Taking a job on a Star Wars film must be simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. On one hand, the movie is all but guaranteed to be a success, you’ll get a chance to appear in one of the most iconic franchises of all-time and, if the whole acting career doesn’t work out, you can make a living on the convention circuit signing glossy headshots. On the other hand, though, screw this up and it’ll follow you to your grave, as hardcore franchise fans will not forgive anyone for messing with their baby.
All that’s probably why J.J. Abrams gave some pointed advice to then-newcomer Daisy Ridley when she was cast as Rey in The Force Awakens. In a recent interview with Vogue, she laid out what he said:
“Understand the scale. This is not a role in a movie. This is a religion for people. It changes things on a level that is inconceivable… You don’t know what you’re getting into.”
Having just rebooted Star Trek, it’s safe to say Abrams knew what he was talking about. Everyone wants to be a Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher or Harrison Ford – nobody wants to be an Ahmed Best or even *shudder* a Jake Lloyd. Apparently, Ridley’s reaction to this was simply to nod enthusiastically, only for things to sink in when you walk onto the set and see X-Wings parked in landing bays and the Millennium freakin’ Falcon.
It probably really hit home when Abrams notoriously took her aside on the first day of filming and told her she was wooden: some candid advice that apparently kicked her performance into high gear. I mean, we all know the results.
If the trailers for The Last Jedi are a good representation of the film, the new instalment will see Ridley taking Rey to new physical and emotional heights, which is certainly exciting. We’ll know for sure if that’s the case on December 15th, when the sequel opens big.