Yellowjackets star Courtney Eaton had a panic attack in 2014 while auditioning for the part of Rey in The Force Awakens.
Auditioning for a lead role in the global phenomenon that is Star Wars, with all the baggage that comes from being the biggest franchise in history, was too much for Yellowjackets star Courtney Eaton to bare. According to Slash Film, the 27-year-old had a panic attack in front of J. J. Abrams while auditioning for the part of Rey in The Force Awakens.
“It was a test with the costume director and J. J. Abrams,” Eaton recalled, before admitting that she got so “worked up” it led to a full-blown panic attack that, in the star’s words, “ruined my audition.” The Yellowjackets actress remembers how painful it was to tell her agent about the experience and claimed that the incident would haunt her forever.
The role in question carried so much importance it would have crushed any number of actors beneath its terrifying weight. Rey was the focal point of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, a movie that had to single-handedly justify Disney‘s $4 billion purchase of the franchise from George Lucas. The expectations weighing on J. J. Abrams all but guarantee that the Yellowjackets star wasn’t the only nervous person in the room during her audition.
Of course, given the time frame of the audition—TFA was released in 2015, meaning casting took place in early 2014—the 18-year-old Eaton’s anxiety could have come from feelings of inexperience rather than the pressure of saving Star Wars. Prior to the audition, the Australian native had only one screen credit to her name, and that project was still unreleased.
Fittingly, that role was also part of a legacy sequel with years of fan anticipation behind it.
Years before Eaton would star on Yellowjackets as the teenage version of Lottie, she would appear as Cheedo the Fragile, enslaved teenage wife of villain Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road. Cheedo was just one of several women Joe kept in a bank vault and forced to carry his offspring. She and her sister wives were rescued by Charlize Theron‘s Furiosa and the titular Max, played by Tom Hardy.
Whatever the reason behind Courtney Eaton freaking herself out during one of the biggest auditions of her life, the important thing is that it didn’t discourage the young actress from trying again. Had Eaton not picked herself up and continued on her acting journey, fans may have never gotten the killer version of Yellowjackets that they currently enjoy so much. Meanwhile, fans of the Star Wars sequels would have missed out on Daisey Ridley‘s star-making portrayal of Rey Skywalker.
As usual, the Force had a plan.