STRIP LV – It’s been the dawn of a new age of women in the Star Wars film franchise, thanks to Lucasfilm President, Kathleen Kennedy, who championed the addition of more female characters in the newest installment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And not just random, female roles—but strong roles of substance.
We sat with two of the strong lead females from the record-breaking blockbuster, The Force Awakens—the heroine: “Rey” (Daisy Ridley) and the villain: “Captain Phasma” (Gwendoline Christie).
Daisy Ridley – born the youngest of five daughters to Louise Fawkner-Corbett and Chris Ridley of London, England, hit Hollywood with a bang in her powerful lead role as Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But this talented actress is no stranger to the fine arts, whose great-uncle was Arnold Ridley: actor, playwright, appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and who was best known for authoring the play, The Ghost Train, as well as his role in the popular seventies WWII British television sitcom, “Dad’s Army”. Initially sent by her parents to Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in response to the preteen’s somewhat naughty behavior in primary school, the young budding performer would become a triple-threat as an actress, dancer and mezzo-soprano with a strength in jazz and cabaret-style singing. And the new Star Wars’ sensation must have some pipes—hitting social media last month, saying that she had recorded a duet with none other than the legendary singer, Barbra Streisand, posting a photo on Instagram of the two of them together, teasing “…more details to come.” Director J.J. Abrams has stated his love for Ridley’s singing voice—so who knows what he has up his sleeve?
What we do know is that Ridley turns 24 with her birthday this month, (April 10) and that we will enjoy much more from the talented actress, as she is slated to reprise her role in the next of the franchise’s sequels. She took out a moment from the media storm to share her excitement in taking on the heroic character and to tell some stories about how incredible it was to work with legendary actors, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill.
Gwendoline Christie – another British talent – is best known for playing roles of women who kick ass. Graduating from Drama Centre London with a First Class BA (Hons) in 2005, she started out in theater, and then became the subject of photographer Polly Borland’s noted series of photographs. It was 2011 when Christie landed the role of the fierce medieval fighter, Brienne of Tarth, in the highly successful HBO series, Game of Thrones. “I’ve been lucky enough to play a couple of parts of women who are very driven and somewhat unconventional,” she adds. “I love playing women who kick ass!” Towering over other long-legged actresses, Uma Thurman (6” 0”) and Jane Lynch (6’ 0”), even Brigitte Nielsen (6’ 1”) Christie’s height of 6’ 3” made for an ever-more fearsome villain in her role as Captain Phasma in the sci-fi epic. The formidable yet striking actress shares how taking on the ‘typically male’ role as villain for the franchise was much more than just stepping up and wielding a laser—that the original Star Wars movie had a huge influence on her as a young girl and that landing the role actually was a dream come true.
STAR WARS’ VILLAIN “CAPTAIN PHASMA”
STRIPLV: So what made you want to join Star Wars and play Captain Phasma?