Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley says that after the third in her trilogy of Star Wars films, The Rise of Skywalker, she could not get more work as an actress. She’s been struggling and it’s not clear if things will get better.
Unfortunately for Daisy Ridley, Star Wars fans were not kind. Many took out on her their disappointment over the direction Star Wars was heading. Not all of the venom was directed at Ridley, both directors JJ Abrams and, most notably, Rian Johnson were taking a ton of heat too. But according to the actress, she had a hard time finding work in Hollywood after the final film, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Daisy Ridley first spoke about the love loss over the time span of the three movies (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) saying: “It’s changed film by film honestly, like 98% it’s so amazing, this last film it was really tricky,” Ridley told the DragCast podcast, “January was not that nice. It was weird, I felt like all of this love that we’d sort of been shown the first time around, I was like, ‘Where’s the love gone?’ I watched the documentary, the making-of [‘The Skywalker Legacy’], this week, and it’s so filled with love, and I think it’s that tricky thing of when you’re part of something that is so filled with love and then people [don’t like it].”
The final of Daisy Ridley’s Star Wars movies was the most harshly reviewed by both critics and fans alike, also becoming the lowest grossing film of the Daisy Ridley trilogy. And maybe it wasn’t just the last one, but the culmination of the three (though the first film of the trilogy, The Force Awakens, pretty much got rave reviews) that put a big pause on Ridley’s career.
The actress told Entertainment Weekly that she has gone out on quite a few auditions but it was like listening to crickets. “At the beginning of the year, nothing was coming through,” she said. “I was like, ‘Aww! No one wants to employ me.” And then she continued, “There were actually loads of things that I auditioned for at the beginning of the year and didn’t get any of them.”
So, should we call Daisy Ridley blacklisted? That would probably be too harsh a word. Maybe Hollywood just needed to step back a bit from the Star Wars fall out. Even though Daisy shouldn’t be to blame, she was the face of the latest trilogy. She tries to keep it in perspective, “I had that moment of ‘Oh my god!’ and then just thought ‘everything in its right time.'”
Slowly but surely the “right time” is coming back around for Daisy Ridley, maybe. She says things began to pick back up for her in early March. Her voice will be heard next on the video game 12 Minutes that also employs the vocal talents of James McAvoy (X-Men franchise, It Chapter Two) and Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse, Aquaman).
She also has quite a few more projects lined up that include Chaos Walking, Kolma, and A Woman of No Importance. These all have a release date of 2021 or later. Daisy Ridley has also not completely left her Star Wars universe behind as she is returning to her role as Rey in the Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga video game.
Daisy Ridley seems to have put in perspective her temporary slowdown, “I feel like I processed the last five years. To be forced to slow down, it was good mentally for me because [Star Wars was] a big thing in my life.” It will be interesting to see where she goes from here.
BUT SHE CAN POUR A MEAN BEER
London born Daisy Ridley’s career wasn’t jumping off the pages before she landed Rey. The bulk of her early acting career revolved around short films such as Lifesaver, Blue Season, Wiley: Lights On, 100% Beef, and Crossed Wires. She also found the occasional TV series (British TV, that is) that included Casualty, Youngers, Toast of London, and Silent Witness.
So it shouldn’t be surprising, even though it sounds like quite the struggling actors cliché, that Daisy worked as a bartender a good year and a half before and leading up to her getting the audition for Star Wars. During a 2017 interview on NBC’s The Tonight Show, she dropped this tidbit to host Jimmy Fallon, “Not to float my own boat, but I’m a really good bartender, because I worked in two different pubs for, like a year-and-a-half, in a rowdy London district.”
She also told The New York Times, “It was a beer and alehouse. I knew a lot about beer.” The actress said she was making minimum wage at the time while still trying to track down a role, any role.
HOW DAISY RIDLEY JOINED STAR WARS
So Daisy Ridley was a nobody when JJ Abrams hired her to be the new face of Star Wars. It came down to her audition, which many have said was one of the best ever. Even JJ was gushing.
“She just blew my mind,” Abrams told The Insider. “She’s reaching this depth of struggle and tears are streaming down her face.” He’s talking about her audition tape where Ridley is facing off against Kylo Ren as Ren is trying to break into Rey’s mind using the Force. Abrams said he had to stop her audition part way through to give her a few notes, then cut her loose to do the scene again. “I thought, ‘This is unbelievable,'” Abrams recalled. “She just did it again, and I thought, ‘Oh my god.'”
Daisy Ridley’s Star Wars audition can be seen below.
Then came the call that would not only change the direction for a beloved franchise, but also the career for the young, struggling actress. Daisy Ridley recalled when JJ Abrams told her the part of Rey was hers. “J. J. rang me. And it’s weird, because I thought I was still half-auditioning. I thought I had to convince him. I was like, “I could totally do this.” Thinking, “I can’t do this.” And then he told me and I’m pretty sure I was like: “Are you sure? Are you sure?” He was sure and the rest, as they say in showbiz, was history.
So, who’s to blame when it comes to the debacle that was the final trilogy? Daisy Ridley’s job was to do her best with what she was given. She did that. Maybe it’s time to give her a break.