Comedian Lauren Lapkus appeared on the I Was There Too podcast and revealed to host Matt Gourley that she auditioned for a mystery role in Star Wars: Episode VIII. It seems like writer/director Rian Johnson is looking to emphasize a more comedic side to the supporting roles in Star Wars.
Besides being a ridiculously talented improv comedian and podcast host, Lapkus most likely got some preference due to her role as Vivian the control room technician in Jurassic World, which was directed by Colin Trevorrow. Trevorrow will direct Episode IX next. (If you recognize Lapkus at this point but can’t place her, she also played prison guard Susan Fischer in 13 episodes of Orange is the New Black)
The subject of her stressful Star Wars audition came up when the interview drifted to Trevorrow going from the indie sci-fi comedy Safety Not Guaranteed to the multi-million-dollar Jurassic World to Star Wars. “Can we get you in that?” Gourley asked, to which Lapkus answered, “It’s too late,” because she’d already auditioned for Episode VIII.
“I auditioned for VIII,” Lapkus said, noting she could not say for what role. “I think it was a fake [character] just for the audition. I was on the hunt for something … The audition was real but nothing on the page was real. That was an exciting audition to get.”
The Star Wars banter starts at about the 18-minute-mark:
Lapkus admitted that besides the strict NDA she signed, she couldn’t even begin to speculate about the role she auditioned for since she’s never even seen any of the Star Wars movies. But she did mention she auditioned with a false script, saying the character she read for “was on the hunt for something,” but she reiterated to Gourley that pages she was given were “completely fake.”
In an illuminating moment about the behind-the-scenes stresses of being an actor, she explained that she did the audition after dropping her dad off at the airport. She then received a panicked storm of texts when his flight got cancelled, all while she was waiting at the audition. She had to turn her phone off because the texts from her dad were stressing her out too much.
But what could this mystery role mean? While The Force Awakens featured some great comic relief with some sarcastic quips by John Boyega as Finn and wonderfully-timed comedic grunts from Chewbacca, the more serious Episode VIII could benefit from moments of levity brought by actors like Lapkus in supporting roles.
If you know her perfectly zany work on podcasts like Comedy Bang! Bang! you’ll know it’s highly unlikely that Lapkus would be called in to read for an overly dramatic role. If anything, we can assume it would be for some kind of supporting character like her Jurassic World role.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled to hit theaters (sadly, without Lapkus) on December 15, 2017.Photos via Earwolf, Getty Images / Imeh Akpanudosen