Category: Interviews

Gwendoline Christie Tells Us If Captain Phasma Is Worthy of Boba Fett Comparisons

IO9 – The armor is intimidating and awesome. The character, evil and mysterious. It’s no wonder Gwendoline Christie’s First Order stormtrooper Captain Phasma became a fan favorite long before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters next week.


It’s a narrative many might remember from the late 1970s, when a similarly striking Star Wars character was introduced: Boba Fett. So, when we spoke to Gwendoline Christie about playing Captain Phasma last weekend, we asked her how she felt about the comparisons to arguably the most popular and recognizable Star Wars side character.


I think that’s fantastic. I mean, I think that Captain Phasma in this movie is a Boba Fett style character in that she is not at the forefront of the action. But she makes a huge impact. And I’m just so grateful to play a character that could possibly ever have that kind of comparison.


Besides the allegiance and mystery, the obvious reason for the comparisons are the armors. Boba Fett and Captain Phasma are both in head-to-toe beautifully designed armor, and it was a big deal when Christie first saw it.


So exciting. Michael Kaplan, the costume designer—I have been a fan of for a long time. Since I first saw Blade Runner. And I was super excited when I learned that he was working on this movie. So it was no surprise to me that the costumes would be spectacular. But I never expected to get the opportunity to play a character who looked so awesome. I really, really didn’t. And I was told what the character would look like, what she would be wearing. And I was told we’re going to do a costume fitting. But when I walked into the room, I just knew this was spectacular and there was something so striking about this. Something that felt very special. And it was so much fun to put it on for the first time.


I’d never dressed up as a Stormtrooper before. And that was really, really fun. But it was very empowering. The costume, because it’s so high functioning, inflexible, imposing, that gives you the actor a lot of qualities immediately to work with.


Minor spoilers follow.


And while Phasma isn’t in the forefront in this film, according to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, that won’t be the case moving ahead. When asked about this spoilery statement from the lady in charge, Christie would only say, “I have been told that by journalists.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Gwendoline In-Depth on the Honor of Playing Captain Phasma


COMIC BOOK – Captain Phasma, the “chrome trooper” leader in the villainous First Order, is already a breakout star. Villains in the Star Wars universe have typically been hits with fans, but it seems this one, from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has something special.


Disney and its partners have noticed that, too. The top two characters when it comes to accessories, toys, and apparel, are BB-8, the adorable droid, and Phasma. This is all despite the fact that so far we have a total of about 20 seconds (if that) of footage featuring the imposing figure. Action figures, mugs, voice-changing helmets, t-shirts, dresses, statues, pins, and more collectibles are on the market now, with more on the way soon.


At 6’3″, actress Gwendoline Christie is no small part of that early success. Bringing the first female villain in a live-action Star Wars adventure to screen is a daunting task, but Christie is much less nervous than she is excited. She uses words like “delighted,” “wonderful,” “sensational,” and said that even while filming, she was “a fan, desperate to see this movie.”


Christie sat down with for a one-on-one interview in a quiet, low-lit room in Los Angeles during the global press day for The Force Awakens. Sitting on a plush white leather couch, the first thing you notice about her is the opposite of Captain Phasma. Where the latter is clad head-to-toe in chrome armor, carrying herself as an imposing figure you instantly know is a leader, Christie herself portrays a different form of confidence. Hers is instantly inspiring and inviting, and with a genuine smile and delightful eye contact, she welcomed and thanked me for coming, as if I was the one doing her the favor.


Presented in full, then, is the transcript of our conversation about all things Star Wars: The Force Awakens, from her first reading of the script in a locked room in Pinewood Studios, to the impact her character is already having on an as-yet underserved female Star Wars fanbase.



Gwendoline, the way Captain Phasma has stolen the hearts of people so quickly here, we’ve seen so little of her, but there are already toys and shirts and accessories – what’s that been like for you, seeing the character take off with people right away?


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The new acting force behind The Force Awakens

IRISH TIMES – Reboot king JJ Abrams is diversifying the Star Wars universe… Gwendoline Christie, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega on finding new hope in a galaxy far, far away


Two months ago, when a new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered during an American football game on ESPN, fans and curious newcomers reacted with predictable fervour: Ooh, Mark Hamill is still a no-show; has he gone over to the Dark Side?


Sadly, the subsequent jubilation on social media platforms was somewhat marred by the nasty little hashtag #Boycott StarWarsVII. For the unlovely architects of this slogan, the appearance of London-born actor John Boyega in the new film was evidence of #whitegenocide and “cultural misappropriation”.


Conspiracy theories took note that JJ Abrams, the talent behind the Star Wars reboot, was both Jewish and a “known” Obama supporter. “It’s just Black Lives Matter in Space” shouted one protester into the echo chamber. A petition was duly circulated.


Normal folks everywhere, by way of response, sighed or face-palmed before moving on to the next tale of internet crazies: What do you mean, Mad Max: Fury Road has been taken over by the bloody wimmin? #whitemaleextinction.
Ire, in the information age, is hardly novel. But one does have to wonder how deeply buried is the rock that these malcontents are living under. Surely they can’t have failed to notice before now that Darth Vader is voiced by James Earl Jones and Mace Windu is essayed by Samuel L Jackson?


Have they seen any work by The Force Awakens director before? Abrams, who scored his first major TV hit with the female-centric Felicity, may have occasionally attracted flak for being too fast and furious with his exciting but unphilosophical Star Trek films or for being overly Spielbergian with Super 8. But no one has ever watched his TV shows and movies and complained that they were insufficiently politically correct.


And so Star Wars: The Force Awakens marks a genuine New Hope: a galaxy far, far away where imprisoned, underdressed princesses don’t end up providing ill-defined services to Jabba the Hut.


Just ask Gwendoline Christie, who plays Captain Phasma, a role that was originally written for a man but was gender- swapped to facilitate more equitable representation and to make room for the rather wonderful Christie. The actor, by now, is well-accustomed to androgynous military women, having spent several seasons in armour as Game of Thrones’ Brienne of Tarth and having lately stepped out as Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.


“In film and television, there’s a long tradition of non-essential women,” says Christie. “Being in Game of Thrones, where you are surrounded by well-rounded, brilliant female characters, has taught me a lot.”


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‘I’m not sure I’ll Ever Stop Screaming About It’

NMEIn less than a week, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be out. It’s actually happening. NME met some of the film’s lead actors to chat droids, the Millennium Falcon and Episode VIII. Here’s the third Q&A with Gwendoline Christie, who plays Captain Phasma in the new film.


Gwendoline Christie
Age: 37
Star Wars character: Captain Phasma
Captain Phasma in brief: Very little is known about Captain Phasma, with both the producers and Christie remaining tight-lipped about the character. However, we do know that Phasma is a commander in the First Order and in the trailers she is often seen in the company of villain Kylo Ren, making her the franchise’s first major female villain. Exciting stuff.


Quite a year you’re having, with Game Of Thrones, the fourth Hunger Games film and now Star Wars.

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Gwendoline Christie Awakens


INTERVIEW – On Game of Thrones, Gwendoline Christie plays Lady Brienne of Tarth, an honest, loyal, compassionate, shit-kicking, badass hero. Introduced in the show’s second season, Brienne is a noblewoman who has always been mocked and marginalized for her stature. She finally finds acceptance amongst the followers of Renly Barathean (or at least Renly himself), one of three hopeful kings in Westeros. He welcomes her into his king’s guard, an honor exclusive to males, as a proper knight. Then he is murdered by a whispy black shadow bearing the face of his brother and it all goes to hell.


Although the show can get pretty brutal (it’s not afraid to kill off major characters and there are some pretty horrific rape scenes), Brienne brings out the humanity in other characters. One of the most interesting relationships on the show was between Brienne and Jaime Lannister, a man known throughout Westeros for killing a king and sleeping with his twin sister.


But Christie is more than just the character that made her famous. Over the last three years, the 35-year-old Sussex, England native has become something of a fashion icon: she’s modeled in shows for Vivienne Westwood and Iris Van Herpen, and is frequently pictured in the creations of London designer Giles Deacon. Next week she will be propelled into the world of super-fans through her role as Captain Phasma in Star Wars. It is only Christie’s fourth feature film after Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and The Zero Theorem, and last month’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2.


Here, Christie talks to her friend Samuel L. Jackson, who has appeared in a few Star Wars films himself.


SAMUEL L. JACKSON: Where are you?


005GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE: I’m in Belfast, filming a new series of Game of Thrones. My plane was delayed for two hours and then I had a self-tape to do that needed to be in two days ago. [laughs] It’s been action-packed. Where are you Sam, where are you?


JACKSON: I’m in L.A. for now, but I’m on my way to an airport in half an hour to get back to Hawaii to go back to filming King Kong.


CHRISTIE: Oh wow! What’s Hawaii like?


JACKSON: It’s hot and beautiful. It’s the opposite of where you are.


CHRISTIE: [laughs] Basically, yeah. But Belfast has it’s own special charms, which I like.


JACKSON: I know. I want to be there. I think I’m coming there at some point to do The Blob next year.


CHRISTIE: You need to get in touch with the set production and do a set visit. I’m serious about this. I’m willing to fly in and give you that tour. What about July?

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STAR WARS: Gwendoline Christie on Playing the First Female Storm Trooper

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Interview by Fox 5 DC


Gwendoline’s part starts at 14:25

Gwendoline’s Questions from Twitter Star Wars Q&A

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The women of ‘Star Wars’ speak out about their new Empire

LOS ANGELES TIMES – “That’s my chair.”


Harrison Ford and Daisy Ridley had just stepped onto the Millennium Falcon set for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” when Ridley went to get into the pilot seat. Han Solo wasn’t pleased.


“I was honestly so embarrassed,” Ridley says. “Obviously he was kidding around and even J.J. [Abrams] said, ‘Oh, my God.'”


Still, Ford’s joking around didn’t stop Ridley from climbing into the cockpit. Her character, “Star Wars” newcomer Rey, is this galaxy’s new ace pilot. And yes, Rey flies the ship that can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.


“It was cool,” she says with a laugh.


If there was ever a better metaphor for women taking the wheel in a galaxy far, far away it’s Han Solo handing over the keys of the Millennium Falcon to the 23-year-old Ridley.


The “Star Wars” narrative has always favored the pilot. Han Solo is a pilot. Anakin Skywalker was heralded as the cringe-inducing, pod-racing prodigy who later grows up to be “the best star pilot in the galaxy” (according to old man Obi-Wan). Even Luke Skywalker could bull’s-eye a womp rat while flying (and it’s not much bigger than 2 meters). So the news that Rey sits front and center, skillfully piloting the prize of the “Star Wars” skies is a big deal.


“It’s fantastic,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy says about Ridley’s role in the film. “I think what’s great about it is Rey, her character, is such a good pilot. That isn’t something she’s turning and asking how to do, that’s something she’s doing.”


This is clear even in the first carefully doled-out footage of “The Force Awakens” in which John Boyega, another new cast member, and Ridley are seen running frantically from a mysterious explosion. Boyega’s character, Finn, yells out, “We need a pilot!”


Ridley as Rey gives her best exasperated shrug (while running from certain death over hot sand) and yells, “We’ve got one.”


She is the pilot.


As the Dec. 17 opening of “The Force Awakens” approaches, the next generation of “Star Wars” characters seems to have several strong roles for women, on both the dark and light side of the Force. For a series that has struggled to find more than one standout female role (no matter how much she kicks butt), that is significant.


That’s not to say “Star Wars” has been absent of female influence. The franchise can boast the creation of the innovative and genre-busting Princess Leia, crafted by Carrie Fisher. And the newly established animated series “Star Wars: Rebels” and “Clone Wars” have a varied cast of animated parts for women. But the live-action movies have left a lot to be desired for female roles on film.


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Star Wars Goes High Fashion: See Gwendoline Christie in a Captain Phasma-Inspired Gown

The actress who plays the fearsome “Chrometrooper” in Star Wars: The Force Awakens models the gown inspired by the character.



You can’t miss Gwendoline Christie. At six-foot-three and with a curt electric-blonde bob and plump red lips, she stands out.


And that goes double when she’s wearing the gown designed by Giles Deacon, printed with images of Christie’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens character, Captain Phasma. Deacon designed the gown as part of a collaboration with Bloomingdale’s and Force 4 Fashion; Deacon’s gown, along with work from Diane von Furstenberg, Opening Ceremony, and more fashion-world luminaries, will be auctioned for charity after being displayed at the Bloomingdale’s flagship store in New York City, beginning December 2.


But first . . . the woman who inspired the gown gets to wear it, for this exclusive photo shoot with John Akehurst for Vanity Fair. “I loved that the design of Captain Phasma’s costume had been so inventively worked into the dress design,” Christie says about the gown, which is printed with elements of Captain Phasma’s hard chrome suit but is also long, flowing, and super-feminine. “[I] adored that so much drama could be created with just one move—much like Captain Phasma!”


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