NME meets Star Wars’ Gwendoline Christie: ‘I’m not sure I’ll Ever Stop Screaming About It’

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

Gwendoline Christie
Age: 37
Star Wars character: Captain Phasma
Captain Phasma in brief: Very little is known about Captain Phasma, with both the producers and Christie remaining tight-lipped about the character. However, we do know that Phasma is a commander in the First Order and in the trailers she is often seen in the company of villain Kylo Ren, making her the franchise’s first major female villain. Exciting stuff.

Quite a year you’re having, with Game Of Thrones, the fourth Hunger Games film and now Star Wars.

Isn’t it just? Comic Con was extraordinary this year, I was on four panels. The Star Wars panel, of course, was something else. A mind-blowing event I will remember forever. I didn’t know they were coming but all of a sudden the original cast were there and I was sitting next to Carrie Fisher.

How did you get the part of Captain Phasma?

As soon as I heard it was going to be made, I was like a dog with a bone. I have very supportive people around me, professionally, but there was a certain level of pragmatism of me being in this film. I thought it wouldn’t work out but I desperately wanted to be a part of it. Finally, my agent relented and said they’d make a call, and it turned out Nina Gold was casting, who also cast me in Game Of Thrones. She said ‘Yes, we’ve already been talking about her’. I had to scoop myself off the floor.

How do you play Captain Phasma? As an out-and-out villain?

I feel like these dark characters are people, too. In life, people are not 100% good or bad, so it’s just looking at parts as people and playing them like that.

What was it like wearing the costume?

Not only is Captain Phasma the first female villain in Star Wars, but I love her because she’s not judged on the way she looks. It’s all about her character. We respond to her due to her actions and the choices she makes. Also, filming Star Wars was a totally surreal experience, so wearing a helmet and not having some of my primary senses available was just part of the experience.

Can you tell us which characters does Captain Phasma interacts with?

No, definitely not.

What was the protected set like?

Very exciting. I’ve worked on three things now with a heightened level of secrecy around them, so it becomes normal. Not talking about work with friends is fine. It’s also enjoyable because you can sit there and listen to people speculate. Far more interesting than giving them all the answers.

Have you rewatched the original films since making The Force Awakens?

Actually, yes. A New Hope was on television recently and I was screaming ‘I’m going to be in that, I’m going to be in that’. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop screaming about it.