STAR WARS actress Daisy Ridley has chosen a Jedi-style path as she looks to avoid the curse that has hit the franchise’s previous leading men and women.
The 27-year-old, who reprises her role as freedom fighter Rey in The Rise Of Skywalker — in cinemas next week — shuns parties, hardly drinks and thinks drugs are “boring”.
Daisy Ridley is hoping to avoid the Skywalker curse that has hit other members of the Star Wars franchise[/caption]
It is a lifestyle that the films’ monk-like Jedi Knights would be proud of and is quite the turnaround for the former wild child who once described herself online as a “hardcore sex machine”.
With the imminent release of her third film in the rebooted series, she will be all too aware that playing a member of the Skywalker clan — which many fans suspect will be unveiled as her character’s true heritage — is far from a golden ticket for a glittering career.
Jake Lloyd, who was ten when he played a young Anakin Skywalker in 1999’s The Phantom Menace, ended up in a psychiatric hospital.
Hayden Christensen, who was 13 when he played the older Skywalker in 2005’s Revenge Of The Sith, went into farming, while making a string of unmemorable flicks.
The actress plays freedom fighter Rey in the rebooted Star Wars series[/caption]
Mark Hamill, 68, the original Luke Skywalker from the first trilogy, which started in 1977, failed to capitalise on the films’ success and ended up doing voiceovers.
He was given a lifeline when director JJ Abrams rebooted the franchise in 2015.
Carrie Fisher, who died aged 60 in 2016, played Luke’s sister Leia in the first three films and again in 2015.
She became a drug addict, and a post mortem found she had taken cocaine, heroin and ecstasy shortly before her death three years ago.
But as well as dismissing drugs, Londoner Daisy prefers tea to booze because she knows directors do not want hungover performers.
She says: “I think I’m pretty responsible, which is a good thing. I’m just not that person to go out and get crazy.
“I like to be at home and drink tea. I’m not a massive drinker, I don’t take drugs — all of those things that I think are so boring.
“If you like to party and you get a job like this, that’s tricky, because you have to figure that out.”
This may explain why Daisy is confident of a bright future outside of the billion-pound sci-fi series.
In 2017 she took a lead role in the star-studded Murder On The Orient Express remake. And next year she will be seen in the second Peter Rabbit film and young adult movie Chaos Walking, with Spider-Man star Tom Holland.
She says of working on Star Wars and the curse: “I’m not really scared. I get to do a really great thing with a great group of people.
“I’m already involved with other awesome things but I’m sure I’ll always be compared to Star Wars and I’ll always be thankful for what I’ve been able to do.”
Mark Hamill has fuelled rumours that Daisy’s character Rey could be unveiled as a member of the Skywalker family[/caption]
Of course, Daisy may escape the curse by not actually being a member of the Skywalker family.
Little is known about Rey’s heritage but fans have speculated her Jedi powers and close links with Leia and Luke mean she could be unveiled as a Skywalker in the new film.
Even Mark Hamill has fuelled the rumours. He retweeted a trailer for the movie with the comment: “Is Rey a Skywalker?”
Despite her fame, Daisy, who is engaged to Beecham House star Tom Bateman, does not see herself as a celebrity and avoids glitzy events.
The actress is still not comfortable being in the public eye[/caption]
But she admits she was a party animal when she was younger.
While still at school she boasted on now-defunct social network Bebo about being a “hardcore sex machine”, adding she was “damn good in bed”.
In one photo, “Made in England” was scrawled on her body in lipstick. In another she commented she was “happiest when with friends, drinking and having a giggle”.
Daisy later stated: “I went to performing arts school and was a bit naughty.” She says the spotlight has since knocked her confidence.
Daisy admits she was a party animal when she was younger and once boasted she was a ‘hardcore sex machine’[/caption]
She has sought mental health counselling in a bid to deal with the pressure of being at the heart of the biggest film franchise in the galaxy.
Talking about her transition from difficult teen to overnight star, Daisy says: “I was a tense teenager. I found things stressful.
“I look back and think, ‘F***, it was pretty crazy’. And at the time I obviously didn’t have the experience to be like, ‘This will pass’.
“My parents always say they are proud of how I’ve coped with things.”
Daisy faced a hate campaign against her second Star Wars movie The Last Jedi[/caption]
Daisy, whose dad Chris is a photographer and mum Louise works in banking, decided herself to go for counselling to help her cope with movie industry pressure.
She says: “I think everybody should have therapy. I had OCD when I was a teenager and I think, for me, the thing is I’m controlling.
“I didn’t feel in control. I felt like other people were dictating what my day is going to be like.”
She has now started writing to industry people she fears she was standoffish to in the past, which she puts down to nerves over making a good impression.
Daisy refuses selfie requests because she fears they risk revealing her location[/caption]
She says: “I’ve literally written letters to all the people I’ve met saying, ‘Sorry I was like that then and I couldn’t talk. You’re great’.”
But she still is not comfortable being in the public eye. After intense criticism of her looks, performances and interviews, she has quit social media.
Trolls have previously said she was too slim to be a heroine, and there has been a hate campaign against her second Star Wars movie, 2017’s The Last Jedi.
On Saturday she was caught up in another Twitter storm after disputing during an interview that she was “privileged”.
The actress says the Star Wars sets felt like safe spaces[/caption]
She went on to suggest her upbringing — which included winning a scholarship to a private boarding school — was not much different to that of co-star John Boyega, who grew up on a rough South London council estate.
Undoubtedly, Daisy is a Marmite character. She refuses selfie requests because the images are often posted online straight away, which she believes risks revealing her location.
She says: “I don’t want everyone to immediately know where I am.”
Daisy was a 21-year-old unknown when JJ Abrams selected her for the Star Wars reboot The Force Awakens, which came out in 2015.
Daisy previously suggested her upbringing was not much different to that of co-star John Boyega, who grew up on a rough council estate[/caption]
She had been working part-time as a barmaid in between roles in TV shows such as Casualty.
Next week she will be beamed into cinemas across the globe as Star Wars owners Disney try to better the £1billion the previous film took.
Writer and director Abrams, who was also behind TV series Lost and the Star Trek reboot, has a huge amount of faith in Daisy, allowing her to play with her script.
She says: “That is empowering because you’re like, ‘Oh he is a mega-successful, incredible writer and director and he listens to me as well’.”
Writer and director JJ Abrams has a huge amount of faith in Daisy and allows her to play with her script[/caption]
But there were days on set when Daisy did not feel her acting skills were up to it.
She says: “One thing I find hard is anger, to perform anger. There are days where I literally said to JJ, ‘I can’t f***ing do it, I can’t do it, what are we going to do?’.”
She says she could be so honest as the Star Wars sets felt like safe spaces. But it’s not always been that way. She reveals that one powerful Hollywood figure, who she declines to name, made her feel “uncomfortable” during one casting process.
She says: “Have I had uncomfortable experiences? Yes. Is one of them with somebody that said, ‘I’ve never done anything’? Yes.
The Rise Of Skywalker is the end of the Star Wars saga as we know it[/caption]
“It was, like, a very male/female thing and there was a vibe and he was powerful.”
It is unclear whether we will ever see Daisy swishing a lightsaber again after The Rise Of Skywalker as the film is the end of the Star Wars saga as we know it.
But with her clean living and career focus, it looks likely the Force will be with her in whatever she chooses to do next.
- Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is in cinemas on December 19
The dark side of fame
LIFE after Star Wars has not been without its problems for leading Skywalkers . . .
THE Princess Leia actress struggled with drink, drugs and bipolar disorder.
She also admitted bedding married co-star Harrison Ford while making the original film and taking cocaine during the sequel.
She turned to writing when her acting career was largely reduced to cameos and died in 2016.
Mark Hamill was typecast in inferior sci-fi films after Star Wars[/caption]
DESPITE playing hero Luke in the original trilogy, Mark has spent much of his career performing voice-overs for TV shows.
He suffered a car crash near the end of filming the first movie in 1977 and was typecast in inferior sci-fi films after.
He came back for Star Wars flicks in 2015 and 2017 but was not happy with the way Luke was portrayed.
Hayden Christensen quit acting to take up farming[/caption]
THE Canadian actor got flak for his sullen performances as Anakin Skywalker in two prequels.
Hayden, 38, quit acting to take up farming in 2010 before returning to low-key movies four years later.
Jake Lloyd was arrested in 2015 after a high-speed car chase[/caption]
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HE was just ten when cast as young Anakin in 1999’s The Phantom Menace, possibly the most anticipated movie of all time.
Jake later suffered schizophrenia and was arrested in 2015 after a high-speed car chase.
He hated having his picture taken and quit acting in 2001.
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