Star Force: The Force Awakens–How Daisy Ridley Was Cast?

Before being cast in Star Wars: The Force Awakens heroine Daisy Ridley was accustomed to disappointment.  The 23-year-old actress’ confidence was shattered.

After nabbing a lead role in the E4 series Youngers, the part was cut down to just one day of filming. “I was kind of used to things not happening, so I just felt the whole way through the Episode VII audition process, ‘I’m going to lose the job. They’re going to find someone better than me,'” she told the Hollywood Reporter

Her first two Star Wars auditions were underwhelming, but remarkably, Ridley kept getting called back.  Then something clicked in that final audition. Now, she says with a degree of satisfaction, “I’ve got opportunities I didn’t have before.”

Though the actress is booked with Episode VIII, which begins shooting in January in London, and then Episode IX, she will soon be familiar to a fan base and have better pick of roles and directors.

But even after seizing the role of Rey, Ridley continued to face rejection. She got turned down for an unnamed film role in the past year after a wardrobe malfunction in front of a casting agent. “I’m sure the star they cast is much better than me,” she muses. Perhaps it’s that self-deprecating air that helped win over Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and the Lucasfilm team.

Whether her career trajectory is more Harrison Ford or Hayden Christensen, Ridley has a backup plan: She’s begun studying for for a psychology degree. And she’s staying put in London, where she lives with her family and her blind dog named Muffin. “I love to come to L.A. to visit, and then I like to come to rainy old London because it’s home,” she says. The Hollywood Reporter talked to Ridley about her impossible ascent from obscurity to Next Gen Hollywood.

Getting the Part of Rey?

I had heard about the role a while before I auditioned, and I emailed my agent that I have this really weird feeling; I really feel like I need to audition. Then months went by and the same people were reading for it. But I still really had this feeling of needing to read for it. So I emailed my agent again for an audition. I had four or five auditions over seven months, and it was a very emotional time. My first few auditions really didn’t feel good, but my last audition suddenly felt like something clicked. You’re so desperate to get a role, but I felt like even if I didn’t get it, I did a good job, I’d done myself proud.

What did that call from J.J. feel like?

It was weird because by that time I knew the field was quite narrow, so I was just relieved that I was about to know either way. I just remember kicking this bottle on the street as I was walking in central London, thinking that this is just a normal moment.

How did you deal with the secrecy of Star Wars?

I got home and told my mum and dad and sister, but then I couldn’t tell anyone for three months, knowing that something monumental had happened in my life. The day before they were going to do the announcement, I was talking to my mum, and I said, “I’ve wanted to tell everyone for ages and now I don’t want to.” And she said it was like being pregnant, when you’re desperate for the baby to come out and then the baby’s there and you’re like, “Go away, go away. I can’t handle it.” Once everyone knew it was a whole other thing.