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In Murder on the Orient Express (out Nov. 10), Kenneth Branagh’s brilliant detective Hercule Poirot is obsessed with finding who among the passengers on the titular train has committed a murder. But away from the U.K. set, a number of cast members became obsessed with their own whodunnit — or whoisit — as they gathered weekly to compete in a certain game. Below, Penélope Cruz, Leslie Odom Jr., Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley recall playing Werewolf in London.

PENÉLOPE CRUZ: Who told you? [Laughs]

LESLIE ODOM JR.: We played Werewolf every single Friday night.

JOSH GAD: Penélope Cruz and her lovely husband Javier Bardem came to set one day and they said, “You have to play the game called The Werewolves.” And I said, “It sounds very kinky, what is this?” And she went on to explain that it’s essentially a murder-mystery game. I was like, “Oh, how appropriate for what we’re doing.”

CRUZ: I have a group of people that I play with in L.A. and one in Madrid.

GAD: Basically, a bunch of people sit around in a circle, and two of those people are werewolves, and one by one they’re killing off the villagers, and it is up to the village to figure out who it is that’s masquerading as one of them, and ultimately kill them before they wind up killing everybody else.

DAISY RIDLEY: It’s a version of Mafia. Essentially, it’s kind of like a whodunnit in itself. It’s weirdly, insanely, addictive and hours seem to just pass you by when you’re doing it. We used to just get together every weekend, and eat, and drink, and play Werewolves.

ODOM JR.: It was me, Josh, Daisy, Tom, Marwan [Kenzari]. Penélope came every week, Willem came every week, we got Michelle.

MICHELLE PFEIFFER: We’d get a room, one of those like private conference rooms or something like that. It was a lot of fun.

ODOM JR.: Well, it was always hosted at Josh’s hotel, so we stuck Josh Gad with many a bill, many a food and beverage bill.

GAD: I was the ringleader, for about five weekends in a row, and it just got more and more insane and epic. They came over to my hotel, which became the base, which was lovely, because everybody had an opportunity to stiff me for all the food and liquor that I provided, which was great. And we played this incredible game. It is definitely art imitating life imitating art. It wound up being very useful, and also very expensive for me, because people like Daisy kept stiffing me.

ODOM JR.: It was this thing that we were all maybe a little bit embarrassed to be doing. It was like, there has to be a better way for us to spend a Friday night. But there really was no better way. It was a chance for us to drink, and eat, and hang out together, have a laugh. Invariably, we would have pop-ins. One week, we had Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and JJ Abrams were our guests. Those were the people that came to play, who happened to be in town, that came to play our ridiculous game. But every week, there were pop-ins. People would bring friends along with them. And so it was just a chance to hang out, and we would always have a story or six that we would be laughing about all week.

RIDLEY: Olivia [Colman] came late to the game [but] was really good.

GAD: Man, I’d have to say that Penélope is as shrewd as they come. She is so manipulative and so good, and she’s got those doe eyes, and she just makes you fall in love with her, and she can’t possibly be a killer. But she was the most experienced.

ODOM JR.: Willem Dafoe came grumbling every Friday night. From the very first one, he told us, “I have a voiceover thing tomorrow, I’m probably not going to be able to come. If I come, I’m not going to be able to stay.” And Willem would be the first one there and the last one to leave. He was a master at the game.

GAD: I have to say that, of all of the people who had never played before, Leslie Odom was the best player. He really just did an amazing job of manipulating all of us into thinking he was our friend and over and over again kept killing us. The worst player was Daisy. Daisy was hands-down the worst player I’ve ever played with. She was just sloppy. She was terrible at it. You could tell that Daisy was a werewolf the second she opened her mouth. You could tell she wasn’t a werewolf the second she opened her mouth.

RIDLEY: By the end of the game, every time I was a werewolf, I just laughed and everyone was like, “Daisy, please would you leave.”

GAD: She’s not very good at keeping secrets other than Star Wars secrets, apparently.




Daisy is on the cover of the November issue of Vogue. Here is the interview for the magazine.

“They’re really heavy,” Daisy Ridley says. “Three, four, five kilos? And the weight’s very unevenly distributed.” She’s talking about lightsabers—and explaining that if you’re actually in a Star Wars movie, you can’t just pick one up and wave it around, as children have been doing in their bedrooms for the past 40 years. Not at all. In real life—or rather, for real movies—special conditioning is in order. Before she could film fight scenes for Star Wars: The Last Jedi—the second in the trilogy in which she plays Rey, the heroine—she undertook a kind of neon martial-arts training. “You do, like, eight thwacks one way, eight the other, eight up, eight down,” she says. I suggest they could market that as a form of exercise. “Yeah,” she agrees, laughing: “Lightsaber school.”

We are driving from Ridley’s hotel in Beverly Hills to a convention center in Anaheim, where 7,000 Disney fans will turn up to see her stand on a stage for a few minutes with the cast of The Last Jedi. She has been groomed for the occasion—three braids on one side of her head, revealing the tiny peace-sign tattoo behind her right ear, a Lela Rose off-the-shoulder pantsuit, and Pierre Hardy pumps embellished with eyes. Ridley, a 25-year-old Londoner, is plainspoken and fast-­moving, with a wide face and eyelids that look as though they’ve been painted onto it with a brush. (“People really open up to me; it’s hilarious,” she tells me. “Someone said it’s because I have a big face—I look honest.”) In the classic mode of contemporary London, expletives punctuate her speech. She occasionally phrases things musically, as if improvising a show tune, yet there’s something about her that suggests she’s allergic to nonsense.

When we meet, Ridley has been seen by the general public in only one film. But because that film is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she has been thrust into a limelight comparable only, perhaps, to the attention directed at Harry Potter upon his arrival at Hogwarts. “Understand the scale,” the film’s director, J. J. Abrams, told her when he offered her the part. “This is not a role in a movie. This is a religion for people. It changes things on a level that is inconceivable.” Ridley nodded enthusiastically, but she really had no idea. “You don’t know what you’re getting into,” she tells me more than three years later, still sounding stunned.

D23 Expo, the annual midsummer convention of the official Disney fan club, is like Halloween on steroids. Out on the main floor, you might at any given moment bump into an adult Snow White or a middle-aged man wearing Mickey Mouse ears. In the greenroom, Josh Brolin is having his lunch, and Benedict Cumberbatch is chatting to Gwendoline Christie, who is here with her boyfriend, fashion designer Giles Deacon. They, at least, have ostensibly come as themselves. But the presentation they’re part of is like a circus. Numerous actors in upcoming Disney movies take brief turns onstage, doing little other than proving to the assembled fans that they are real—and smaller than you think. Ridley and her costars are dwarfed by a screen showing behind-the-scenes footage from The Last Jedi. The roar of approbation is so loud that you could easily mistake it for the ground shaking.

These are what Ridley, quoting Mark “Luke Skywalker” Hamill, calls UPFs—Ultra Passionate Fans. She herself wasn’t a Star Wars fan until she started auditioning for the role of Rey. Only then did she begin to sense the phenomenon’s cultural presence. “I was in Topshop, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, there are Princess Leia T-shirts.’ Suddenly I couldn’t see anything without seeing it too.”

Rey, Ridley’s character, is a scavenger who lives in a desert outpost. She has a determined gait and clothes that look as though she’s improvised them from bandages left in the sand. As her nemesis, Kylo Ren, says, Rey is “strong with the force—untrained but stronger than she knows.” She is in effect the new Luke Skywalker, a female heroine of a magnitude and complexity previously reserved, in this genre, for men.

In casting the first film in the new trilogy, Abrams was intent on finding an unknown actor for the role. It was important, he felt, that she not be associated with any other character. And in Ridley he found “an emotional person, a true person, a funny-as-hell person” who was also “almost preternaturally confident. We needed someone whom you felt like you could know,” Abrams explains. “Who was beautiful but not someone who seemed like they were from another species. You needed to love her. Daisy came in, and her face was expressive and wide-eyed and lovely, and it was so clear.”

Ridley remembers auditioning several times over seven months—each time, until the final reading, she was given a fake script. It wasn’t until she was offered the job that she understood the size of the role. “When I read the full script,” she says, “I was like, ‘Holy shit.’ ”

Of course, not having been associated with anything previously carries the concomitant risk of being associated with only this one role from now on. When I mention this, Ridley is unfazed. She has already filmed Kenneth Branagh’s new version of Agatha Christie’s novel Murder on the Orient Express as the governess, Mary Debenham, and played the lead in Ophelia, a retelling of Hamlet directed by Claire McCarthy, with Naomi Watts as Gertrude. She is currently shooting Chaos Walking, directed by Doug Liman and based on a science-fiction thriller. She points out that it’s amazing what you can do to your appearance with the help of a wig. “Blonde today, brunette tomorrow,” she says blithely.

While Abrams was shooting The Force Awakens, Rian Johnson was writing The Last Jedi. As he watched the daily footage shot by Abrams, he felt he understood Rey better and began to write in response to what he describes as Ridley’s “spirit.” She brought the character to the screen, Johnson says, “in a way that made you root for her, like you were seeing yourself in her. You saw the story through her eyes.” Though Ridley has done a great deal of press for The Last Jedi, the film’s contents are so shrouded in secrecy that she is allowed to say very little about it. She lets on that we’ll find out more about what has happened to her family, and says it goes from being a physical journey with a friend (Finn, played by John Boyega) to an emotional journey with a stranger (Luke Skywalker, whom she meets on top of a mountainous island at the end of The Force Awakens). “More of a conversation, as opposed to a big adventure,” she suggests.

As for the ongoing appeal of Star Wars, she’s not entirely sure where the magic lies—except, she says, that “it’s essentially a family drama that’s played out in this big, expansive world.”

It’s not lost on her collaborators that there are parallels between Ridley’s real life and her journey on the screen. One minute she’d had only small parts in a couple of British TV series; the next she had journalists turning up at her door. “At the beginning she was claiming she was almost done with acting—she’d been working at a pub,” Abrams says. Johnson agrees: “Like Rey, she has this extraordinary talent, that has seemingly come out of nowhere, and I think Daisy’s just starting to scratch the surface of her skills.”

Ridley grew up in West London with two older sisters, whom she describes as her “best people.” Even though the three of them fought a lot when they were younger, she idolized them and says they would “protect each other to the absolute death.” Their father, who also has two daughters from a previous marriage, is a photographer—“the coolest cat in all of the land,” in his daughter’s estimation—who used to take pictures for the British rock magazine NME. Her mother works for a bank, and Ridley’s maternal grandparents set up a chain of bookshops.

“I was a little tomboy,” Ridley remembers. “Loud. Often very sassy. Insane amounts of energy. I remember asking, ‘Was I shy?’ And my mum laughing hysterically. She said I used to run into a room and go, ‘Helloooo!’ ”

She was, and still is, a voracious reader—“I rarely saw her without a book,” says Branagh, who directed her in Murder on the Orient Express—and she recently asked her mother to give her a list of classics, which she’s now making her way through. (Current title: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë.) From the ages of nine to eighteen, Ridley went to a performing-arts boarding school—not because she was particularly serious about performing, she says, but because she liked to sing and do gymnastics and was so energetic as a child that her parents sent her “literally just to keep me busy, because the days were twelve hours long.”

She didn’t really know she wanted to act until she was seventeen. A girl in Ridley’s drama class who was from Newcastle protested that she couldn’t play Lady Macbeth because she didn’t have the right accent. Their teacher was furious. “He was like, ‘Who the fuck told you you couldn’t do Lady Macbeth?’ ” Ridley remembers with a smile. In his fury, she felt her own liberation.

That first day in the car to Anaheim, Ridley rarely finished a sentence. Everything she said was expressive rather than articulated. (“You’re like, ‘Ugh.’ ” “And I’m like, ‘Aaaah.’ ”) Later, she would tell me how tired she was that day—and how unprepared for the presentation of a public self. She had just finished shooting Ophelia in Prague and hadn’t realized how much of that tragic role she still carried with her. “I felt: This is so unlike me,” she said. “I’m such a perky little thing usually.” She’s starting to understand the time she needs to shake a role off.

But something else was also very noticeable. Ridley often used the language of the set—she referred to daily scripts as “sides,” to assistant directors as “our first” and “our second,” and to her personal assistant as “my personal.” These abbreviations, along with the assertion that some of her best friends are her hairdressers, suggest that she speaks to more people inside the film world than out of it, and if you count the years she has committed to Star Wars, you understand the nature of the bubble. When she did the first audition, she was 21; when it’s over, she’ll be 27. Her agent, her publicist, and her hair and makeup people all call her “the baby.”

Last year, when she deleted her Instagram account, she explained that she had “a lot of growing up to do” and would prefer to do at least some of it in private. “She has learned fast, and she has learned in the spotlight, and she has kept her nerve,” Branagh tells me. “She’s ballsy enough to assume there may be some inelegance or mistakes, but it’s worth doing.”

A few days after the Anaheim event, Ridley and I meet for tea in New York. She’s wearing a black three-­quarter-length dress she just picked up in & Other Stories, with white Converse high-tops, her hair pulled into a topknot. “I realize I sort of do dress like a four-year-old,” she says as she puts the cookie that comes with her tea onto my plate (she is a vegan). She is much sparkier, tougher, and entertainingly opinionated this time. She talks about working with the late Carrie Fisher—“I’d never met anyone openly bipolar before, who discussed loving glitter because of her LSD days”—and she tilts her head back to stem the tears as she speaks.

It was Fisher who warned her that it was hard to date once you became a Star Wars star, “because you don’t want to give people the ability to say ‘I had sex with Princess Leia.’ ” Ridley skirts around this issue. In the past couple of years, she has been linked with the actor Charlie Hamblett, but when I ask her if she’s with anyone now, she quickly replies, “I’m not saying.”

Last year, she explains, was difficult, and it’s only in the past few months that she’s been figuring it out. The Force Awakens was released just before they began shooting The Last Jedi, and the positive response to her performance made her worry she wouldn’t be able to repeat it. “Everything was so confusing,” she recalls. “People were recognizing me—I still don’t know how to handle it. My skin got really bad because I was stressed. It was crippling. I just felt so seen and so self-conscious.”

Alarm bells had started ringing much earlier. At one point, two fans appeared outside the door of an apartment she had just moved to. “I heard a knock on the door. These two guys went, ‘Hey, Daisy, can I get an autograph?’ and I literally went, ‘No fuckin’ way.’ ” She went to see a play with her mother that night. “My mum said to me, ‘Everyone’s trying to take ownership of you.’ ” Still, now, Ridley says, she calls her mother once a month “in hysterical tears, going, ‘I’m not equipped to deal with this!’ ”

She started therapy (“I went and saw a lovely lady,” as she puts it), and she realized that she was disappearing. “I felt like I was sort of reducing myself because I was so worried that people would recognize me,” she explains. Then she thought, “You know what? I want to dance through life. I don’t want to scuttle.”

Ridley is not complaining. “I’m very aware that there are thousands of other people who could do what I do much better, and it’s a matter of timing and luck. I’m counting my blessings that I get to be one of the people working.” As for her sense of perspective, “I worry that things start to seem normal that aren’t normal,” she reflects. “You get rushed through airports, and you never have to queue, and you get tickets to things that you wouldn’t otherwise. I think it’s important to remind yourself that it’s not normal. It’s difficult, though, because it is my normal.”

If Ridley’s emotional frankness makes her sound somewhat fragile in conversation, that, in performance, is much closer to a strength. It’s no accident that her Rey is a disarmingly human vessel for a force beyond nature. She makes it feel, says Johnson, “as though there is very little artifice on the screen. She has that magical thing that great actors have where they can take honest emotion and, without diluting it, shape it to what the scene requires.”

The last time I speak to Ridley, she’s calling from a car on her way back to the Canadian wilderness. She and her friend Flora Moody had taken a break from filming Chaos Walking and gone to hear Star Wars composer John Williams perform at the Hollywood Bowl. “They did my theme,” Ridley says, meaning “Rey’s Theme” from The Force Awakens, “and I couldn’t believe it. It was very overwhelming. There was an older woman behind us and she was like, ‘Why are people mobbing you?’ ”

Ridley and Moody became friends when Moody did Ridley’s hair and makeup for The Last Jedi, and they have since worked together on Ophelia and Chaos Walking. For a couple of months, they’re sharing a “very comfy but very creepy” cabin in the woods, making questionable almond-milk pancakes and listening out for shotguns.

“I feel really homesick,” Ridley says. “I suddenly realized that since February the longest I’ve spent in my own flat is four days.”

What does she miss exactly? I ask.

“I love going to sleep on the sofa with the sound of my parents talking in the background,” she replies. “That’s literally what I miss.”

Last September—three-quarters of the way through her discombobulating year—Ridley added a fourth and, she believes, last tattoo to her collection. Tattoos are the only form of rebellion she’s ever attempted—she remembers her grandmother seeing one she had done as a teenager and saying, “Daisy, that is pen, isn’t it?” But in her case it’s hardly rebellion at all. This latest is on the side of her torso, and it’s the most intricate. Inked by the L.A. tattoo artist Dr. Woo, it represents, at Ridley’s request, “the solidity of my family within all of the other craziness that goes on.” The result Dr. Woo came up with was a symbol: a star within a cyclone.

“I don’t need a tattoo to represent my life,” Ridley points out, “but I really love it. I like looking at it,” she says, “and thinking about all of the things that are constant.”


“It’s a really fucking scary time to be alive,” comments Star Wars’ leading lady Daisy Ridley about the first days of Donald Trump being president of the US. The actress recently attended the anti-Trump women’s march in London, calling it “an incredible show of democracy”.

Ridley is deeply passionate about tales of female empowerment; from her breakthrough role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens to the her latest film, the Bafta-nominated documentary The Eagle Huntress, which she narrates and exec produced.

Screen sat down with Ridley to discuss the doc, which is the story of a 13-year-old girl in Mongolia who is attempting to become the first female eagle hunter in her country. She also updated on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, talked having to audition for Murder On The Orient Express, and had her say on Piers Morgan’s recent spat with Ewan McGregor.Screen: How did you get involved in The Eagle Huntress?

Eagle Huntress
Daisy Ridley: Morgan Spurlock came on as a producer after Otto [Bell, director] had done the initial shoot. He got in touch with my agent and said he wanted me to watch it. I watched it, was blown away and said I’d love to be involved somehow. I came on as exec producer and then – Otto initially had title cards in it but wanted to narrate it for younger kids – so I then narrated it too.

What did being executive producer involve?

I mean it’s a glorified spokesperson. I am taking credit for something I really haven’t had much to do with. It has been my pleasure, basically, to spread the news.

Do you see yourself using your star power in the future to help out smaller films like this?

When I came on, I wasn’t like ‘Hey, let ME make this a big thing’. It would have done amazingly with or without my help. I don’t plan. If something else came along that touched me in the same way and I could be involved in it, then great.

What did you love about the film?

It was mainly the relationship between Aisholpan [the film’s subject] and her father. The world we’re living in is terrifying and [it’s great] to watch something that for an hour and a half takes you out of yourself and shows you something about somewhere that none of us really knows. It’s incredible how everything is so divisive at the moment – what colour your skin is, what religion you are – and to watch a film that’s set in the back end of Mongolia, that made me think: ‘oh my God, her dad reminds me of my dad’.

Did you meet Aisholpan?

I met her at a screening in LA and she’s super sweet. She’s quite quiet, not very verbal, so she just stands there with this gorgeous smile taking everything in.

Was she star-struck when she met you?

No! I don’t know if they had watched it [Star Wars]. It was more the other way round. I play a character, and she [in real life] at 13 broke a record that had been held for hundreds of years.

You have a lot of projects lined up [Ridley is currently filming Murder On The Orient Express, directed by Kenneth Branagh]. Did the phone suddenly start ringing after you got great reviews for Star Wars?

I auditioned for this [Murder On The Orient Express]. I’m aware that I have a lot to prove and I’m very excited that I’ve been given the chance to prove it. I was speaking to Ken [Branagh] and actually said to him ‘did they tell you that you had to cast certain people?’ and he was like ‘absolutely not’. It’s a nice thing to hear because you have moments of doubt where you think ‘oh my God is this only happening because of this one thing and do people actually rate me?’

What’s it been like filming Star Wars: The Last Jedi?

Star Wars 7
JJ [Abrams] and Rian [Johnson, the director] are different people and have a different kind of energy, different ideas. Rian is able to branch off a little bit more because JJ had the job of bringing in the new and maintaining what had gone before. I’m really lucky to be able to do the Star Wars thing from different people’s point of view. I never thought I’d be able to be in one film, let alone three films playing a character that I really love. Also the character changes. It’s the same character but different circumstances in the three films.

What did you think of the anti-Trump women’s march?

I was at the women’s march in London. Of course I was. I actually feel sick when I think about what’s happened in three days [of Donald Trump being president]. I feel a bit teary… I mean it’s horrific. What I think is incredible is that amongst all the name calling, millions of women across the world came together in a peaceful way. At the march in London everyone was so wonderful and so kind, everything was positive, it was an incredible show of democracy and I felt very special being there.

But I feel it’s genuinely a very scary time. You talk about America, but also the NHS is being sold off, and there are thousands if not millions of people who live below the poverty line in England and they are just being forgotten. It’s both a really exciting time to be alive and a really fucking scary time to be alive.

Some people, for example Piers Morgan, said people only went on the march because they were annoyed Clinton lost. What would you say to that?

I think it’s silly. Look what happened to Ewan McGregor, he has a choice about whether to give an interview or not. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but Piers Morgan calls people names. I shouldn’t say this because I’ll start a war with him! Don’t be mean, be kind, it’s not that difficult. Calling names is massively immature. Also grouping people together. Piers Morgan is a journalist, you don’t group all journalists together [and say] all journalists invade your privacy. In the same way that not all women are protesting because [Clinton] didn’t win. I think in the past few days we can see why those marches happened, because it’s really scary.

It’s interesting that you don’t mind sharing political opinions, even though you’re the star of the biggest movie franchise in the world…

It’s weird because I’ve never really had this conversation with anyone and I was actually thinking ‘oh my God I could be banned from going to America for speaking out against what’s going on!’. Nothing I do is vetted. I know [Disney CEO] Bob Iger had a meeting with Trump and everyone is trying to make the best of the situation and maybe I’d feel different if I didn’t just hear about Planned Parenthood and Dakota Access Pipeline and stuff like that. We’re all human. Piers Morgan said; ‘oh Ewan McGregor is just an actor’, no, we’re all humans and we all have feelings.

What did you think of Meryl Streep’s anti-Trump Golden Globe speech?

I think anyone is allowed to have an opinion on anything, whether you’re a bin man, a barman or the director of a company. So actors aren’t supposed to have an opinion? I’m not going to run for politics but I still know the stuff that matters to me.
Source


Daisy Ridley

Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley on how fantasy films can help people come to terms with suffering in the real world

The following contains enormous spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

In this week’s Big Issue, Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Daisy Ridley explains why she thinks audiences form such a strong emotional connection with fantasy films.

Maybe that’s because people are able to express themselves more easily when it’s tied to something that’s not totally real,” Ridley said. “When you watch something you feel removed from, it becomes that incredible thing of it feeling very close and very far away. You probably have a bigger emotional reaction than reading a newspaper and just seeing facts and figures [because] instead you see someone’s life play out, their soul, and the way they react and respond to the world around them.

Ridley, who played the Rey in the film goes on to talk for the first time about why the death of Han Solo, killed by his son Kylo Ren, had such a profound impact on Star Wars fans.

She said: “People die so awfully every day that if you experienced every grief, the whole world would be a dark, dark place. So many awful things happened last year, and Han Solo dying, which was one of the last moments of the year, is some weird way of people experiencing that.

People are weighed down by awful things that are happening and what they see on the news. If everybody puts a piece of themselves into Han Solo and Han Solo dies – in the cinema, where it’s dark – you can express it and it alleviates some of the pain. His death is obviously not as important as actual lives that are lost but people probably use it as some kind of carrier for the grief.

Ridley is currently filming the yet untitled Episode VIII with her next cinema release being Only Yesterday, a Studio Ghibli film where she provides the voice of the main character, Taeko.

Source: bigissue


daisy ridley

We have been loving how active Force Awakens stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega have been on social media. Honestly, their videos have been the only things keeping us sane during the long wait for the big premiere! Now that the film is finally here, Ridley speaks candidly about the toll that intense social media scrutiny has taken on her.

For the record, Ridley loves social media, and she actually handles her own accounts, an increasing rarity in Hollywood. According to HitFix, Ridley assures us that she’s got “Instagram on my phone and I’m the only one with the password.” She’s been having fun with this whirlwind experience of promoting The Force Awakens, but she also acknowledges that social media puts a pressure on her and her costars that the original Star Wars triumvirate – Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford – didn’t have to deal with. She does, however, wish she would’ve gotten their advice on how to deal with it:

I didn’t ask them about it because I didn’t want to be a nuisance. But now I sort of wish I had.

It is somewhat overwhelming. But I also think, which I still think is true, that we can talk till the cows come home, but it’s not necessarily going to impact me. You have to experience things alone. To be supported by people and to have them there is kind of enough. So it was kind of enough just being around people who cared. I also think with social media that everything has changed.

The fact that she is experiencing this “alone” on social media and handling her own accounts means that she sees everything – the good, and the bad – and the experience isn’t always pleasant:

I think it’s good. But I think social media in general is a worrying thing because there’s Freedom of Speech and then there’s hate. And the two are not one and the same. And people should not be allowed to express things like that, I don’t think, because it’s disgusting.

She also brings up the point that, as a woman, she has a very different experience on social media than her male costars:

My sister told me that she had to report something yesterday, so that’s kind of gross. And I don’t tend to hammer the point of sexism home, but it definitely is something that males direct towards females. And it’s disgusting the things that people write. I can go through and get rid of things, but it’s scary, and when she told me [what that person had written] I just said, ‘Ugh, it just makes me want to come off of it.’

Ridley expresses a desire for more control over her social media security, but ultimately thinks that there are more good fans than bad out there:

It is scary because I think that it emboldens people to express twisted kind of things without having any kind of comeuppance for it. And I guess if people say things like that from behind a screen it might encourage them to say things like that in real life. And that’s kind of scary. So I definitely think there should be more control. I don’t know how people would do that, because I already have a profanity filter on my Instagram. Someone asked me if I wanted it. I didn’t even know that was a thing. So, yeah, it’s kind of a double-edged sword, I think. But the overall thing is good. There’s more good than there is bad.

Here’s hoping, as the Force Awakens juggernaut continues to soar, that the awesome Star Wars fans out there showering Ridley with love on social media block out the douchebaggery.


Daisy Ridley

Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley says she’s taken tips from Harrison Ford about how to deal with fame.

It wasn’t really advice. It was more of a warning,” she tells Newsbeat.
He said that the anonymity thing is difficult, because as creative people you look to other people for inspiration and suddenly people are looking at you.”

However Daisy, who plays Rey, admits she’s been trying to lead a normal life since signing up to the film.
She says she still gets the underground train in London and takes the bus to the gym.

It’s like, chilled,” she explains.
A guy came up to me last week and it was so sweet. He was the first person to recognise me out and about. He was just really nice and it felt like a nice thing.

Daisy, who has previously starred in Casualty and Mr Selfridge, says that she doesn’t really want her star status to change.
I just really want to keep doing cool films. That’s really it,” she says.

When Newsbeat speaks to her, she is not able to reveal any details about the film, mainly because, at that point, she hasn’t seen the finished product.
Cinema ticket sales have already been broking records, both in the UK and the US. Affiliated merchandise sales have also done the same.
There are even official Royal Mail stamps with Rey’s face on them.
She says she’s not told a single member of her family about filming because “it’s weird”.

My mum doesn’t really know what goes on in the world anyway, and neither does my other sister,” says Daisy.

My sister who’s here today, she has more of a grasp on it. But everyone’s been keeping it a secret and it’s exciting for that reason. People are more excited because they don’t know what’s happening. So it feels like a good thing. So many incredible people have been involved in this and it’s time to release this thing.”

She also admits to getting some advice from Carrie Fisher.
All she talked about was dating and that it gets difficult because people lay claim to being close with Princess Leia. I was like, great advice,” says Daisy.

 



Daisy Ridley with BB-8 Droid in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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.

She attended the fee-paying Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire, where she specialised in musical theatre, graduating in 2010. In one of the few interviews Ridley has given, she says she did not have a burning desire to act. At her school, she credits her drama teacher as being “the first person that made me think I could do it as a profession. My sister asked me, ‘Why do people want to be actors?’ I had no answer. I’m not totally sure of my capabilities. I felt like a total novice compared to everyone I worked with. I went to the dentist last week and I said I was an actress, and everyone’s like, ‘Ooohhh.’ It still feels weird to me.”

There are hints that Ridley may not act forever. She has signed up for the next two Star Wars films, but she has also enrolled on a social sciences degree and has spoken about her interest in psychology and counselling. One of her first jobs was in Lifesaver, an interactive short film made for the Resuscitation Council.

Georgina Higgins, who cast Ridley in a short film, Blue Season, after seeing her on a casting website, says: “She worked incredibly well in the time we had, creating her character.” In the film – created as part of the Sci-Fi London 48-hour film challenge, in which film-makers had to write and shoot a short film in that time – Ridley played a woman who had been kidnapped. “She was focused and giving, and open, asking if there was anything she should change or do. We didn’t have much time for rehearsals and she worked really well with that. For the first part of the film, she was mostly hanging upside down.

Other small parts started to come in – Ridley appeared briefly in the E4 comedy Youngers, in an episode of BBC1 hospital drama Casualty and in the ITV series Mr Selfridge. She appeared in one of the two-part Silent Witness dramas as the best friend of a murder victim who meets an untimely demise herself. Dusan Lazarevic, the director, remembers being taken with her immediately at the casting.

I had this gut feeling that she was right,” he says. “She showed a combination of vulnerability and strength which gave her a complexity, and there was an intelligence in her eyes that was an indicator she could play quite a complicated part. Her eyes and face can one moment radiate joy and a lust for life, and then suddenly there was strength in it, and another moment she could be brave, then defiant, then racked with guilt and despair. There was a whole range where she could go with authenticity and conviction.
Ridley was nervous, he says, “but I wouldn’t say she was insecure. Although she was inexperienced, there was a kind of intuitive integrity to what she was doing. She wasn’t simply following advice or direction. She would listen, but then she would incorporate it into her own feeling of how it should be done.

The only thing Hearn had seen Ridley in before he cast her in his film was an advert for a supermarket – a friend had also appeared in it, and she told him about Ridley. “She said Daisy seemed to have bundles of energy and that if we needed any more young actors [for his film], to look at her.” He met her and told her that if she would like to be in the film, he would write her a part. “There was something about her. She just had that spark about her.

Did he get a sense of her ambition or where she wanted her career to go? “I think she just wanted to work. I’m pretty sure she was working in a bar at the time we cast her. She was overwhelmed with the fact people were offering her work. Daisy just wanted to work and whenever she got cast in anything we all applauded.” His student film-makers were really excited seeing her pop up on Casualty, he says; imagine how they will feel when they see her lead the new Star Wars film.


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