“This is not a role in a movie. This is a religion for people.”
Those were some of the first words of wisdom director J.J. Abrams offered Daisy Ridley when she took the role of Rey for the new Star Wars movies, but no advice could prepare her for fan’s expectations.
Ridley, who nearly quit acting before she was picked for the movie, was thrust into the public spotlight even before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters. With the premiere of her second film in the franchise rapidly approaching, Ridley revealed to Vogue the advice Abrams gave her when she first signed on to play Rey.
“Understand the scale… It changes things on a level that is inconceivable.” She said she nodded enthusiastically, but was told, “You don’t know what you’re getting into.”
Abrams, who wanted to find an fresh unknown for the role, described Ridley as “an emotional person, a true person, a funny-as-hell person,” and “almost preternaturally confident.”
“We needed someone whom you felt like you could know,” said Abrams. “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.”
Her trajectory in the films is uncannily similar to that of her personal life; once living a quite and unassuming life, she’s been thrust into the center of a life-consuming whirlwind and managed to keep her head.
Two years after appearing in her first major film, Ridley will reprise the role that made her famous in Star Wars: The Last Jedi — but that’s not her only high-profile project.
She will appear alongside Josh Gad, Judi Dench, and Kenneth Branagh, who will also direct Murder On The Orient Express. The movie, based on Agatha Christie’s detective novel of the same name, features an all star cast which Ridley fits right in.
But fans of the galaxy far, far away will get to see her journey continue as she navigates the Light and Dark Sides of the Force, when Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres on December 15.