Continuing this weeks coverage of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I've got all of the exciting details of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Global Press Junket that I was so fortunate to attend earlier this month.
The main event of the press day was the cast interview featuring Mark Hamill (“Luke Skywalker”), Daisy Ridley (“Rey”), John Boyega (“Finn”), Oscar Isaac (“Poe Dameron”), Adam Driver (“Kylo Ren”), Domhnall Gleeson (“General Hux”), Gwendoline Christie (“Captain Phasma”), Andy Serkis (“Supreme Leader Snoke”), Laura Dern (“Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo”), Kelly Marie Tran (“Rose Tico”) and Director Rian Johnson.
The press conference lasted about 45 minutes with time for Q&A. I didn't take a full video but you can watch the entire Star Wars: The Last Jedi press conference here:
There were no spoilers from the media event.
Here are a few highlights from the interview:
How would you say this film feels different from The Force Awakens? What sets it apart from that film?
John Boyega: I just think the story’s moving forward. I just feel like J.J. had a blueprint, a foundation of Force Awakens that was pretty good and now it’s about moving forward with the story and just challenging the characters. All the characters are under intense pressure, and so it’s a time which everyone has their own specific reckoning, and it’s all different. It’s like a lot going on. I’ve only watched it once and the first thing is that I want to watch it again because of the amount of information and Easter eggs in there as well.
Oscar Issac: I think the thing as well is that often with the second chapter in a story of three, because the first one kind of sets the tone and the world and the new characters, introduced them, in the second one you don’t have to spend so much time doing that, you can really just delve into the story, into what’s happening, like John said, to the conflict of each of the characters. I think what Rian’s done so incredibly well is that he’s challenged deeply every single character, including the droids, with the biggest challenges they’ve ever faced, and that’s how you’re able to really get to learn about them, on all sides of the spectrum, from light to dark. It’s like he’s found a way to get to the central point of that character and try to challenge them as best as he can. I think it’s really amazing what he’s done.
Daisy Ridley: The biggest thing for me when I read the script, because you know, even though you’re trying to avoid what people are saying, it’s hard to, and because people responded well to John and I as a team, I was a big nervous about not being a team so much in this one. So I think for me personally it was a challenge. The film was a challenge and I don’t know what it was like for anyone else, but to be in different combinations of people. So in itself, we’re in different situations, we’re with different people that we are learning about, we’re meeting for the first time, so yeah, it felt pretty different for me.
Andy Serkis: I was blown away when I saw the movie. I just was so caught up with it, not least because it was really intimate and very emotional and I wasn’t expecting that at all. I mean, I know obviously that it was going to go that way, but it was very, very powerful and it touches you and what Rian’s done incredibly is make this dance between these great kind of epic moments and hilarious antics, literally flipping on a dime and then going right into the heart of these beautiful characters, and you really caring. And I think that was my takeaway, it was just an extraordinary viewing.
Gwendoline Christie: I was delighted by the film and what I was surprised by was that Star Wars has always been – I think the reason why it’s resonated with us all so deeply is that it’s our foundation story of good against evil, and where that balance is, and how we see elements of characters we’ve never seen before, things that can be unexpected. But there is something about this film and I think it’s because the world that we live in is a changing and evolving place, that it retains the simplicity of those elements, but it really resonates with what it is to follow your own human dark narcissistic tendencies, where that will take you, and I love that, and it’s done so beautifully aesthetically too.
There are way more female characters in this move, certainly in the first three movies. That’s going to mean a lot to little girls. I want to know what it means to you guys.
Daisy Ridley: I think like as a girl growing up in London, obviously I knew there was a disparity in films but I wasn’t so aware of it, like growing up in a liberal household. I was never really made to feel any one way. So when I got involved I knew it was a big deal, but the response was so beyond anything I could have imagined, it was only afterwards I was like, oh, oh yeah. And it’s not like I ever took it for granted or anything but it was just so monumental, the response and how people felt about it, and obviously that’s a testament to Kathy, J.J., Michael, Larry, everyone who created the characters in the beginning, and I think what’s great about everyone is it’s not like she’s a girl, this is a guy, this is anything, everyone’s just great characters that happily are falling into broader categories now, so I’m thrilled.
Kelly Marie Tran: I think that it feels like both an honor and a responsibility at the same time. I feel like from the beginning when I initially found out I got this role, I just felt like I wanted to do the whole thing justice, and I’m so excited that the girls in this movie kick some butt. Every single one is so good, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
Laura Dern: I just want to pay tribute to Rian for being one of the most brilliantly subversive filmmakers I’ve ever been able to bear witness to, and in the case of the look of my character, I was moved by the fact that he really wanted her strength to first lead with a very deep femininity and to see a powerful female character also be feminine is something that moves away from a stereotype that’s sometimes perceived in strong female characters must be like the boys. I thought that was a really interesting choice to get to witness.
Gwendoline Christie: I wasn’t cast in the first Star Wars film yet when I heard about the casting, and I was utterly delighted to see that there was a more representative selection of actors that were going to be in these incredible Star Wars films, and that has continued. And you know, everything that my amazing colleagues say is absolutely right. You get to see women that are not being strong just because they’re acting like men. They’re doing something else. And also you’re seeing a developed character or at least a developing character, that’s showing some complex character traits. And I’m just delighted about that. I’m delighted that something as legendary as Star Wars has decided to be modern and to reflect our society more as it is.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI opens in theaters December 15!
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- An Interview with Laura Dern for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- An Interview with Gwendoline Christie for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Special thanks to Disney, Lucasfilm & ABC for hosting my visit. All opinions