How Did Daisy Ridley Get Cast for Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

J.J. Abrams explains his casting criteria

Despite having very little professional acting experience, Daisy Ridley was cast as 'Rey' in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Despite having very little professional acting experience, Daisy Ridley was cast as 'Rey' in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

If you haven't heard of Daisy Ridley (yet), you are not alone.  You'll hear a lot more about her after the December release of the new Star Wars film.

J.J. Abrams purposefully cast relatively unknown actors and actresses, including Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'.  Abrams explains, “That’s something I remember loving about the original trilogy: not having seen these people before.". In an interview with Elle Magazine he continued, “It was exciting but also terrifying because we knew that there was going to be a certain level of scrutiny and expectation on who these people were going to be. So they needed to be actors whom the audience could discover as these characters, not as actors they’d seen elsewhere. Ideally, it needed to be people like Daisy – somewhat experienced, but mostly new to the game."

Daisy Ridley's reaction to a Star Wars poster.
Daisy Ridley's reaction to a Star Wars poster.
Instagram

Ridley attended the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.  Her acting credentials include only small parts in several TV episodes for shows including Youngers, Casualty, and Mr Selfridge.  She's now about to lead in the most anticipated film of the year.

The Hollywood Reporter asked  Ridley to share the story about her casting and she explained:

I had heard about the role quite a while before I auditioned, and I emailed my agent that I have this really weird feeling; I really feel like I need to audition. Then months went by and the same people were reading for it. But I still really had this feeling of needing to read for it. So I emailed my agent again for an audition. I had four or five auditions over seven months, and it was a very emotional time. My first few auditions really didn't feel good, but my last audition suddenly felt like something clicked. You're so desperate to get a role, but I felt like even if I didn't get it, I did a good job, I'd done myself proud.

–Daisy Ridley

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' opens on the night of December 17, 2015 in theaters everywhere.

Daisy Ridley and John Boyega in The Force Awakens.
Daisy Ridley and John Boyega in The Force Awakens.
Star Wars / Disney

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