Daisy Ridley On Chaos Walking, Life After Star Wars And Why She’s Happier Off Social Media
One minute, Daisy Ridley was a Jedi. The next, she was just like many of us; stuck on the train of lockdown life, waiting to get off. But with Chaos Walking and beyond, it looks like her station is finally coming up.
763 days; that’s the amount of time we’ve been waiting Ridley’s latest action-adventure with Tom Holland, delayed from its original release date after iffy test screenings and further calendar limbo courtesy of the pandemic.
The last time we saw the star on the big screen, she became a Skywalker. Obvious fame aside, it’s been quiet ever since. But with Chaos Walking hitting homes this weekend and exciting projects on the horizon, Ridley is about to make some Noise again.
Chaos Walking takes place on a mysterious world where men’s thoughts propel out of their heads for everyone to hear and see, against their will. Ahead of its release, UNILAD sat down with Ridley for a chat about the film, social media and the future. Side note: this interview was conducted before her Great British Bake Off aired.
UNILAD: Chaos Walking is finally here, after… a long time. How does it feel for it to be actually coming out?
Daisy Ridley: It feels so weird. My mum literally said to me today, ‘When’s it coming out?’ and I was like, ‘I think next week?’ It’s strange. It feels quite nice because obviously some cinemas in some countries are open, where everything is safe and good.
So, that’s exciting, that cinemas are opening. It feels weird, it’s been a long time coming, it’s about to be released to the world. Now I’m just like… I hope people like it.
I read that you were a fan of the books. Did you think it’d be a challenging story to adapt to film?
Well, the reason it was postponed initially really is because Doug [Liman] has a very particular process. I believe this is what happens with all of his films, and he always makes great films. I read the initial script, then I read the books, and I was just like, ‘This is amazing.’
I know it took a minute to figure out how to do it, as these things do… but no. I knew there’d be a conversation about the Noise, and it was quite cool because I was part of the conversation when I’d seen an early cut, and the Noise wasn’t as present in the scenes. I was like, ‘We really need the Noise to be present because that’s ultimately why we’re all here, and why the story is the story.’ That was actually quite a fun process, because they were trying to figure out how visual effects-y to do it.
I didn’t think it would be tricky for audiences to receive… now you’re saying it, I’m like… oh my god, is this tricky for audiences to receive?
[Laughs] No I don’t mean to make you worry. Having now watched it, I think the Noise is a really interesting idea, and in how it’s presented.
Yeah, and it’s literally never been done so it’s quite unusual to be part of something in a cinematic way that hasn’t been done like that. It is funny, people’s reactions to the Noise.
The thing is, Patrick [Ness] is so talented because all the questions I’m being asked, people are responding quite different. Some people say it’s a take on toxic masculinity and I’m like, ‘Oh okay, yeah’ and other people say other things. I think that’s what’s great about films like this – they provoke different reactions.
How do you look back on the experience of filming it compared to where you are now? You were two years into worldwide stardom from Star Wars, and your co-star Tom Holland was becoming similarly famous for Spider-Man.
I mean, it’s a different beast for Tom. I’m part of a group of people, part of a universe that speaks to a lot of people and has done for a long time. Tom is literally playing Spider-Man in Spider-Man. It’s such a different thing [laughs].
Particularly after this year, it’s hard to divide things, like what would have been if this didn’t happen and stuff. But I feel, I guess, a bit more comfortable in myself. Otherwise, I don’t know if I feel so different, just a bit older and wiser [laughs].
How’s post-Star Wars life been for you? Obviously, we’ve all had a bit of a quiet year since The Rise of Skywalker came out. How’ve you been finding and navigating that?
I found last January so quiet, like, oh my god. Obviously, you make this film with thousands of people, have the most amazing time and then we were promoting the film all around the world, so you’re travelling with people you love and having a great time, talking to different people and visiting different places.
So that’s amazing… then suddenly, it stopped. I was like, where is everyone? You know, I’m 28. I’m in my 20s, it’s a third of my life, it was a big deal. But I had the most amazing time, I had the most amazing opportunities, and I love everyone. It was weird, it really was saying goodbye to a big thing in my life. But I’m also very excited about what’s to come.
With regards to the future then, you’ve got a lot coming your way. What’s your dream role, what would you love to try?
Well the next thing I’m doing I’m really, really excited about, which is The Marsh King’s Daughter. It’s like, the most incredible script. It’s just a really beautiful story. Definitely a challenge, I was speaking to Neil [Burger] last week and I was like, ‘There’s so much I have to do!’ Also, because I haven’t been on-set for ages, I’m like, ‘I can’t remember how to act!’
But it’s really, really exciting. I just feel like, I know I have so many amazing opportunities and I’m so grateful for all of them. I know it sounds a bit clichéd but I’ve had a really great time so far. Being able to work with amazing people on amazing projects. That’s literally all I want – just to work on great things.
Has there ever been a role you’ve went for that you desperately wanted, that you didn’t get… that you’re willing to tell me?
No, not the singular thing of what I’m willing to say. In the last year, I’ve probably auditioned for 10–12 things and didn’t get any of them.
I’m sorry to hear that.
Even though it’s painful, it’s like… it wasn’t my stop. My agent is amazing, and this happened a few years ago, and she said, ‘Look, the train’s rolling and it wasn’t your station.’ I’m always hesitant to talk about any of it because ultimately, things go to the right people in the right moment, and it wasn’t right for me, it wasn’t my moment.
It’s still painful, of course! But also, I’m really open to other people I guess I’m.. in competition with? I think they’re amazing, so you know. Marsh King’s Daughter was supposed to be another actress – I think it was supposed to be another two actresses, and sometimes it’s great to be the second or the third. Anne Hathaway was on Ru Paul’s Drag Race the other week and said she was ninth for The Devil Wears Prada. It’s a really good thing of timing is everything and everything happens its right way.
I have a question I have been dying to ask you, I haven’t been able to find this answer anywhere.
You were originally in The Inbetweeners 2.
It’s always ‘unspecified role’ – can you please tell me what your role was?
Okay. What I did in The Inbetweeners 2 was… I opened a door to a party, where the boys were going. Then, they changed the scene and I couldn’t go back. Actually, I was friends with the actress who ended up doing it. I was like, ‘This is so cool!’ It was funny, it would have been amazing to be in the finished thing, but I was still part of it. But yes, I was the person who opened the door to a party… but that was that role.
What can you tell me about how you got on with Bake Off?
It’s funny right… I obviously can’t be explicit with what happened. I was talking to my best friend about it, and he went, and this’ll give you a clue, ‘But Daisy, you’re such a good baker?’ I was like, ‘That’s what I thought!’ Basically, I went in, and I was like… I’m either going to be f*cking amazing, or I’m going to be the joke, and I don’t mind being either one.
I sort of became…. maybe a bit of a joke. But I kept thinking, ‘I’ll pull it back, I will pull it out of the bag’ and it just… the chemistry with me and what I was doing, maybe it didn’t work together.
But I had the best time, they raised lots of money for charity, and I didn’t cry! So even by the end of it, standing in front of people being judged on baking when I’m not a baker, like it is painful. But I am glad I did it, even if I might not have done the best baking of my life.
Not crying on Bake Off is its own accomplishment, really.
Yeah, and do you know what? It is tense. The time really does go past quite quickly. I was worried to go for a wee because I was like, ‘Oh my god I’m gonna lose three minutes.’
It’s funny, Alan Carr was on [The Graham Norton Show] recently and he said he cried. You do have moments where [you get choked up], but I take the piss out of myself so it’s fine, like it’s cool. There were times where I overheard things being said that were basically a bit shady to me, and I was like, ‘I can hear you!’ So there was also some fun repartee.
I’m hesitant to just talk to you about Star Wars, as I appreciate your career is moving on… but, do you look back on the experience warmly? I only ask because not every cast member seemed to have positive views coming out of the saga.
I can’t speak for anyone else, nor will I. Everybody has their own experiences and I love everyone I work with and respect that people have different experiences. I mean everyone always does, don’t they? We’re all individuals, we have individual experiences.
But to just speak to my time, I had the most amazing time. I feel really lucky that I got to inhabit such a wonderful role. I feel really lucky with what I was able to do, physically but also emotionally. There was so much I got to do. A lot of the time, there’s this thing where you think about big films and how they aren’t perceived as an emotional thing for the actors. But there was so much as an actor I got to explore in a really wonderful environment. So yes, not speaking for anyone else, but I – luckily – had a really amazing time.
Do you keep in contact with your co-stars from Star Wars at all?
Yeah! I honestly can’t believe it’s been so long since we all saw each other. It’s such a long time, but yeah.
Are you still interested in tentpole films, or are you looking at different movies?
I mean, everything that’s upcoming are – quote-on-quote – smaller films. Again, it wasn’t really a choice. There might be something down the line that’s a tentpole film. It really is one of those things, I don’t go ‘now I’ve done this thing, I want to do this thing’ – it’s just if I read amazing scripts. I know it sounds clichéd and boring, but it really is true. Currently, everything is smaller. I’m sure that if I ever work again [laughs] there may be other stuff that’s bigger, if it’s great I’d love to do it.
With regards to social media, I know you’re not on it. I appreciate during your Star Wars years was probably the most volatile time, but do you have plans to return?
It’s funny, I do feel like I have to say it all the time because people think it was this massive decision that I came to to come off. It was literally this one day, and I was like, ‘I don’t know about this.’ I was with my friend and she goes, ‘Well why don’t you just come off?’ I was like, ‘Oh my god, why don’t I just come off?’
For me, some people do it really well, some people handle it really well. There are ways that people are communicating on Twitter, in the way of sharing news, that are amazing. Maybe from places from where the mainstream media is telling us something different is happening. So 100%, there’s a place for all of it. Just for me… yeah, it’s just not for me.
It’s not really a big decision. Well, maybe it feels like a big decision. It’s funny, I was saying this earlier… I’m a vegan, which again is like a choice, but… I don’t know, maybe it is a bigger decision than it feels like. There are loads of people that aren’t on it. Sorry, now I’m waffling!
Listen, if you’re a vegan and off social media you’re probably healthier and happier than I am.
I would say I am a healthier version, mentally, of myself than I might be if I was on it. And again, it wasn’t like I was having a terrible time. But I think I’d probably be one of the people who’s prone to having a worse time as people do on it, just with getting sucked into it.
Chaos Walking is available for premium rental at home on all digital platforms from April 2.
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