young music star. O'Neal's recent drug busts for crack possession put her a long way from the glory child actor days, though she continues to get TV work.

Shirley Temple

The Queen Bee of child movie stars, Shirley Temple began her acting training at age three, and was a star at six, going on to appear in a string of popular hits during the 1930s. In 1935 -- now the ripe old age of seven -- the golden-curled one received a special 'miniature' Oscar from the Academy for her contributions. Now that's one good ship lollipop. You can't blame her from retiring from movies in 1949 -- aged 21.

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Forbes’ list of Hollywood’s highest-paid dudes came out recently, and not surprisingly, the biggest fat cat is the big fat cat-eater himself, George Lucas. My question: if George Lucas is making $170 million a year and Jerry Bruckheimer $100, why are their movies still such sucky, shameless cash grabs? Once you’ve made more money than you could ever spend, wouldn’t you want to do something that you can actually be proud of? In Bruckheimer’s case, I think he’s just really lazy. “A movie about guinea pig secret agents? Sure. F*ck it, why not. I mean, we’ve already done rapping kangaroos.” As for George Lucas… I think it’s pretty clear that he’s a robot. A machine being controlled by others whose mission is only to make more money. And the pilot sits in his bullfrog chin.

Here’s the top 10:

(numbers are from June 2008 to June 2009)

1. George Lucas - $170 million
2. Steven Spielberg - $150 million
3. Jerry Bruckheimer - $100 million
4. Jerry Seinfeld - $85 million
5. Tyler Perry - $75 million
6. Dick Wolf - $75 million
7. Harrison Ford - $65 million
8. Adam Sandler - $65 million
9. Larry David - $55 million

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Chewie, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Leia and R2D2