NME meets Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley: ‘Flying the Millennium Falcon Made Me Feel Ill’

In less than a week, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be out. It’s actually happening. NME met two of the film’s lead actors to chat droids, the Millennium Falcon and Episode VIII. Here’s the second Q&A with Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in the new film.

Daisy Ridley
Age: 23
Star Wars character: Rey
A brief summary of Rey: She was abandoned on desert planet Jakku aged five, and scavenges in the planet’s junkyard to make a living. Little is known about her, but fan theories posit that she could be a Jedi, or the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia.

Were you a Star Wars fan before this?

“I had watched all the films and enjoyed them, but never knew the love other people have for them.”

Did you feel daunted working with the original cast?

“I felt daunted working full stop. I had never done a film before this, let alone one with famous people or part of a huge story. I was nervous. Once you get past ‘Oh my god, Harrison Ford’, you realise he’s just a normal guy. Working with the original cast is daunting, but not because they’re famous. They’re just great actors.”

What’s it like having an action figure?

“It’s crazy. People keep sending me pictures of it, and I say, ‘I know, I’ve seen it, it’s me,’ but it’s very nice. My sister displays them all over the place but I had to tell her it’s absolutely not OK. Narcissism at the extreme.”

Are you worried about being seen as a role model?

“No. If I loved partying it would be more of a concern, but I am the most boring person. I would prefer to stay in and watch Bake Off. You see people say, ‘I didn’t ask for this,’ but I completely see what this film might mean to young girls, and of course I take responsibility for that. I want people to realise the possibilities are endless. If I had a younger sister, I would think it was great that I could show her The Force Awakens and Rey, someone who’s not sexualised, not in a gold bikini, not born into privilege, just a person who finds herself on a crazy adventure and exceeds all expectations, including her own. The female audience of Star Wars is underestimated, but I have met so many female fans. And I hope there are more, encouraged by Rey.”

What was it like flying the Millennium Falcon?

“I felt sick, mainly. It was like going on a rollercoaster again and again. I needed to make out like I was flying it through space, but I just felt ill.”

Did you enjoy working with the spherical droid, BB8?

“It was great, and the guys that created and control him are the sweetest. It really felt like BB8 was alive, he was given a soul by them and as a result he’s my favourite character. He’s going to steal the show, and I’m fine with that.”

When do you start the next film, Episode VIII?

“January. It’s nice, we have two weeks of thinking, ‘Oh my God, the film’s out’ and then we start the next one.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in cinemas on December 18.