How does it feel like to go from a complete unknown to being one of the most recognisable faces on the big screen in only a couple of months? Ask Daisy Ridley.
The 23-year-old English actress – who does look like a cross between Keira Knightley, Lily James and Emilia Clarke, don’t you think? – can now be seen on the big screen in virtually every corner of the globe. Not at all unexpected, considering that she stars as the lead in the most highly anticipated film in recent years.
Since Ridley is set to for a hyperdrive jump to the Hollywood A-list with her captivating role as Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we present five facts about the film galaxy’s newest and brightest star.
1. She is the first female protagonist in Star Wars
As if being chosen to be the lead in the new Star Wars films is not already a tremendous, unimaginably great honour, Ridley also claims the distinction of being the first ever female protagonist in the Star Wars film series. Even though the Star Wars films have been around for nearly 40 years, The Force Awakens marks the first time in history that a female character leads the film as one of its two protagonists.
And it gets better than that. For all of Princess Leia’s leadership (and natural blaster-handling) abilities and Padme Amidala’s politically-savvy intellect, Ridley’s Rey reaches new heights by combining intelligence, quick-thinking and street-smartness with impressive athleticism and bad-ass fighting skills. Not to mention, Rey is also confident, independent, and consistently reminds others that she needs no protection from them, thank you very much.
Ridley certainly takes pride in becoming a role model for girls via the character, and she definitely should. She told Elle, “She’s cool and smart and she can look after herself. Young girls can look at her and know that they can wear trousers if they want to, that they don’t have to show off their bodies.”
You go, Ridley and Rey. You go, girls.
2. She received sex advice from Carrie Fisher
One of the highlights of The Force Awakens is that it unites legendary cast members from the Original Trilogy with the fresh-faced newbies leading the Sequel Trilogy. In passing the baton from one female Star Wars icon to another, veteran Carrie Fisher (aka Princess Leia) had some advice for Ridley. And it didn’t concern the birds and the bees so much as it concerned life choices, or on-set behaviour.
On the Graham Norton Show, Carrie Fisher revealed that her advice for the young Ridley was to not have sex with the film crew working on The Force Awakens.
“I said not to go through the crew like wildfire,” Fisher cheekily recalled, adding, “That’s helpful!”
Norton then asked if Ridley followed that advice, to which the actress said, “Always! Always.”
Fisher then pointed out that she also gave additional wise words, “I also told (Ridley) not to take any advice from me.”
Well, that first advice was actually legit, General Leia.
3. Her father prefers Star Trek to Star Wars
Sorry, Star Wars fans. It turns out that Ridley’s father is more of a Trekkie than a fan of the Force. Not that he was not enthusiastic about his daughter being cast in one of the biggest film franchises of all time, but he was comparably less excited than if, say, Ridley had been in the new Star Trek films instead.
On the Graham Norton Show, Ridley recalled that when she told her father that she had been cast in Star Wars, he was “kind of sleeping” and responded by exclaiming with his eyes still closed, “Jesus Christ!”
The next day, Ridley’s father sought to clarify what he thought he had heard, saying, “I think your mom told me something…” Ridley then confirmed the big news that she had told him the previous night. Mr Ridley then said, “Oh. I was always more of a Trek fan.”
Apparently, co-star John Boyega did not get a better reaction from his family either. The actor, who also leads The Force Awakens as Finn, revealed that his family “had no clue what Star Wars was, but they were great that I got a job.”
Well, we are certain Ridley’s and Boyega’s families are fanatical about Star Wars now!
4. The Force Awakens is her first ever “proper” film
It would certainly be a Hollywood Cinderella story to say that Daisy Ridley made her film debut as the lead in no less of a mega galaxy-stopping blockbuster than Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While such a statement is not entirely true, it is not entirely inaccurate either.
Ridley revealed to Jimmy Fallon that The Force Awakens is her “first proper film.”
Prior to 2014, Ridley had only made one-episode or two-episode appearances in British television dramas, and worked in short films.
The Westminster-born actress’s film debut was technically in the 2014 comedy The Inbetweeners 2, but Ridley’s appearance did not make the final cut and can only be viewed in the deleted scenes. Her official film debut was then in 2015’s Scrawl, a low-profile British indie horror that was shot over just three weeks.
So, yes, if we are talking about studio feature films with well-known directors and longer, more conventional filming periods, then The Force Awakens is indeed Ridley’s first “proper” film. Saying that this is a heck of a film “debut” would still be an understatement.
5. She was completely unknown at time of casting
Daisy Ridley might be one of the most recognisable faces in the world right now, but the young actress was completely unknown at the time she was cast. According to Inc., Ridley did not even have a Wikipedia page or IMDb biography at that time. For an actress in the Internet age, that is as invisible as invisible can get.
Well, Ridley’s career as an actress has certainly been awakened (ahem); it is hard to imagine the actress going anywhere on the planet without being recognised right now.