Star Wars has another badass girl in the mix. Jyn, a Rebel soldier at Celebration Anaheim, is perfectly played by the beautiful Felicity Jones. Strong, smart, and courageous, this is a character that everyone will love.
We got to chat with Felicity about her role with no spoilers. She seems to be ready to take on the Star Wars fandom and is very forthcoming in sharing her thoughts about Jyn.
So, can you tell us a little bit about your character?
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 storm trooper she’s like 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 bonds with kindred spirits, with the other rebels. Finding something that they all have a common dislike of the empire and they unite over that despite their differences.
How did you find out you got the role?
I had a phone call from Gareth Edwards, but I’d actually, my agent who I’m very close to and we’ve worked together for years and years and years. She had a, she sort of, she sort of said to me, ‘I have a, I’m pretty sure it’s yours.’ But she said, ‘but, when Gareth phones you up can you make sure that you sound really surprised?’ You go like, ‘great’ because he wanted to break the news to me. So he, he called and said, ‘uh, I’d love you to play the part.’ And 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.’
Was there a lot of training involved?
Well, I’d 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 sort of acrobatic moves that Jyn would have to perform eventually. It was just a lot of practice and a lot of practice.
Do you like to do your own stunts?
I like to do as much as possible. 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.
Talk a little about how much input you had on the look of Jyn.
Throughout everything, it was very, very collaborative starting 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 more of this Japanese style that you see in those early films with Obi-Wan Kenobi. You know, the martial arts type of clothing that they wear 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.
What are you hoping young girls learn from Jyn?
What I like about her is she’s not a princess, she’s not really rich, she’s not privileged you know. 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 Jyn is her sense of resourcefulness and self-reliance. Jyn isn’t always sweetness and light and giggles, she is exactly who she wants to be.
I think what’s important is 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 you know, ’cause that makes everyone feel bad. It’s about celebrating what’s different about us and being allowed, society letting that come through.
What does Star Wars mean to you?
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 and 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.
*I attended a Rogue One press event sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.