In a very unusual move for the highly secretive film, a walk-on role for a member of the general public has been created and will be raffled off to benefit the charity UNICEF.
The filmmaker explains himself in a video from Abu Dhabi — which also offers a glimpse of one of the practical (that is, no digital effects here) alien creatures from that far off galaxy.
"We want to put you in the movie, in Star Wars," Abrams explains. "You get to come to London, where we're shooting the movie mostly at Pinewood Studios ... You'll get to meet the cast, go behind the scenes, and see the whole moviemaking process. But more than that, we'll put you in hair, makeup and wardrobe, and you'll actually get to be in the movie."
To enter, Abrams says to visit Omaze.com's page dedicated to the Star Wars: Force For Change initiative.
The auction will raise money to support UNICEF's Innovation Labs, which aims to create technological fixes for children in remote or troubled reasons. (Some of their work involves creating portable, solar-powered education kits in places like China, Uganda, and Burundi, mobile phone programs in the Philippines aimed at reuniting children with their families after an emergency, or delivering infant medical information from clinics in Zambia.)
The walk-on roll won't be a budget-buster, available for auction only to the highest bidder. You could land the part for as little as ten bucks. For each $10 contribution, donors will be automatically entered — and the contest runs from now until midnight on July 18th.
There are other prizes, too. Similar to Kickstarter giveaways, Lucasfilm and Disney are offering assorted gifts at various levels for those who contribute more.