Interviews, Movies, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

ROLLING STONE – It is a bleak time for the Republic. It is a period of great struggle for the entire planet, and not only is the dark side winning, it’s no longer clear any other side even exists. Seriously, you guys – Earth is messed up. Just ask a polar bear, or an almond farmer, or a GOP debate moderator. Or maybe check in with Luke Skywalker.

“The world is so horrible,” says Mark Hamill, Luke’s closest earthly representative, sitting in the shadow of swaying trees in his rather pleasant Malibu yard. At 64, Hamill is older than Alec Guinness was in the first Star Wars, and is in the process of regrowing a distinctly Obi-Wan-ish beard. “Between the Middle East and gun violence and global warming and racism, it’s just horrible. And people need this. It’s therapeutic.”

The “this” in question is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, out on December 18th and directed by geek hero J.J. Abrams, fresh from rebooting the Star Trek franchise. It is the seventh Star Wars movie, and the first not under the control of the saga’s gnomic creator, George Lucas, who let it all go in 2012, selling Lucasfilm and its franchise to Disney for $4 billion. The Force Awakens will return to the Star Wars galaxy three decades after the events of 1983’s Return of the Jedi, launching what Disney intends to be an endless series of movies.

Jedi ended with what appeared to be a total defeat for the evil Empire, capped with what Harrison Ford called a “teddy-bear picnic” of dancing Ewoks, complete with smiley Jedi ghosts at the sidelines. The Rebel Alliance might as well have pinned a “Mission Accomplished” banner to a tree on the forest moon of Endor.

“With any movie that ends with going off in the sunset and a celebratory moment, you can ask, ‘Well, what happened the day after?'” says Abrams. “Then decades go past. We were literally asking, ‘Well, what happened to the disbanded Empire? What happened to the Republic?'”

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Interviews, Videos


Interviews

THE NATIONAL – “Who are you?” asks a mysterious figure as a desert scavenger walks towards golden dunes. “I’m no one,” is the whispered reply.

She isn’t no one, of course. She is Rey, played by 23-year-old unknown British actor Daisy Ridley, one of the new, young characters in what is the most eagerly awaited film of the year – and possibly all time – Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

But the irony of Rey’s response is not lost on Ridley.

“Obviously there are a lot of people saying, ‘Who is this girl and why was she chosen?’” she says. “But with Star Wars, well, you feel like you’re standing on the shoulders of giants.

“I was terrified before we started filming and it was a wonderful thing to work with people at the top of their game.”

In a way, Ridley’s journey is the story of the new Star Wars film in microcosm. When director JJ Abrams announced that original stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill would appear, there was the fear that the seventh instalment of this iconic space opera would be a nostalgia trip into homage.

But, in the same way he successfully revitalised the other bg global sci-fi franchise, Star Trek, he seems to have avoided the pitfalls of tired rehashes by melding convincing new characters with the established Jedi vs Dark Side mythology of Star Wars, all while maintaining a sense of earthy reality.

It doesn’t look, if the trailers are anything to go by, like a story made on computers, populated by overpaid Hollywood stars.

The film was partly filmed in Abu Dhabi last year – with the sand dunes standing in for the desert planet of Jakku, a world not previously seen in the saga – and this, says Ridley, really helped to achieve that organic feel.

“This was a place that had everything people said they wanted from this Star Wars – the desert has this real, tangible dirt and grit and dust,” she says. “Pardon the pun, but for me it was like a baptism of fire, the perfect place to begin telling this story – not least because Abu Dhabi represents Jakku, which is Rey’s home planet.

“In the trailers you will have seen us running away from explosions in the desert. Those explosions were real, it was 50 degrees and we were running after a truck with a camera on it.”

The “we” she refers to includes fellow Brit John Boyega, who plays Finn, a stormtrooper that the trailers suggest is reformed and in search of redemption.

“Yes, it was boiling hot” in Abu Dhabi, he says. “But it did really help with the scenes, in terms of getting across the intensity and the fear of the character – you’re in the same environment, rather than a studio with hot lights.”

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Interviews, Videos

In this interview for MovieManiacsDE, Daisy talks about her role as Rey in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and about working with John Boyega.

Interviews

THE GUARDIAN – Daisy Ridley made her first feature film three years ago, a project by the film-maker Peter Hearn and his students at Andover College, where he is a lecturer. Ridley, like the handful of other professionals working with the students, was paid expenses for her role as a comic book drawing come to life, but that was about it.

Daisy Ridley’s second feature film is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh in the multibillion-dollar series. And if internet rumours are anything to go by (they’re not normally, of course, but Star Wars fans tend to be an obsessively analytical and keen-eyed bunch), Ridley’s character Rey, a staff-wielding scavenger picking through the wreckage of battles, is the film’s lead. “She’s not a superhero,” the British actor has said. “She’s a normal girl thrust into extraordinary circumstances, so it’s very relatable.”

Ridley’s leap from bit parts in British TV dramas to the biggest film franchise in the world is a legitimate overnight success. “It’s a great place to come from,” she said in an interview with Vogue in September. “Nobody has any expectations of me until they see the film.”

Ridley had heard that the film-makers were seeing not just famous actors and she lobbied her agent to get her an audition. She auditioned five times for the film’s director, JJ Abrams.

Casting an unknown was entirely deliberate, Abrams said recently. “That’s something I remember loving about the original trilogy: not having seen these people before,” he told Elle magazine. “It was exciting but also terrifying because we knew that there was going to be a certain level of scrutiny and expectation on who these people were going to be. So they needed to be actors whom the audience could discover as these characters, not as actors they’d seen elsewhere. Ideally, it needed to be people like Daisy – somewhat experienced, but mostly new to the game.”

Ridley, 23, grew up in west London with four older sisters. Her mother works in communications for a bank and her father is a photographer. A great uncle was the actor Arnold Ridley, who appeared as Private Godfrey in the classic TV comedy Dad’s Army.

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Interviews, Magazine Scans

Daisy Ridley is GLAMOUR magazine’s brand new cover star – and we think you’ll agree, she looks fierce on the front cover. The 23-year-old star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens up about her first day jitters, the Disney ‘machine’, and what she thinks about people getting tattoos – of her face!

Daisy on… her first-day-of-filming nerves:
“I was petrified. I thought I was gonna have a panic attack on the first day. JJ [Abrams] … he probably doesn’t remember telling me that my performance was wooden. This was my first day! And I honestly wanted to die. I thought I was gonna cry, I couldn’t breathe.”

Daisy on… the anticipation surrounding the film:
“It’s so nice that people are so excited about it. But people are getting tattoos! Of my face! Already! And I’m like; you don’t even know what Rey is in the story. It seems insane to me.”

Daisy on… the final edit, and whether she’ll watch it:
“I haven’t seen the film yet – I kinda want to, and I kinda don’t – Steven Spielberg’s seen it three times, as he told me when I met him!”

Daisy on… whether the Disney ‘machine’ have her firmly in control:
“My experience has been incredible, I’ve felt supported and respected the whole way through. I’ve not been told not to do anything. My Instagram has not been…what’s it called when they keep tabs on it? Yeah, it’s not monitored.”

Daisy, who has appeared in Mr Selfridge, Silent Witness and Casualty, plays “a scavenger in a ship graveyard” who fights off evil forces.

She’s also rumoured to be the daughter of key characters Han Solo and Princess Leia.

See the full interview in the January issue of GLAMOUR on sale from Thursday 3 December.

Appearances, Interviews, Videos

Daisy and the cast of “The Force Awakens” were on a special edition of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on November, 24. Here are some videos of the show:

The cast also faced off a 7-years old “Star Wars’ expert in a trivia game:

Interviews, Portraits

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are twins. Basically.

Both are 23, born only three weeks apart (he’s older). They are both youngest children, and both hail from the same city – although he’s from South London, she’s from West London, and they both insist those neighborhoods may as well be on different planets from each other. Both longed to act from a young age, and both ended up as the new leads of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

He plays the conscience-stricken, AWOL stormtrooper Finn, and she’s the abandoned, desert scrounger Rey. They’re both figures searching for a place to belong in the galaxy, and their mere presence in The Force Awakens – along with Guatemalan-born costar Oscar Isaac (who wasn’t available for an interview) – provides its own renewed sense of belonging in this fictional universe for fans who’ve longed to see a person of color or a woman at the fore of a Star Wars story.

“Writing this script with Larry Kasdan, I didn’t know what Rey was going to look like, I didn’t know what Finn or Poe would look like. I just knew that this movie needed to look the way the world looks,” director and co-writer J.J. Abrams tells EW.

MEET REY
Ridley is the youngest of five sisters. Her father is a photographer and her mother works in communications at a bank. Ridley has appeared on just a few British TV series in her short career, but winning the role of Rey transformed her into an instant star, especially among young women.

“What we’ve seen of Rey, she looks like she can handle her stuff,” Ridley says. “So most of the comments I get are from parents who say how wonderful it is that their little girls can see this character.”

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Interviews, Movies, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Entertainment Weekly has released more info on ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and several new photos of Daisy as Rey. (warning spoilers)

GALLERY LINKS
Film Productions > Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) > Production Stills

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – As part of EW’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens double-issue preview, here’s a collection of new images from the film, beginning behind the scenes with John Boyega’s Finn, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and director J.J. Abrams. We’re going to tread lightly on spoilers, but what you’ll find ahead are more than a dozen new images from this week’s collector’s edition of the magazine.

Rey’s Speeder
“It’s a beat up tractor that’s a hand-me-down or scavenged item,” says production designer Darren Gilford. “It was meant to look like a piece of farm equipment, something that’s not going real fast compared to what a sports car would do. But it has high-end torque like a tractor that needs to haul a trailer.”

This Desert Life
It’s a lonely existence scrounging for sustenance on a junkyard planet. Rey was ditched on Jakku by her family when she was a child and has no idea why — or why they never returned. “She’s been alone for a long time,” Ridley says. “When something occurs when you’re 5, you know what went on but you don’t understand the reasoning. She’s hopeful for what lies ahead, whether that involves the past or not.” So why hasn’t abandonment made her bitter, angry, and… prone to the Dark Side? “Hope makes people good, a lot of the time,” Ridley says. “You hope for a brighter future, and resentment is outweighed.”

Cold Confrontation
Now we see there’s a third element to Finn’s snowy, woodlands duel with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren. Rey is part of the battle, too. We don’t know how she fits in (although this looks a lot like the trailer shot of her weeping over a fallen friend), but as the Darth Vader-obsessed villain ignites the unstable blade of his saber, the untrained Finn is looking pretty unsure of himself. “Obviously that makes things a bit more tricky for Finn,” Boyega says. “That’s genuine fear.”

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Interviews, Magazine Scans, Photoshoots

Another cover for miss Ridley, and this time she is ELLE magazine’s cover girl for December. What a stunning shoot! The first outtakes have been added to the gallery, scans will follow as soon as they become available.

ELLE – With the arrival of Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley is about to go from unknown to intergalactic icon. Writer (and fanboy) Seth Plattner meets the new girl on fire for ELLE’s December issue cover story, on newsstands nationwide November 17.

British actress Daisy Ridley is only 23, but the maelstrom that is building around her is nearly 40 years in the making. On December 18, Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens will hit planet Earth, heralding the most anticipated sequel since the New Testament. Landing a role in the long-awaited new installment in the epic about that galaxy far, far away would be a game changer for any actress. This is Star Wars, after all—the more than $4.5 billion–grossing, six-film saga that has perhaps the cultiest following in the history of all that is geeky and cinematic (in a 2001 worldwide census, 500,000 people listed “Jedi Knight” as their official religion).

But for Ridley, The Force Awakens is not only her first multizillion-dollar tentpole studio extravaganza: It’s her first movie. Ever. And with due respect to Princess Leia and Queen Amidala, this is no damsel role, nor is it that of supportive sidekick to the guys who are really driving the Millennium Falcon. If the rampant fan speculation on the hundreds of Reddit, StarWars.com, and TheForce.net message boards—along with the whispers out of Hollywood—is true, Ridley’s character, Rey, will be the first female protagonist in the series’ four-decade history.

Here, in an excerpt from ELLE’s December cover story, four reasons Daisy Ridley is ready to take on Rey:

1. SHE’S DONE THE PREP.
[T]he diet—”lots of fish, legumes, and spirulina shakes,” Ridley says—and three months of grueling training: five hours a day, five days a week at the gym plus stunt practice at London’s Pinewood studios. “It became my solace,” she says of a fitness schedule she’s largely maintained in order to stay in Rey shape for reshoots, as well as the next, soon-to-film sequel in the series. “Because it’s the only thing structured in my life right now. Training is sort of a therapy session, I guess.”

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