The names Daisy Ridley or Rey might not mean anything to most people yet, but that’s all about to change with the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens this week! For the part of Rey, J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy went with a relative unknown British actress, Daisy Ridley, whose whole world is about to change in a BIG way! Can you imagine the LEAD role in the new Star Wars movie being your film debut?! SO crazy! But, Daisy seems to be taking it all in stride – she’s humble, gracious, poised, and seems wise beyond her years. I can’t wait to see her in this movie as I know she’s going to be a great role model – and I’m excited for both girls AND my boys to see a female character in the lead role! In fact, in our interview, Kathleen Kennedy talked about how Rey is a Luke Skywalker for girls and for a whole new generation!
So our first question for Daisy was about just that:
Q: We were talking to Kathleen Kennedy earlier today, she referred Rey to your character as the new generation’s Luke Skywalker. How do you feel about that and what do you think this means to girls coming up in this generation that are going to be introduced to Star Wars maybe for the first time?
Well, it’s weird because I didn’t think of myself in those terms when I was doing it, because I think that might have been slightly overwhelming. But now I can see all of them in her. She’s a pilot so there’s Han. And she’s a kick-ass woman, so there’s Leia. But definitely the humble beginnings and an incredible story is the same as Luke. Obviously it’s very exciting that I’m a girl and that more people hopefully will be able to relate to this story because of that.
Perhaps people that haven’t been able to relate so much before. I wasn’t a huge Star Wars fan before, so I’m hoping that the fact that I’m as excited as I am, I hope that other people can feel that. And perhaps feel like this is something that they can now come on board to if they haven’t already felt that.
Yeah. I think I’ve been very lucky in my life to be able to look up to incredible women. Me and my mom have an amazing relationship. And she is really an amazing woman. And my Gram.I remember when I was auditioning, I met Kathy and I didn’t really understand who she was at that point. That’s obviously embarrassing now. But, she asked me who I looked up to and I remember talking about them and now I look at Kathy (producer and President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy) and think, oh my God. She’s another person – She’s another woman I look up to. So it’s funny because the women I look up to are older. They’re wiser. They have far more life experience. But Rey in her way has lived a life and she has wisdom probably beyond her years.And the thought of girls being able to relate to a character in a film, where perhaps girls can’t find in films so much of what they can physically like see themselves in. They can’t follow a story sometimes if there’s nothing that’s representing them in the film. So to be part of that is incredible. And like I’m just an actress, I’m not changing the world. But to be part of something that is perhaps groundbreaking and to be part of like a movement of women, not just in film, all over the world and all different sectors. That is an incredible thing.
Obviously I see a lot of myself in her, because it’s me playing her. I quite like myself as a person. I think everyone can be hard on themselves, but I think all too often people are far too hard on themselves and it’s not celebrated enough that people can actually enjoy themselves. But all of the qualities I think maybe I possess in small things, I think Rey has in greater amounts.
So I like to think I’m kind of brave but she’s far braver. I like to think I try and do the right thing, but she far exceeds that. She’s not polished and I think that’s why she’s so brilliant and so relatable. She’s far more of anything I think I could ever be–I guess because of her circumstances and the fact that she’s not real, I don’t know. I’m brave and honest and open. Like I hate lying. I’m a very open person, and she’s open to everything that’s going around her, even though it scares her – even though it makes her feel like she wants to run. She kind of plows on, so I hope I have those qualities.
Q: What’s it like to see yourself as an action figure?
It’s cool. I haven’t seen this one with the rucksack. I’ve got this suitcase of stuff sent to me and I received it when I was alone. So I Instagrammed my reaction because only my dog was there. And so I kind of put everything away and like in the suitcase, and then I came back the next day and there were figures everywhere. My sister and I live together, I was like, “what are you doing? Put them away, that is so weird.” I just moved out and she was like, “oh my god, I can make the flat a shrine to you.”
So, I asked her (after mentioning that adraoble Instagram video), “what was it like for you to see the movie for the first time?”
It’s weird because I kind of thought I’d feel like- when I watched the trailer – I thought I’d feel like that watching the film. But I didn’t. I felt like that after I finished watching the film, but it was far more complex. Watching the trailer, I felt an overwhelming sense of ‘oh my god, look at what I’m part of.’ All of the work that’s gone into this, is just incredible. Thousands of people and time and energy and love has gone into this thing and that was really the beginning. We had seen the teasers, but it was really like obviously the beginning of that.
So watching the film, I kind of thought it would be like that and it kind of wasn’t. I enjoyed it. But watching myself was very odd, really odd. And I was talking to Harrison, Harrison said he still doesn’t like watching himself. So I’m like if he doesn’t, it’s all right that I don’t. After like an hour we all kind of sat around having a chat and then I got in the car and just wept the whole way to the airport. But I didn’t quite know why.
I would be fine and then suddenly it hits you and the tears come and- and you don’t know why you’re doing it. And then it kind of settles again and then you remember that you were just like that. And then the ten-hour plane journey home. I would sleep and then I would wake up and I’d be panicky. It was really weird. It was like so much more than watching the trailer. But the overwhelming sense is the same. I’m still so incredibly pleased to be part of it. I still can’t believe I’m part of it. And that this is a thing and that people are going to enjoy this that much. I still grapple with the fact that that it is happening.
She was adorable. In fact, she compared the whole thing to what she thinks it might be on becoming a mom for the first time! I loved talking with her! And, I absolutely canNOT wait to see her in the film – and learn more about her character! This girl is going places!
Be sure to check out all our #StarWarsEvent Coverage:
- Star Wars Press Event Photos
- Harrison Ford [Han Solo] Interview
- John Boyega [Finn] Interview
- Lupita Nyong’o [Maz Kanata] and Oscar Isaac [Poe] Interview
- Kathleen Kennedy [Producer & Lucasfilm President] Interview
- J.J. Abrams [Co-writer & Director] Interview
Disclaimer: I was invited and hosted by Disney and LucasFilm to cover the #StarWarsEvent as part of an all-expenses paid press trip. As always, all opinions and love of Star Wars are entirely my own. Photos used in the post are courtesy of Disney and MomStart.com.