The previous two years have been one thing of a whirlwind for Daisy Ridley. At 23, the London-born actress held a string of credit starting from episodes of Silent Witness and Casualty to comedian book-thriller Scrawl, however had but to seek out her large break. Quick ahead just a few months, and he or she had been solid in Star Wars: The Power Awakens, the big-budget Disney reboot of the sci-fi franchise that has outlined the style because the first instalment in 1977. The Power Awakens subsequently made $2 billion on the box-office and landed Ridley a Teen Alternative Award for breakout star in addition to a legion of devoted followers.
So, how did it really feel to be plucked from relative obscurity and thrust into the worldwide highlight? “Nerve-wracking,” muses Ridley. “After which it was superior.” Now 25, she speaks on the eve of the discharge of The Final Jedi, the much-anticipated sequel to The Power Awakens, which sees her character Rey harness the drive and support the insurgent alliance of their battle in opposition to the First Order. “The primary movie was completely different,” she explains. “From after I received solid, I went straight into coaching after which straight into filming. Every part occurred actually shortly. I had a yr off earlier than The Power Awakens got here out so I spent some time catching up with every little thing, after which we did all this promotional stuff that I by no means thought you needed to do once you made a movie. When it lastly got here out folks have been so beautiful about it, however I out of the blue thought ‘I do not know what I did first time round. I do not know the way I’d do that once more.'”
Did she really feel extra of a way of duty when capturing The Final Jedi? “Sure,” she says emphatically. “The response to the primary movie was so superb, however I felt prefer it wasn’t me that did that. Another person wrote that half and I wished to do it justice.” Her apprehension additionally stemmed from the truth that The Final Jedi would see Rey and Finn, the stormtrooper-turned-resistance fighter performed by John Boyega, observe divergent storylines. “I mentioned to the director Rian [Johnson], that I did not know the way this was going to play. If folks responded to Rey and Finn, what is going on to occur if they are not collectively? There have been a number of questions, however I am hoping all of it turned out okay.”
Ridley is vulnerable to understatement. In The Final Jedi Rey is a drive of nature, battling the commander of the First Order Kylo Ren, piloting the Millennium Falcon and coaching with Luke Skywalker himself, performed to grizzled perfection by Star Wars veteran Mark Hamill. Astonishingly, she can also be the primary lady to have held a lightsaber onscreen within the franchise’s 40 yr historical past. How was it filming the motion sequences? “Wonderful!” she says. “I did just about the entire stunts, which is nice as a result of after I watch it again I can inform that it is actually me. I skilled very arduous for it, and I feel the battle scenes are superior in it truly.”
Star Wars has, after all, by no means been wanting sturdy and sophisticated feminine characters. In The Final Jedi, Carrie Fisher reprises the function of Princess Leia for the ultimate time. Fisher handed away in December of final yr, shortly after she completed capturing the movie. Ridley remembers her fondly. “It was nice working along with her. She was actually humorous. There is a bit within the movie the place we’re chatting in a large shot, and I am unable to bear in mind what she was saying nevertheless it was one thing ludicrous.” Followers may rejoice on the information that extra footage of Fisher might be launched sooner or later. “I feel the behind-the-scenes stuff will seize a number of her awesomeness on set.”
For Ridley, life has modified past recognition. Final month she starred in Homicide on the Orient Specific alongside Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Penélope Cruz. In 2018, she’s going to observe this up with Ophelia, a re-imagining of Hamlet the place she performs the titular character to Naomi Watts’s Gertrude. Has all of it sunk in but? Ridley shakes her head. “I did a Q&A with Brooklynn Prince from The Florida Venture final week and he or she was hilarious. She mentioned to me, ‘you realize Star Wars has been round since earlier than dinosaurs?’ And he or she’s simply seven years outdated. It makes you realise how large it’s. It was insane as a result of I’d simply seen her in The Florida Venture and I assumed she was superb, so it is odd having these kinds of interactions. I do not know if I will ever get used to that.”