Entertainment & Arts

Star Wars: 'No pressure' for UK duo John Boyega and Daisy Ridley

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Media captionJohn Boyega auditioned over a seven-month period for his role in the seventh Star Wars movie

The British stars of the new Star Wars film have told the BBC they feel "no pressure" over how it will be received.

"I feel no pressure at all," said John Boyega, who will be seen in the JJ Abrams-directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a stormtrooper called Finn.

"I don't think I feel responsibility," said Daisy Ridley, whose character Rey is the film's female lead. "I think JJ probably feels it more.

"I just mainly want people to think I did a good job."

Boyega and Ridley spoke to entertainment correspondent Liza Mzimba about working on one of the most anticipated films of a generation.


Lizo Mzimba: Star Wars means so much to so many people, especially those who saw the original trilogy in the '70s and '80s. How much responsibility do you feel?

John Boyega: I feel very responsible for my character specifically - for the things we do in the scenes, and for the collaborative energy we have. But, thankfully, we have a great studio who are overseeing the release of the movie, and we have JJ Abrams who is the perfect mix of serious director and fan boy. The responsibility's there, but I'm not the only shoulder it leans on.

Daisy Ridley: I don't think I feel responsibility. I hope people like it, and I hope that it exceeds their expectations. But I don't really feel that responsibility, no; I think JJ probably feels it more. Yeah, I guess it's daunting. But I just mainly want people to think I did a good job - that's my priority.

LM: How ready are you for the recognition you'll get, the media attention and the way your lives will change?

JB: You can never be ready - it's just something that is going to happen regardless. You have to just make sure you have your family and your friends around you, to help you stay grounded.

DR: Ultimately you go home at the end of the day, and your mum's there, your sister's there, your dad's there and your dog's there, and life goes on. It's like when you do photo shoots and stuff, it's a glamour version of me. I know because I look at myself every day in the mirror and I know that's not how I usually look!

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Media captionDaisy Ridley discusses her life-changing role in Star Wars VII: The Force Awaken

LM: Finn and Rey are at the centre of the film. How did your relationship work out? Did you click the first time you met?

DR: It was great, though John feels I slightly lied to him, because I was already cast and he couldn't know that.

JB: The first time I met Daisy was during the auditions; she had been cast as Rey and obviously they were doing chemistry reads with the guys. So I was like, 'Are you playing the girl?' And she was like, 'No, no. I'm just reading.' Then I found out she was cast and that she knew all along.

DR: But it was great immediately; when JJ told me it was him, I was really, really pleased. And the more I think about what we did, and the more I see of him, I just think he's brilliant.

JB: Yes, since then we've been pretty close. It's been good having her back and supporting her through this whole process.

LM: Appearing in Star Wars is a great thing, but it's no guarantee of a long, successful film career. How much thought have you given that?

JB: There's no guarantee of life, first of all. And second of all, I just think when it comes to the acting career it's all choice. I'm not stressed; I don't borrow trouble from tomorrow. For me, right now is about supporting a movie that I love, a franchise that's been part of my life for a very long time, and just having fun.

DR: I'm quite a hopeful person, and I've been so lucky with what's happened before. When I did Casualty [for the BBC], when I did Toast of London [on Channel 4], that was thrilling to me, and whatever lies ahead I'm sure will be exciting.

LM: Are you concerned that maybe in 20 years' time you might be known, not as John and Daisy Boyega the actors, but as Finn and Rey in Star Wars?

JB: No, that's great. I mean, that's not the worst problem to have in the world. Have you seen the world lately? No, that's going to be absolutely fine.

DR: Harrison Ford is one of the most successful actors ever but he still gets recognised for Han Solo, even though he's done so many incredible things. I would love to be known as Daisy Ridley the actress, but being known as Daisy Ridley who played Rey is also okay.

Image copyright Royal Mail
Image caption Boyega and Ridley's characters were recently given their own special edition stamps

LM: How hard has it been maintaining the veil of secrecy that has surrounded the film, and keeping things from your friends and family?

JB: I think it's been fine. I support the vision; I love the experience of going to see a film without knowing what happens. I think it's actually a gift to have all this secrecy around it, so I don't have any problem about not telling anyone anything.

DR: I couldn't tell anyone [I had been cast as Rey] for three months, which was probably the most difficult - my friends are actors, and we were sat around talking about jobs and auditions. But then throughout the filming, there were 2,000 people at Pinewood and it was everyone's secret. It feels wonderful, because everyone knows the reason we're keeping it a secret is because we want people to watch the film and go, 'Oh my gosh'.

LM: You both seem incredibly calm now. How do you think you'll feel on the day before release, or when everyone starts tweeting and giving their reactions?

DR: It feels like everyone's ready for it to come out now. There's been so much incredible work, so many people having input into it, and we're now ready for everyone to see it.

JB: This is the image I have. I'm going to be in my bed, with my cat next to me and a stormtrooper mug full of hot chocolate, and I'm just going to be looking at the box office figures. I'm just going to be looking at the numbers, at how many people are going to see the movie. I can't wait to see how well we do.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out in the UK and Ireland on 17 December.

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