Actress also discusses The Eagle Huntress, Star Wars 8.

“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.

Daisy: “Star Wars alleviates some of the pain”

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 Talks the ‘Dark Side’ of Social Media

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.

Star Wars: Daisy Ridley doesn’t know what’s about to hit her

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.


How Daisy Ridley went from bit parts to lead in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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.