Welcome to this week’s “Just for Variety.”
“Star Wars” really is about the fans.
So much so that some of the most die-hard will be seen in the Disney Plus series “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” starring Ewan McGregor.
So says Maya Erskine, the “Pen15” co-creator and co-star who appears in the “Star Wars” spinoff. “The extras were incredible on the set, and a lot of them were mega ‘Star Wars’ fans,” Erskine tells me on this week’s episode of the “Just for Variety” podcast in a joint interview with her “Pen15” cohort Anna Konkle. “One guy, he was so nice and he lifted up his sleeves and had ‘Star Wars’ tattoos over his whole body. And they build droids. There are lot of ‘Star Wars’ fans that build droids, and then the production companies will rent [them] from the fans.”
Erskine shot what she calls her “speck” of a role shortly after giving birth to Leon Frederick, her son with her fiancé, “This Is Us” actor Michael Angarano. “I got to bring my baby to set,” she says. “I wanted to wrap him in a shawl and have him pass as an extra in ‘Star Wars.’”
Erskine jokes that she’s getting an Obi-Wan Kenobi tattoo: “It’s on my ass.”
Of course, she has to be tight-lipped about her part on the show, but says, “Deborah Chow is an amazing director. The cast was incredible. It was so fun to do.”
She adds, “My brother, who’s a mega fan, was like, ‘If you don’t take this, I will disown you. You have to be part of this universe.’”
Speaking of the podcast, last week’s episode not only featured Lady Gaga but I can report that she helped “Just for Variety” pass 1 million downloads. Thank you, everybody, for listening and letting me know what you think. Here’s to another million and more!
Lily Collins is hoping for an “Emily in Paris” crossover with “Lupin,” the French-language Netflix show about a master thief played by Omar Sy. “I feel like Emily would make a really good spy,” Collins told me at the Season 2 premiere of “Emily” at the West Hollywood Edition hotel. “She does her own share of spying on social media. I think she’d make a really good investigator. I just hope we get to do a Season 3.”
One person who won’t be popping up alongside Emily is Samantha Jones. Twitter users have had a field day suggesting that Kim Cattrall’s iconic “Sex and the City” character join the series. “Emily in Paris” creator Darren Star also was creator and executive producer of “SATC.” “I’m not a fan of crossovers,” Star said. “It’s two different universes.”
Nina Dobrev started a lot of speculation about her joining “Stranger Things” for its fourth season after she posted a photo of herself in early December on Instagram in front of a building emblazoned with “Hawkins High School: Home of the Tigers.” She captioned the pic, “stranger things have happened …” But Dobrev tells me she was just having some fun in Atlanta while filming her upcoming Netflix comedy “The Out-Laws” near the “Stranger Things” set. “I walked over and took a picture because I’m a huge fan,” Dobrev told me on the phone from New York, where she and Julianne Hough had just rung the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate their wine company Fresh Vine Wine’s initial public offering. “But I’ve been campaigning to be on the show for years now. Hopefully the post got their attention. Maybe in Season 900, I’ll get to play an extra.”
Well, that’s it for “Just for Variety” in 2021. It’s been a little over a year since I was handed the pen for this column’s relaunch. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it every week as much as I’ve loved reporting and writing it. Stay safe, be well and I’ll see you in 2022.