The Sydney Morning Herald – I arrive early at the LA hotel where I’m meeting Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie, and my first impression of the actor is formed in a millisecond when I bump into her in a hallway. Unusually and ethereally beautiful, towering above me, there’s no mistaking the 39-year-old who stars as the indomitable Brienne of Tarth in the must-watch TV series, and who is reprising her role as the villainous Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. (She first played the kickass stormtrooper in the previous chapter, 2015’s The Force Awakens.)
Wearing a see-though black Fendi top and narrow trousers, her blonde hair is wavy and bobbed. With her porcelain skin and 191-centimetre stature, she could easily look intimidating. But her bright smile makes her approachable, so I tell her, in an embarrassing babble, that I love her work and that my two daughters are huge fans. She seems delighted, as though compliments are not at all commonplace.
Is she enjoying Hollywood stardom? “I don’t think I would ever term myself as a Hollywood star… ever,” she responds with a loud laugh, while admitting that “things seem to be going quite well”. That sounds like an understatement. “Well it’s always great, isn’t it, when you feel a level of creative fulfilment in your work?” says Gwendoline in her lovely melodic voice.
She has every reason to be in good spirits. Her film career is in flight and life post-Westeros looks exciting. She has loved Star Wars since she was six, she tells me later, ushering me into her hotel suite and settling beside me on the sofa, poised, hands clasped. “Everyone wants to be in Star Wars. It is such a huge global phenomenon; I desperately wanted the role.”
The latest installment in the franchise sees Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker in a prominent role with an apparently shocking twist. There will also a strong focus on a new generation of characters, including purple-haired Vice-Admiral Holdo, played by Laura Dern.