Star Wars' Daisy Ridley: Why I Went on the Women's March

By Parfitt, Orlando | Screen International, February 3, 2017 | Go to article overview

Star Wars' Daisy Ridley: Why I Went on the Women's March


Parfitt, Orlando, Screen International


"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?

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? …

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