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‘Star Wars’ to return with old, new faces


The rumors can be put to rest. Word finally arrived Tuesday confirming precisely which actors will have a role in “Star Wars: Episode VII,” the film that will return George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away to the multiplex Dec. 18, 2015.

Adam Driver, best known for his role in HBO’s “Girls,” and Oscar Isaac, who won considerable acclaim for his turn in the Coen brothers “Inside Llewyn Davis,” will appear alongside Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, motion capture actor Andy Serkis and venerable Swedish thespian Max von Sydow. Also in the mix are John Boyega, known for his work in the fan favorite film “Attack the Block,” and newcomer Daisy Ridley.

The principal actors from Lucas’ original saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker, are also set for director J.J. Abrams’ new film.

Abrams wrote the screenplay for “Episode VII” with Lawrence Kasdan, and he will produce with Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy and his longtime collaborator Bryan Burk. John Williams will return as the composer. Abrams was tapped to direct “Star Wars: Episode VII” in January of last year.

The upcoming trilogy of new films was announced Oct. 30, 2012, when the Walt Disney Co. went public with its plans to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion.

Brokaw not stopped by cancer

NBC’s Tom Brokaw says that cancer has slowed him but not stopped him from working.

“It has become a larger deal in my life than I anticipated,” said Brokaw, the former “Nightly News” anchor who began his NBC career in Los Angeles.

Brokaw, 74, has been undergoing chemotherapy for multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting blood cells in the bone marrow. He was diagnosed last summer.

“The physicians all think it’s going to be successful,” he said. “There are no guarantees in this business. I cannot say it has not affected my life. It has taken over my life in many ways. But I’m still able to write and work and do the things I like to do. I’m just not able to do them at the same pace.”

Brokaw was honored this week with NBC’s announcement that it is dedicating its new broadcast facility in Universal City, Calif., as the “Brokaw News Center.” It will host the West Coast operations of NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Telemundo and local Los Angeles news programs.

Since stepping down as “Nightly News” anchor in 2004, Brokaw has kept active as a commentator, filled in as “Meet the Press” moderator after Tim Russert died and has done several documentaries, many with a historical bent.

The birthday bunch

Actress Cloris Leachman is 88. Singer Willie Nelson is 81. Actor Burt Young is 74. Singer Bobby Vee is 71. Actor Perry King is 66. Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas is 53. Rock musician Chris Henderson (3 Doors Down) is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees) is 41. Actress Kirsten Dunst is 32.


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