‘Star Wars’: J.J. Abrams Warned Daisy Ridley That the Franchise ‘Is a Religion’

For Daisy Ridley, starring as Rey in Star Wars was a breakout role. Before she was cast in the role, Ridley was not much of a Star Wars fan. For this reason, director J.J. Abrams gave Ridley a warning about the franchise.

Daisy Ridley
Daisy Ridley | Rich Fury/Getty Images

J.J. Abrams told Daisy Ridley that ‘Star Wars’ was ‘a religion’

Ridley was a relatively unknown actress before she was cast in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. At the time she was cast, Ridley was working for minimum wage as a bartender. When she was cast as Rey, Ridley almost didn’t believe it.

“J.J. rang me. And it’s weird, because I thought I was still half-auditioning,” Ridley told The New York Times. “I thought I had to convince him. I was like, ‘I could totally do this.’ Thinking, ‘I can’t do this.’ And then he told me and I’m pretty sure I was like: ‘Are you sure? Are you sure?'”

In a 2019 interview with The Guardian, Ridley revealed a warning Abrams gave her about the Star Wars franchise.

Ridley told the publication that Abrams told her, “‘This is not a role in a movie. This is a religion for people. It changes things on a level that is inconceivable.'”

How Daisy Ridley’s life changed after ‘Star Wars’

In the interview with The Guardian, Ridley admitted there have been difficulties since taking on the role of Rey.

“It’s been hard at points,” she said. “I have a thing with control, but it does get a bit easier. I texted my friend the other day and I was, like: ‘Dude, please don’t put pictures of me online.’ Because it’s that weird disconnect, that people don’t ask people’s permission before they post things.”

The actress values her privacy, and in addition to beginning therapy she does not have social media accounts anymore. When she goes out with friends, she insists that they keep their phones put away.

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“I’m like: ‘You can’t say where we are, not just because it’s me – because it’s not safe.’ My friend has 50,000 followers and you’re telling 50,000 people where you are right at that moment? That’s scary,” Ridley told The Guardian. “I’m not passively aggressive – I’m just directly aggressive. It is a bit uncomfortable, because obviously I don’t want to say to my friend, ‘Please don’t do that.’ But I’m not the one who should be feeling uncomfortable.”

The actress remembers Carrie Fisher

Through her role in Star Wars, Ridley got to work with veteran actors Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford for her breakout role. In The Guardian interview, Ridley detailed her admiration for Fisher.

“Oh my God, she was so sassy and had all these amazing stories. I can’t mention any names but things that only happen with Americans who live in big houses in the middle of nowhere,” Ridley said of the late Fisher. “Oh, she was so smart and so funny. She went through things, like wearing the gold bikini [in Return Of The Jedi], so I didn’t end up having to do those things, and I’m so grateful.”

Ridley also told the publication that she is grateful for the opportunities that Star Wars brought her.

Star Wars has given me the opportunity to do smaller things and allowed me to say no, which is glorious,” she said.