STAR WARSSS….nothing but STARRRR WARRSSSS.
With the release of the much anticipated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” right around the corner (only 2 sleeps left!!), we got a chance to chat with the cast and director Rian Johnson, at the press conference in Los Angeles last week. Typically, press gets to watch the film so we can ask film related questions, however, with The Last Jedi (and with the previous installment, “The Force Awakens”), we didn’t. So, the focus of the questions fell more on Johnson’s direction, the strong female roles, and some geeking out with the newcomers over being in a Star Wars film.
Let’s be real- any Star Wars info is good Star Wars info. Here is what Star Wars: The Last Jedi, cast members Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, Laura Dern, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Andy Serkis, and Rian Johnson had to say about Carrie Fisher, strong women and more.
The Women of The Last Jedi on what Carrie Fisher meant to them
I was first shown A New Hope when I was 6, and I remember thinking, “Wow, that character is really different.” I watched TV and film, obsessively, from such a young age, and it stayed with me, throughout my formative years. She was really interesting, really smart, really funny, courageous, bold, didn’t care what people thought, wasn’t prepared to be told what to do, and didn’t look the same as the homogenized presentation of a woman that we had been used to seeing. That was really instrumental to me, as someone that didn’t feel like they fit into that homogenized view of what a woman was supposed to be. You could be an individual and celebrate yourself and be successful without giving yourself over or making some sort of terrible, huge compromise. That was a big inspiration for me.
She made a profound impact on me, as a girl. With Carrie, and not just Leia, it was about her wisdom. People speak about people who are brave or fearless, and I’ve been lucky enough to know a few people that would hold those descriptions, but Carrie was also without shame. She shared her story, and expected nothing less from any of us. I felt privileged to watch how Rian [Johnson] has so beautifully captured all of that and her grace, in this amazing, beautiful, pure performance. I was just so moved by her performance.
Kelly Marie Tran:
Something about Carrie that I really look up to, and that I didn’t realize until recently, is just how much courage it takes to truly be yourself when you’re on a public platform or when possibly a lot of people will be looking at you. She was so unapologetic and so openly herself, and that is something that I am really trying to do. It’s hard. I think she will always be an icon as Leia, but also as Carrie. What an example, you know? And I am so fortunate to have met her. I think that she really will live on, forever.
Carrie’s daughter Billie [Lourd] has all of those qualities. She’s smart and funny and shameless and wonderful. Bringing up a daughter, with Bryan [Lourd], who is all of those qualities and then some, if that’s what she did, just her being her, it speaks volumes to what she did.
The Women of the Cast On Strong Female Characters
As a girl growing up in London, I knew there was a disparity in films, but I wasn’t so aware of it. Growing up in a liberal household, I was never really made to feel any one way. So, when I got involved, I knew it was a big deal, but the response was so beyond anything that I could have imagined. And it’s not like I ever took it for granted or anything, but it was just so monumental, the response and how people felt about it. Obviously, that’s a testament to Kathy [Kennedy], J.J. [Abrams], Michael [Arndt], Larry [Kasdan] and everyone who created the characters, in the beginning. What’s great about everyone is that it’s not like they’re pointing out, “She’s a girl,” or “This is a guy.” It’s just great characters that happily are falling into broader categories now, so I’m thrilled.
Kelly Marie Tran:
I think that it feels like both an honor and a responsibility, at the same time. When I initially found out that I got this role, I just wanted to do the whole thing justice. I’m so excited that the girls in this movie kick some butt. Every single one is so good, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
I just want to pay tribute to Rian for being one of the most brilliantly subversive filmmakers I’ve ever been able to bear witness to. In the case of the look of my character, I was moved by the fact that he really wanted her strength to lead with a very deep femininity. To see a powerful female character also be feminine is something that moves away from a stereotype that’s sometimes perceived, that strong female characters must be like the boys. I thought that was a really interesting choice to get to witness.
I was so delighted. I wasn’t cast in the first Star Wars film yet when I heard about the casting, and I was utterly delighted to see that there was a more representative selection of actors that were going to be in these incredible Star Wars films, and that has continued. You get to see women that are not being strong, just because they’re acting like men, but they’re doing something else. You’re also seeing a developed character, or at least a developing character, that’s showing some complex character traits. I’m just delighted about that. I’m delighted that something as legendary as Star Wars has decided to be modern and to reflect our society more as it is
What makes “The Last Jedi” stand apart from “The Force Awakens”
It’s the second movie in the trilogy, and I think we’ve been trained to expect it’ll be a little darker. Obviously, it looks a little darker. For me, I loved the tone of the original films, which J.J. [Abrams] also captured in The Force Awakens. To me, first and foremost, we were trying to make it feel like a Star Wars movie. That means you have the intensity and you’ve got the opera, but it also means that it makes you come out of the theater wanting to run in your backyard, grab your spaceship toys and make them fly around. That’s a key ingredient to it. So, we go to some intense places in the movie, but I hope it’s also fun and funny.
My answer will be in direct proportion to the amount of screen time that I have.
I just think the story is moving forward. I feel like J.J. had a blueprint and foundation for The Force Awakens that was good, and now it’s about moving forward with the story and challenging the characters. All the characters are under intense pressure, so it’s a time that everyone has their own specific reckoning, and it’s all different. It’s a lot going on. I’ve only watched it once and I wanted to watch it again because of the amount of information and Easter eggs in there, as well.
Because the first chapter sets the tone and introduces the world and the new characters, in the second chapter, you don’t have to spend so much time doing that. You can really just delve into the story, into what’s happening, and into the conflict of each of the characters. I think what Rian’s done so incredibly well is that he’s challenged, deeply, every single character, including the droids, with like the biggest challenges they’ve ever faced. That’s how you’re able to really get to learn about them, on all sides of the spectrum, from light to dark. He found a way to get to the central point of each character and challenge them, as best as he can. I think it’s really amazing what he’s done.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on December 15th.