“Jyn’s complicated. it’s what i like about her”
Felicity Jones plays Rebel team leader Jyn Erso
What can you tell us about Jyn Erso?
She’s really thrown into a situation that she’s not expecting. All of the Rebels have had some kind of struggle in their past, they haven’t had easy lives, and they all come together and are united in something they believe in. But she’s complicated, which is what I like about her. She’s resourceful when she has to be, but she has also had to stand up for herself. She’s determined, but there’s a humanity to her, which I hope comes through. She has real empathy and affection for the team around her.
Gareth Edwards has talked about how he wanted to make the movie gritty and realistic. Was making Rogue One like making The Revenant?
It was interesting hearing the stories about The Revenant, because it did feel very similar to making Rogue One. It was so important to bring authenticity. In this one, Stormtroopers are not all completely white and clean. They’ve got scratches on them and they’ve been through difficult times. At every level it was bringing a level of reality. I love shooting like that. It was great to work with someone like Gareth who kept it very fresh, who would say to go with your instinct. It brought such freshness to it, which I think audiences are really ready for.
Was there a moment where you thought, “Yeah, now I know I’m in Star Wars”?
Pretty much every day, because there’s so much detail. We would be in the ships, and you can press all the buttons and they connect, and things light up. It’s really fun, actually – the less acting you have to do the better, because it’s going to make it more realistic eventually. You actually felt like you were in the world of Star Wars.
Is there a hint of romance with Diego Luna’s character, Cassian Andor?
I can’t say... But there may be! You’ll have to wait and see. There’s definitely a connection and that’s what’s so beautiful about Star Wars – I think why people love it is the relationships, the fondness that these characters have for each other. There will definitely be some tender moments in the film.
You have the honour of saying “May the Force be with us”. How do you prepare for such an iconic line?
It’s like “to be or not to be” or something. You’ve got to really make sure you get it right, otherwise you’re going to feel really stupid. So I was just walking around my house saying it, over and over again, trying different pauses for different effects. But when I actually said it, I totally just channelled the Force to get it out!
There’s loads of secrecy around a Star Wars movie. Has it been frustrating not being able to talk to people?
Yeah, you end up just seeming like you’re a spy or something, really secretive. You get home from work and your friends and family are like, “Did you have a nice day today?” Yep. “Can you tell us about it?” No, nothing happened. It is really hard actually, because you get excited and you want to talk about it. The stream of consciousness has to be monitored, definitely.
Did you have any good visitors on set?
Mark Hamill came to visit. The Empire Strikes Back is a massive inspiration for Rogue One, so Gareth and I were almost bowing down to him. It was really special to meet him. He always comes across so well, just a genuine person who hasn’t been affected by that incredible thing.
Did he have any advice for handling the fame?
Actually he just said to enjoy it – that it’s a bit of a rollercoaster, but you’re on it now, so just enjoy it as much as you can.
Gareth Edwards prepares his cast for battles ahead. We reckon you’re unlikely to see Ewoks in this movie…