Press: Gwendoline Christie on Playing the ‘Complete Opposite’ of Brienne of Tarth

NY TIMES – If Jane Campion’s first season of the crime drama “Top of the Lake” seemed remote and somber to some, the second season, “Top of the Lake: China Girl” has more of a sense of humor, even when delving into the darker recesses of life. (In this case, migrant sex workers, institutionalized misogyny, mental illness and more.) In the second season, which begins Sunday on Sundance, Elisabeth Moss’s detective Robin Griffin, who returns home to Australia after time in New Zealand, is assigned an overeager assistant, played by “Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christie.

 

Over the phone earlier this month, Ms. Christie spoke about becoming Robin’s reluctant partner, her own reluctance to take a stand on the issues the show raises and her meltdown on set. Following are edited excerpts from that conversation.

 

Jane Campion wrote the character of Miranda with you in mind?

 

I really wanted to be in this series, so I wrote to Jane, and I was lucky enough to have her write this part for me. It touches on aspects that I don’t always feel particularly comfortable with, but I think it’s important to highlight, and so we see Miranda being marginalized at work, the victim of misogyny. It’s not always comfortable to play those things. Yes, you’re at work, and yes, you’re just playing a part, but it’s so personal.

 

And yet at the same time, Miranda provides some of the comic relief.

 

I think the series is quite hilarious! It has a very, very dark sense of humor, but it’s extremely funny. Miranda is like an enthusiastic puppy. Miranda desperately wants to be friends, and she’s really governed by emotion in a way that Brienne of Tarth from “Game of Thrones” is not. Miranda is the complete opposite of Brienne. Brienne has a reflective thought process, and works things through with sustained thought. She takes her time. She pauses. And Miranda is totally impetuous. She’s also incredibly gauche. She’s gawky. She’s awkward. She’s too much. That’s a note that Jane gave me to constantly remember: “You’re too much.”

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Press: “Phasma” Excerpt: The First Order Captain’s Journey Begins

StarWars.com READ AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM THE UPCOMING NOVEL IN WHICH PHASMA FIRST ENCOUNTERS THE FIRST ORDER.

 

Soon, Star Wars fans will see the rise of a legend.

 

Delilah S. Dawson’s novel Phasma, coming on Force Friday II, September 1, as part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi publishing program, will chart the journey of the deadly First Order captain. StarWars.com is excited to release a special excerpt from the book, offering our first glimpse at Phasma’s desolate homeworld of Parnassos and her initial encounter with the First Order.

 

Phasma and her warriors began making preparations the moment they saw the explosion high overhead. As the ship’s remains streaked across the sky, Phasma tracked it with her quadnocs, taking careful note of the direction in which it fell. At the very least, ships like this could be pillaged; at most, there was always a hope that they could be salvaged and used to get offplanet. No one alive had seen such ships do anything but fall and crash, but they were evidence of the larger galaxy beyond Parnassos, of a future that had been denied them. It was painful, living on such a treacherous planet with so many re­minders of the ease and technology that had once been taken for granted. At the very least, there would be metal, tech, clothes, medi­cines, food, and possibly working blasters scattered around what was left of the ship. These were the greatest riches in Phasma’s world.

 

But they had to hurry. Other groups in other territories would also be watching and preparing for the journey. Falling stars, as they called them, were rare, and this ship was the shiniest thing the Scyre had ever seen—so bright that they had to shield their eyes as it ar­rowed down toward the planet. Part of the ship popped off and floated down separately, headed for the area where the Scyre lands bordered the enemy Claw clan’s, which made it all the more impor­tant to hurry.

 

The journey was not easy, for no journeys on Parnassos are. The Scyre territory was mostly spires of black rock, jagged cliffs, ledges, caves, and occasional tide pools when the ocean was at its lowest. Within their accustomed living area, they maintained a series of ziplines, rope bridges, tethers, nets, and hammocks, and even the least nimble Scyre member could get from place to place without too much trouble. But beyond their nesting place, along their border with the Claw, the terrain grew even more dangerous. The bridges weren’t sturdy, and one never knew when a support spike might be rusted through or a stone spire crumbling away to nothing. Phasma’s warriors were lucky that the ship had crashed during a time of low tides, so they were able to traverse the terrain far more easily than if the tides had been high, not to mention that during high tide, the ship might’ve been swallowed by the sea—or a monster in it.
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Press: 5 Things We Just Learned About Captain Phasma’s Backstory

/FILM – It’s clear to everyone who watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens that Captain Phasma – the chrome-armored First Order officer played by Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie – got the shaft in that movie. And I mean that metaphorically as well as literally: not only was she barely in the film, but the last we saw of the character, she was being unceremoniously dumped into a garbage chute.

 

We’ll find out how she escaped that unfortunate situation in an upcoming Marvel comic series, but let’s take a quick look at how she came to be such a fierce warrior fighting for the First Order to begin with. A Star Wars novel fills in much of Captain Phasma’s backstory, and a new excerpt has provided us with some insight into Phasma’s origins.

 

StarWars.com has published an excerpt from author Delilah S. Dawson‘s forthcoming novel Phasma, which hits shelves on September 1, 2017. (That’s Force Friday II, for the Star Wars diehards among you.) You can read the whole excerpt there, but here are five things about Captain Phasma’s backstory that are worth pointing out.

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Press/Video: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Stars Try To Be Funny With Help From ‘Sesame Street’

HUFFINGTON POST – They say laughter is the best medicine. Indeed, during dark or difficult times, it can be therapeutic to take a little break for lightness and fun.

 

In August, “Sesame Street” launched Elmo’s #ShareTheLaughter challenge to spread kindness and joy in the world.

 

The challenge is simple: Tell a funny joke to your friends and family and then encourage them to share their own.

 

Over the past week, “Sesame Street” has been posting funny videos of cast members heeding Elmo’s challenge. Several other familiar faces also joined in the fun, including “Game of Thrones” favorites Kit Harington and Gwendoline Christie.

 

Kit’s is on YouTube as well.

Press: : How Gwendoline Christie and Rian Johnson Developed Captain Phasma’s Backstory

IGN – Captain Phasma is a Star Wars character who didn’t get explored to great depth in The Force Awakens, but one who fans will get to learn much more about in the coming months. In addition to the December release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the chrome Stormtrooper will be at the center of an upcoming companion novel, Phasma, and a comic book series — and no one is more excited about this than Gwendoline Christie.

 

IGN had the chance to sit down with Christie at the summer 2017 TV Critics’ Association press tour while she was promoting her role in Top of the Lake: China Girl, and she was bursting with excitement about the upcoming releases which will explore her Star Wars character more. She hasn’t had the chance to read the novel or comics yet — “I haven’t been allowed entry to it” — but she did admit, “I have been following [Phasma author] Delilah Dawson, who I’m following on Twitter just to say, ‘Remember me? Do you think about me?'”

 

Captain Phasma was one of the most anticipated and popular new characters to be introduced in The Force Awakens, in no small part because of Christie and her Game of Thrones fame. When speaking about the role Phasma has to play in The Last Jedi, Christie said she and director/writer Rian Johnson worked together to develop her character’s backstory and what her motivations are.

 

“Rian and I did have long conversations about this character and who she was, and I was utterly delighted in how willing he was to listen to my ideas and really thrilled to exchange them with him and hear his,” said Christie. “He really is a master writer and director, and I think we’ve seen that in the films that he’s made but I think that we truly will see that in the depths to which he goes in The Last Jedi.”

 

Though Phasma’s backstory didn’t get explored in The Force Awakens, Christie said she develops her character’s origin and motivations regardless of who she’s playing, be it a captain of the First Order or Brienne of Tarth or Miranda in Top of the Lake: China Girl.

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Press: Why the Women of Top of the Lake Are Laughing in the Face of Male Complaints

“They’re asking for too much, these dudes.”

 

 

VANITY FAIR – A brief cloud crosses actress Gwendoline Christie’s face when I asked her if she thinks her Top of the Lake: China Girl character—the hopeful, open-hearted officer Miranda Hilmarson—bears a close resemblance to her real-life persona. Anyone who has watched Christie in interviews or on a red carpet knows that the six-foot-three blonde—who made a name for herself playing severe, lethal characters like Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones, Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games, and Captain Phasma in the latest Star Wars trilogy—is, in actuality, one of the friendliest and easy-to-smile actresses in the business.

 

That goofy side is on display for the first time in Christie’s decade-long career in a role that Top of the Lake creator Jane Campion wrote specifically for her. Hilmarson will stoop to make friends with a dog, and does her best to crack the hard nut that is Elisabeth Moss’s Robin Griffin. But Christie is still right to distance herself a bit from Hilmarson—because, like everything in Campion’s work, this bright and cheery constable has a darker side.

 

Moss herself is fond of repeating Campion’s thesis statement for creating Top of the Lake, an ongoing dark feminist drama disguised as a crime story which follows Detective Griffin from a small New Zealand town in Season 1 to the faster-paced dangers of Sydney, Australia, in Season 2. “The placid lake of Season 1,” Moss says, paraphrasing Campion, “hides the danger underneath. But while Season 1 dealt with the wildness without, this year we’re tackling the wildness within.” And indeed, the second season of the critically acclaimed drama—which airs six new episodes on three consecutive nights starting Sunday, September 10, on Sundance—brilliantly juxtaposes the gray, ordered facade of a city like Sydney with the messy, violent passions of the people who inhabit it.

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Gallery: Top of the Lake 2: China Girl

I uploaded all of the Top of the Lake photos except for 2.06 when the show aired in the UK so I just wanted to repost this as a reminder and also add 2.06 to the list (I held it back so no one would be spoiled!). So what did everyone think? I loved Miranda to pieces!! I was very sad by the cliffhanger ending. Maybe they’ll bring it back for a second season to resolve that and catch the bad guy.

 

Thanks to Lora and Mary for the scans!

 

  

 

 

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Video: “Live with Kelly & Ryan” Talk Show Appearance

Gallery: “Top of the Lake: China Girl” New York Premiere

 

 

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Gallery/Video: “Top of the Lake: China Girl” on Build


 

 

  
 

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