Christopher Lee (Saruman) Cast in Star Wars: Episode 2 - But who is he?

Christopher Lee will be inhabiting Middle-earth and A Galaxy Far, Far Away very soon. recently announced the inclusion of Christopher Lee in the cast of Star Wars: Episode 2 as "a charismatic separatist". Here's an excerpt of what is said:

July 11, 2000 -- Lucasfilm is pleased to announce the casting of acting legend Christopher Lee in the role of a charismatic separatist in George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode II currently filming in Australia for release in summer 2002.

Lee says he is looking forward to taking part in the epic space fantasy saga. "They created a whole new era in the cinema," says Lee of the Star Wars films. "There's no question about that. The scale of imagination and the scale of production and the impact that it had on the entire world was a first. It created an impact in the cinema that was unique. This particular series of film will be a mythic saga on a vast scale."

Such scale is not daunting to a man of Lee's caliber. "I've been in the film industry for 53 years, and I can remember doing very big pictures, very physically demanding pictures, very tough pictures. Big budget movies with big directors. So, I am used to working in epic pictures. I've been in many over the years. In the past, one could work extremely hard, very long hours, very demanding roles, and still have fun. It can still happen today, but 'fun' is a word you don't hear very often in the film industry these days, sadly. It's increasingly rare. One of the things that George Lucas said to me was, 'We'll have a lot fun.' And that, believe me, is very good to hear."

Christopher Lee has defined the macabre for generations of horror film enthusiasts. His long film career began in 1947. In 1957, Lee appeared in his first Hammer Film Production, The Curse of Frankenstein, opposite Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars: A New Hope). With the success of Frankenstein, Lee would go on to star in numerous Hammer films throughout the 60s and early 70s, often co-starring with Cushing.

Thanks to everyone who emailed me with the news!

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