What a whirlwind few days! Did you see yesterday’s post about our trip to San Francisco and visiting Skywalker Ranch and Lucasfilm HQ? Be sure to check it out because I included tons of great pictures from the Rogue One Press Event.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters December 16!
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY follows a group of unlikely heroes in a time of conflict who band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY is directed by Gareth Edwards and stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, with Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker. Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel are producing, with John Knoll and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The story is by John Knoll and Gary Whitta, and the screenplay is by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy.
Felicity Jones stars as Jyn in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which opens December 16th. We sat down with Felicity this past Sunday and had a conversation about her role in the new movie. Since this film is based on a new cast of characters, we wanted to know more about her character, Jyn.
Jyn has a very strong ideology. She hates The Empire, she hates everything they stand for. They have destroyed her family, so anytime she sees a Stormtrooper she is an animal who wants to take them down. At the same time, she has a wonderful humanity and she learns how to be a leader throughout the film. She starts off and she’s a bit of an outsider and is very suspicious and untrusting of people.
She’s had a bit of a hard life, there’s been quite a lot of struggle, so it’s not easy for her to trust people. Throughout the film, you see her actually forming these kindred spirits with the other rebels and finding something that they all have a common dislike of The Empire and they unite over that despite their differences.
How did she find out that she got the role of Jyn?
She was telling us that she received a phone call from Gareth Edwards, but that her agent, who she has known forever told her that she thought the part was already hers. But she wanted Felicity to make sure she sounded surprised when Gareth called to give her the news. So, when he called her up and told her that he’d love for her to play the part.
Then I was thinking, ‘that’s great but there’s gonna be a lot of training involved in this film so I’d better get my ass to the gym.’
Did she provide any input or suggestions for her character?
Throughout everything, it was very collaborative from the costume. Originally the costume – the first suggestions were sort of this combat style, combat trousers and a kind of flack vest. And I tried that and it didn’t feel quite right and it didn’t feel Star Wars enough and so we had a quite a lot of discussions about bringing in something, bringing in more of this Japanese style that you see in those early films with Obi-Wan Kenobi. And the martial arts type clothing that they wear.
And to bring out that side of Jyn to bring something a little bit more spiritual into her characterization through the costume. But, every step of the way it was a very, very open dialogue in terms of for all of us to bring as much as we wanted to the characters.
[Tweet “”What’s great about her is her perseverance…” – Felicity Jones on “Jyn” #RogueOneEvent”]
From the twenty-eight minutes of Rogue One that we watched yesterday, Jyn has a very tough hard life. Can we expect to see a reward, a sweet moment, or even a love interest for her in the movie?
While laughing, “I’m saying nothing. There may be something.”
Oh yes, there is very much. What’s great about her is her perseverance and her determination. It definitely pays off, and at the end, you feel like there’s justice.
How much training was involved?
I’ve never done any of this stuff before so it was just learning everything from the very beginning and just working very closely with the stunt team who took me through these acrobatic moves that Jyn would have to perform eventually in the film so it was just a lot of practice.
We talked about any prior martial arts experience and she told us that when she was around 10, she practiced Judo.
Now, I look back and that’s kind of a weird thing to be doing at ten years old. I did a little bit of Judo when I was younger and I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed that side of it but there were a lot of early mornings half asleep, running around the set and, everyone is permanently in sweat pants when you’re in Star Wars. [laughing] Kind of like, ‘oh you’re in it too, oh yeah.’
Did you incur any injuries/bumps/bruises on set?
There were actually. […] There’s a lot, you don’t realize because the adrenaline is pumping so much and then you get home and you’re just literally to have enormous bruises all over. I probably bring it upon myself because I get really into it and take it very seriously.
I like to do as much as possible you know, it’s nice I think when you can see the actor actually doing as much of the stunt and the stunt team like that as well. So that it feels believable.
Did you have to get different clothes to cover that since you couldn’t talk about how you were getting bruised?
Interestingly you have to because a lot of time you’re doing quite a lot of wirework so you have a harness that you’re wearing. So, you always have another version of your costume and it’s amazing. Literally, there’s the stunt version and then you have the walking version and the sitting version. Exactly the same costume, you end up having all these different types that you’re wearing depending on what’s needed. Luckily, it was long sleeves so you never saw the [injuries], I could keep in disguise.
Can you talk a little bit about what Star Wars means to you and now being part of it what that means to you?
Star Wars I feel the reason it’s lasted for so long is it’s about family, it’s not just blood relations it’s the family that you form with friends. I think what’s so special about it is those friendships are across different races, different languages, but it’s people who come together and they’re obviously united by fighting the forces of evil.
I think that’s what people, generations and generations tap into those relationships and really empathize with those characters.
What can you take with you after working on this film?
The thing that I would take from this that’s it’s an incredible thing to be part of but the thing that I actually love are the friendships. With the cast, I absolutely love all of them and everyone is very different and we all have our quirks and our ways but there is a real spirit of collaboration. I never felt like there were any huge egos, it felt like everyone was in it together and there was real support.
From working with a group of men you could think that they would be sort of trying to cut you down or compete but I was very lucky, they were very supportive throughout everything. I felt like we’ve all built a team off the set as well as when we were on and we were working. It takes a lot of time to get everyone to focus [LAUGHS] there’s a lot of joking and there are so many people and banter.
Often the first AD who has to bring everything together would be like, ‘okay, come on every–.’ You know, you start being treated like children as they’re trying to get us onto the set and get everyone to do what they’re told. But that comes from those real genuine friendships between everyone.
We’ve seen a sort of progression as far as the Star Wars women, Leia was very strong but she was still kind of that damsel in distress and Rae, was a little bit stronger and I feel in that twenty-eight minutes that we got to see that your character is stronger yet. Was that important for you as far as that role?
Absolutely. I just wanted the audience to just really care about her and empathize with her and be in it alongside her. And she is very resourceful and it was very clear to Gareth and I were both on the same page about this, we didn’t want her to keep being saved. Sometimes in films, the female character is often the one who’s sort of in distress and then the male character comes and gets her out of it.
And so we were very clear about just making sure that she could survive on her own. And she’s capable but also at the same time they do need each other, there is a team and a part of what makes someone strong is being able to work in a team. To rely on other people so it was trying to get that balance.
What do you want for like younger generations of girls to take away from your character they’re pretending to be you?
What I like about her is she’s not a princess, she’s not really rich, she’s not privileged, that’s what we’re used to seeing in these sort of leading Disney roles. She’s very much an ordinary woman and ordinary girl who’s had to make the best of things and I think what I would like young girls to take from it is resourcefulness and, and self-reliance. Jyn isn’t always sweetness and light and giggles, that she is exactly who she wants to be.
I think that’s what’s important that young girls don’t feel like they have to conform to some idea of what a girl should be. It’s like you can be whoever you want, whatever you are and take confidence in that and there isn’t a standard that we should all be working towards. It’s like, this is what perfection is because that makes everyone feel bad. It’s about celebrating what’s different about us and being allowed, society letting that come through.
Do you pull from any of your own real life experiences for your role as Jyn?
I think you do, probably subconsciously without even realizing it. You’re constantly drawing on your own experiences and definitely some actual Star Wars is about the parent-child relationship. I think without a doubt would have thought about my own parents when I’m doing the some of those scenes that I have with Jyn’s parents, definitely.
What was the most difficult part about being a part of Star Wars?
I think sometimes it comes with a lot of pressure, and you know Star Wars is the boss. It’s not any individual or any one person, it’s the whole franchise and I think it’s the responsibility. And not letting that become too much and get to sort of overly serious. I think obviously when there’s a sense of leadership, it’s trying to keep a kind of likeness and an enjoyment and not beat yourself up too much for all the mistakes that you might be making. [she laughs]
Who was your favorite Star Wars character when you were growing up? Who was your favorite character and why?
I’ve always like Hans Solo. Just because Harrison Ford is really hot. Or was really hot. Come on. No, he’s still got it, he’s still got it. [she laughs]
What did you learn about yourself from this film?
I don’t know, I think in a few years I’ll be able to answer that. I still feel like I’m kind of in the middle of it. I always hope that people respect you for your work and that would be kind of what I, what I–. I don’t know if that answers your question exactly but something along those, those lines.
Will we see your character go to the dark side?
No way. [she laughs] No, she’s on the good side all the way. All the way.
It is a classic struggle, though.
Yeah, I guess there’s an element isn’t there that Star Wars taps into. Well, it’s that choice that we have, oh it’s interesting you as an individual and particularly in terms of parents if your parents have certain beliefs and you disagree with those beliefs, do you go along with them? Because they’re your parents and that’s what you should do or do you hold onto your own sense of what you believe and in some ways reject your parents. And I guess that those themes could be quite pertinent at the moment.
But also that’s what Star Wars is about a lot. Isn’t it? It’s like, ‘who are you?’ And who do you choose to become?
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY arrives in theaters everywhere on December 16th In RealD 3D and IMAX 3D!