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Here’s how ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ brought Peter Cushing back from the dead

Peter Cushing returns as Grand Moff Tarkin in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” even though he’s been dead for 22 years.
Peter Cushing returns as Grand Moff Tarkin in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” even though he’s been dead for 22 years. .

A ‘Rogue’ actor

It’s understandable that in last year’s “The Force Awakens,” Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, as Leia and Han Solo, showed their age, almost 40 years after their first “Star Wars” film. And yet in the new prequel, “Rogue One,” Imperial governor Grand Moff Tarkin looks just the same as ever — even though Peter Cushing, the imposing British actor who plays him, died in 1994. How’d they do that? First filmmakers chose a look-alike, BBC soap actor Guy Henry, says the Washington Post. Computer effects morphed him into Cushing, so Tarkin is free of the dreaded CGI “dead eye” effect.

‘Poppins’ fresh

Speaking of blasts from the past, Dick Van Dyke says he will appear in “Mary Poppins Returns,” Rob Marshall’s musical sequel due on Christmas Day 2018. “This one supposedly takes place 20 years later, and the kids are all grown up,” Van Dyke told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a great cast: Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and that guy from ‘Hamilton,’ ” meaning Lin-Manuel Miranda, who will play a lamplighter named Jack. Emily Blunt takes over for Julie Andrews as the nanny of the title. Van Dyke, 91, won’t be Bert the chimney sweep again. Instead, he’ll be the son of a greedy banker — another role he played in the original, under heavy makeup. “Well, I’ve got to be a part of it,” he said, adding that he would travel to London next spring to film the movie. “I think I’ll just have the one scene, and a little song and dance in it.”

Movie shorts

▪ Denis Villeneuve says the 2017 sequel “Blade Runner 2049” will be R-rated, like the original — “one of the most expensive R-rated independent feature films ever made,” he tells Screen Daily. Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford star. One of their co-stars? KC’s own David Dastmalchian.

▪ Wes Anderson announced his next project via video this week: the stop-motion animated “Isle of Dogs” (get it?), featuring the voices of Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bryan Cranston and Scarlett Johansson.

▪ Martin Scorsese tells the Toronto Sun he’s still working on his long-gestating adaptation of Erik Larson’s “Devil in the White City.” Leonardo DiCaprio is set to star as a serial killer at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Sharon Hoffmann: 816-234-4457, @Sharonakc

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