Remember that top secret Star Wars: The Last Jedi press event I attended earlier this month? It’s finally time to share the individual cast interviews! Every day this week I will be posting a new interview from the event, starting with the incredibly talented Laura Dern, who plays the new character Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.
Without giving anything away, can you tell us about your character and how you developed it?
I have purple hair. There’s a new boss in town. I have arrived in the Resistance and I am a Vice Admiral, and that’s pretty much all I can tell you. I can tell you how amazing it was to be inside Rian’s [Johnson] head, you know. Each of these characters, particularly these new characters that he invented. It was incredible to have the privilege of collaborating on what, who she is and how to present a powerful woman.
I feel excited to join this amazing legacy of strong Females in Space starting with our magnificent icon of Princess Leia.
How did you become involved with the project?
Rian called asking to have lunch and talk about something. And then Kathy Kennedy simultaneously called me just to check in and say Hey, how are you? And we went to lunch and he started describing something he was looking for in a Character and would love for me to help invent this with him.
And it all sounded great and it wasn’t until the end of the lunch, it was like [WHISPERS] it’s in Star Wars— and like oh my God, it’s amazing having been a huge fan as a child. I was sort of listening to this amazing story and that’s what’s incredible about Star Wars. He started describing a world that was about the complexity of being a human being and the battle between light and dark and not knowing which would win, and the struggle of family and the hero’s journey.
If you had a lightsaber in real life, what color would it be?
I mean, maybe we need to see a rainbow lightsaber. I think it’s time guys, I think it’s time.
You mentioned being a fan of Star Wars as a kid and Star Wars is about family. Do you remember having experiences where your family took you to movies and it profoundly changed you and made you want to be a part of this world doing this?
Well yes and I’m spoiled in my answer. One yes, I saw the first Star Wars. I was probably 6 or I don’t remember exactly, a little girl and I stood in line. It was the first time I stood in line for a movie at the Cinerama Dome and it was blocks long. And it was profound for me. And the genre seemingly would not have been something I was interested in but the spoiled part is I have been raised by actors.
And I’ve been introduced into a world where movie is magical and my parents are such fans. But in this specific case, my dad, I think a few years before, had done a Douglas Trumbull Film called “Silent Running”. And I’m told it was a great influence on George Lucas in that it was my dad alone in space with 3 Droids named Huey, Dewey, and Louie. And I became obsessed with these Droids and those Droids, I’m told, were a great influence toward R2D2. I had a figurine of this Droid and remember that idea of being is space with these characters who are your partners.
And then suddenly Star Wars opened up this kind of storytelling in this massive way so it felt personal, as Star Wars does to all of us.
Do you think little girls are going to want to emulate the strong women in Star Wars and what is that going to bring to the whole franchise?
Well, it’s just incredible. That’s so exciting. I know what Leia was for me as I know she was for all of you. And it was again, not just her strength in some super heroic way but in the deeply human way that she, Carrie so incredibly embodied was this fearless irreverent sassy bold, vulnerable Female. And all things to be true and powerful and kick butt and all of those things were in one Character.
And we know how rarely we see that. So that meant the world to me and now my daughter and all her friends have this in Ray and soon other Female Characters in this movie and it’s really exciting to see what the different Females do.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI opens in theaters December 15!
Special thanks to Disney, Lucasfilm & ABC for hosting my visit. All opinions are my own.