JJ Abrams Told Daisy Ridley Star Wars is “A Religion”

Daisy Ridley recently sat down with Inverse to discuss her new film, Sometimes I Think About Dying. Inevitably, the inescapable topic of Star Wars came up. Ridley recalled The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams saying the following when she was cast:

“This not a role in a movie… This is a religion for people. It changes things on a level that is inconceivable.”

Abrams encouraged her to “understand the scale” of the film franchise before accepting the lead role.

Ridley said this of the experience of playing Rey:

“For friends and family, or any people who see something in a slightly different way than you do, there’s this projection of you, and you in that world, and how it feels to do this and that,” she said. “And you’re like, ‘Well, actually, I’m just a human being, separate from that.’ It’s quite this wrestle of the reality and the fantasy that’s often projected onto you.”

“When all the craziness was going on, I was like, ‘I’m good. I’m good. I’m coping fine. Everything’s fine.’ And I was fine, for the most part. But I think what I was really grappling with was that it was my normal, but it was not normal to other people.”

I never hated Daisy Ridley as a person or an actress because I never felt a reason to. As I’ve said before, she was always just an actress doing her job. But this really makes me feel for her. While starring in a huge movie like Star Wars brings money and fame, it sounds like it’s brought her a lot of stress, too. She has to clean up after Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s comments; she has to talk about Star Wars when campaigning for other projects. She’s never free from the role that both created and harpooned her career.

It’s also crazy to me to hear that JJ knew the responsibility that comes with working on something like Star Wars. I never got that impression or thought anyone working on the sequels respected the opportunity. I get what he means about Star Wars being like a religion, although that acknowledgment makes me wonder why Lucasfilm didn’t do more to get it right.

But what do you think about any of Daisy’s comments or what Abrams told her? Sound off in the comments!

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