November 9th 2013 – a day in Star Wars history, a day when the open casting calls for Star Wars Episode 7 began. Unlike any major blockbuster had done before; the doors were open to every budding actor to try for a role of a lifetime.
Jedi News were on hand to bring you all the reaction and events at the casting call over the weekend, and today we bring you the second of two exclusive interviews with the people who were at the front of the queue and the first to audition for the roles of ‘Thomas’ and ‘Rachel.’ Quite unlike any publication or article before, we bring you inside the casting of Star Wars Episode VII…
As a 27 year-old actress Jasmine Du’Pre showed more guts and determination to make an impression at the Star Wars Episode VII open call auditions than anyone else - arriving some 21 hours before the auditions started, and camping overnight with her yorkie, Lola. Let me tell you November in Bristol gets extremely cold, so anyone with the determination to do that deserves every break they get. As Jasmine told us the mood was supportive and full of anticipation:
“I arrived at 2pm on Friday. There was no one there until around10pm. So quiet to begin with, but things picked up. People camped and stayed outside the doors. Gradually the queue got longer especially in the morning and they had to close the line because of the number of people who had turned up. Every one was excited, some over excited, some nervous, but over all we were supportive of each other and had a laugh, shared and bonded.”
For Jasmine, at the formative years of her career in the film business as a young adult actress, the open call gave the opportunity to catapult her career into superstardom, and that opportunity was too much to pass on:
“This amazing opportunity rarely comes by and it being from Star Wars!!! A huge film which has had such huge success. They started their first film on such low budget and now look at them- it takes an incredible team and story to make such an on-going success for over 35 years and I would love to be a part of this team. Also the fact that such an amazing team recognize there are people out there, trying to make it into this industry and are willing to give them a chance like this.... that's just amazing. As soon as I heard about it, I was set, ready to meet them. I have done acting from a young age and have been in professional films and commercials and have great acting skills. So I thought in life, you give it your best and work hard for what you want... through the rain and the sunshine. It really did rain ALOT!”
Jasmine has worked in the film industry from a young age, and the audition experience is not new to her, but how did this experience compare?
“This was an open audition. I have never been to an open audition, so it was mostly unpredictable. Usually I get approached or send my CV / show reel for a role and then I am given a time for my audition. There is usually a script sent to me or given when i arrive to the audition. I have had auditions where they ask me to improvise on the spot and get into different roles fast, which I do with ease. This was very different. It was very fast paced. But they were very well organised. They kept a calm, professional and friendly atmosphere. They were really nice so even if people are nervous for future auditions... DON'T BE. They are beautiful and professional and really take care of you when you get in there, walk you to the room, show you your seat and hand you a form to fill. It’s all very nicely planned and smoothly run.”
Jasmine has heard a lot in advance about the open call opportunity, and saw a great role in ‘Rachel’
“I first heard about this from Nick Thomas Webster from 99924/7 Production Company which is run by him and Kris Sommerville. There were also messages going round on Facebook from different agencies that are on Facebook which lead to the open call description. 17-year-old female, beautiful, athletic, intelligent; Rachel. Rachel lost both her parents when she was young. She was described as tough, strong, street-smart and never a victim- she looks after herself and always thinks about what she can do to move ahead and remains hopeful. I personally love this character already - she seems so deep, yet so determined and passionate to better her life and reach her goals with a smile and a willingness to move forward despite her past. Now that's...strength with delicacy combined.”
Jasmine could also see parts of herself in the role:
“Rachel is athletic; I am a kick boxer, pole dancer, I have done basic Ballet, tap dance and gymnastics. I also horse Ride and do ice skating, so felt I ticked that box well.
Rachel is intelligent; I have a license to save lives and have science degrees, which not only reflects my intelligence but also persistence and thirst for knowledge and determination for success. No matter what I was doing, I have kept up with my acting portfolio which started when I was very young, in theatres or films or commercials, you name it and you have to be a very strong and self motivated to balance ALL of these at the same time. Having achieved my goals, as I promised myself, I am completely focused on my acting and nothing else, hence the numerous amount of work I have done this year in particular with acting and I am very proud of my achievements.
Rachel is also beautiful, but I shall let you be the judge of that…”
Just speaking with Jasmine for a short period of time, you can see the passion and commitment that will deliver her success – and if she was able to convey that to the casting director, you can see the characteristics of Rachel in her.
“I am down to earth. Love life! Live every second appreciating EVERYTHING. Literally EVERYTHING. I am very self-motivated, passionate and determined to work for what I want in life and succeed with it because I work hard for it. I am not afraid of a challenge... I welcome it. I am not afraid of falling, because I KNOW I learn from it and become a stronger and more determined person because of it, so I appreciate it. Our experiences shape us. From a young age my parents taught me that IF everything around you falls, be the last person standing... and that is who I have become.
I love people! Everyone has a story... life is a film and when I act or play a role, I jump from one film to another and it feels natural when I am in character. I have been at auditions when the casting directors gave me 3 minutes to prepare a dialogue and they couldn't speak when I finished... I made it that real for them.
I love playing strong roles, lead roles, and one that allows you to capture the audience into another world... the real story world. I love intense, action, horror, emotional, strong character roles but am very flexible with getting into any character.”
For Jasmine the whole audition process went well and she felt very comfortable in the whole process:
“I was asked a little about my background in acting and about my hobbies and relaxation methods. It felt like a meet and greet with a new friend rather than a serious intense interview where you are put on the spot and have to think and think. It’s very fast but very calm. You could appreciate this is huge and they have to be fast to allow the opportunity for more people to enter the room to be seen. They honestly took every measure to ensure we were comfortable and it was smoothly run.
I felt very supported at the audition, pre, during and after. I was the first world wide to be auditioning for this role. The press was very polite and friendly. Lizo Mzimba who actually saw me the night before and tweeted my photo on the BBC News website was a great reporter, really kind, and friendly. I also really enjoyed my interviews with Clare Fallon from Sky News- she is an angel. She was really nice to Lola (my yorkie) as well and came across very caring. The Sky News producer who was there was such a lovely lady and so thoughtful and very supportive. Every one was very considerate. They actually queued to interview me so I felt supported before I even went in. I had an interview with a representative from Lucasfilm and he was so calm and considerate. Genuinely interested and as I was walking in he was wishing me good luck. It was Epic.”
During the audition, I think I was in the building for about 10 minutes. The forms took a few minutes to fill and then in with the interviewer for 2 minutes or just over. Even when I came out I was re-interviewed by the waiting media. Some one from Lucasfilm walked me out to make sure I was safe and happy... see that's what I mean. They are fantastic. She ensured I was comfortable with the press and she stood outside to look out others who were coming out of their audition as well.”
For Jasmine, it is not yet clear if her Star Wars adventure is over, she has not had a definitive Yes or No.
“I believe some were told they weren't right for the part and some were told at the audition to stay behind for a screen test. As it stands, there are some of us that haven't heard anything.
To be honest, I am not downhearted by anything and I am a realist. Yes, I haven't heard anything as yet, but reality is, this is HUGE and there are thousands and thousands who will be going for it. I wish everyone could get the part, because we all have hopes and want to be there and I send my love to every one who tried or is going to try for it. Evenbig celebrities who go for auditions sometimes don't get the part they want... they don't give up.
Those of us who haven't heard yet have different opinions as to why. As it stands, I am proud of myself for making the effort for something that I WANTED to do, but as a scriptwriter who is in discussion about a film whichWATCH THIS SPACE, is due to be produced in 2014, I understand that they are looking for a particular character and for the movie to be right, they need that particular character to be spot on. I am grateful because they offered the opportunity to every one.
The decision is theirs to recognise talent and ALSO find the right person for them. I have had people PM me, mms me, email me, tweet me etc. about being afraid of being rejected... DON'T be Afraid. You got to knock on doors... some will open...some wont. If you don't knock... none will open.
And remember, No doesn't mean No. It means not yet!”
As for anyone else planning on auditioning, Jasmine has these words of wisdom:
“If you are doing an all nighter, make sure you are safe. Put yourself first when it comes to safety. Don't EVER do it alone. Dress warm, bring snacks and drinks. Don't forget to bring a shot photo of yourself and don't forget to ENJOY the experience and SHINE.
They didn't ask for a CV, I took one with me in case. you never know. I don't think they have asked anyone for it.... so don't insist. They are really busy trying to give every one a chance. I took it just in case. I always do for any audition. Well I always have a copy on me wherever I go to be honest.”
As for Jasmine, she has already appeared in a number of productions; notably with Gary Lineker (an English football star), Simon Phillips (Retribution), Humshakals (Bollywood film), and a few more this year that she can’t yet discuss but will be out in 2014. She also appears in The Secret Of the Gods - which is in pre-production process, as well as DVDs for Educational purpose and training BH24Productions which are due to be released in early 2014; and a web series called With the Spirit of Audrey (Laura Kearley and Natalie Barthel) at Creative2g Media.
We may yet see Jasmine in Star Wars Episode VII in 2015, but failing that she has other projects on the horizon:
“There is a film Called 'My Love' which I cant say much about at the moment but despite the pretty title, its a very powerful psychological thriller which questions science at a level that NO ONE can prove right or wrong. It questions... "what if there is something so small, that is TOO big for human understanding". It's definitely worth looking out for. I believe the teaser is out in March 2014. Please look out for this. It will definitely be worth it!
Jasmine certainly has the drive and ambition to take her wherever she wants, and you can find her online at her new website www.jasmine-dupre.com, as well as at her new twitter account @jasminedupre2 - if she fits the bill for one of your own productions she would be delighted to discuss it.
The whole day was quite an experience for Jasmine and she could not identify one moment from the day that stood out, the overall experience for her was exceptional:
“Wow! What can I say! I don't think I had any low lights (lol). If you see my Facebook page and scroll right down passed the press photos and interview links and wishes from my beautiful friends, you will see that even when I was in the rain, cold and alone, I was feeling very bright wishing everyone a happy Friday and sending out love! It was all amazing. The people, the atmosphere, the press, the audition, the being the first worldwide! The wait... I think the only thing I twitched my nose at was the idea of a tent! I am not a camping type of lady... I love my 5*hotels, but even "the tent" was worth it! I shared it with few people to keep them warm as well.
There are so many people that made it a special day for me, and for whom I owe a debt of thanks for getting me to this point in my career. Lucasfilm for giving this opportunity to everyone and being supportive of the people who turn up. 99924/7 production team for alerting us about this. Tony Sosinski, Nick Thomas Webster, Nadine Gorman, Kris Sommerville, Steve and Harrison and Emily Clarke, Elyas Ahmad and of course the one and only Lola (my baby yorkie)- all of them have been fantastic with supporting me throughout my acting career.
And a big thank you to every one I have had interviews with and all STAR WAR FANS -you all make a huge contribution. May the force be with you!”
As for her future:
“My goal.... I WANNA BE A MOVIE STAR! And that I shall be.”
We don’t doubt her for a moment…