Daisy Ridley’s Stunt Double Was Just As Excited to Become a Jedi as She Was
Stunt doubles are coming up more and more in the news as celebrities, such as Brie Larson, shine a spotlight on how important they are and how they deserve recognition. Many stars are pushing for the Academy Awards to include stunt award categories, and news outlets and blogs have been eating up photos of celebrities side-by-side with their stunt and body doubles.
Daisy Ridley got a new stunt double in the latest Star Wars installment, The Rise of Skywalker, and much like Ridley, she was beyond excited to become a Jedi.
Some minor spoilers for scenes in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lay ahead.
Daisy Ridley’s stunt double in ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’
Daisy Ridley certainly worked hard to become a Jedi, and it shows in the films. Her training activities included kickboxing, rock climbing, strength and cardio training, and of course, she had to learn how to wield her lightsaber. She did a majority of her stunts, but there were just some things she couldn’t do, such as the famous backflip seen in the film’s trailer.
In an interview with USA Today, she said of the flip, “I had learnt a version of it, but there was a risk of breaking ankles so I couldn’t do the full thing. But there’s a bit in the film where you see me upside down. It’s funny because I did 95% of my (stunts), but that’s the one thing I didn’t fully do. People are like, ‘Oh, that’s so cool,’ and I’m like, ‘Ugh.'”
For those who have seen the film, there is also the little matter of the scene where she has to fight with herself. How did the filmmakers and Ridley pull this off? Enter stunt double Caitlin Dechelle.
How did Caitlin Dechelle become a stunt double?
Thanks to the increased number of female-lead superhero films, stunt doubles like Caitlin Dechelle are becoming more and more in demand and widely known. Dechelle has doubled for Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman and has appeared in music videos as part of Taylor Swift’s squad, to name just a few of her credits.
She got her start in martial arts under unfortunate circumstances: Her brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and while her parents were taking care of him, she began training as a way to keep busy. In an interview with Elle she shared, “I trained in three different styles throughout my martial arts career, Chinese Kenpo, Japanese Goju-Ryu and Taekwondo. I got my black belt in Taekwondo at 14, and then became proficient with about every weapon possible. I chose the sword as my specialty.”
Her father was a big help, though he never practiced martial arts himself, giving her feedback on her form and performance. Dechelle also credits Jackie Chan as her mentor.
Why was Caitlin Dechelle chosen to double for Rey in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’?
It was Dechelle’s proficiency in not only the sword but the staff and other weapons along with her similar body type that landed her the role as Rey’s double. In talking about the process of filming the scene where Rey fights herself Dechelle said, “One day, she was light and I was dark. The next day, I was light and she was dark. It got confusing, but we’d always laugh and joke about it.”
Dechelle looks back on her time as a little surreal saying, “There was this moment standing on set holding the lightsaber and I just thought to myself, ‘Oh snap, I’m a Jedi! I have a lightsaber!’ It felt so real.”
Dechelle has a couple of projects currently in post-production, including doubling for Betty Gilpin in the upcoming action thriller The Hunt. She has also said that she will continue on in the Star Wars universe, doubling for a character in The Mandalorian, streaming on Disney+, but couldn’t yet say who it was. One thing is for sure, she will continue to impress audiences with her incredible skills, though many may never see her face.