Walt Disney Channel : It’s Almost Unbelievable How Much Gwendoline Christie Wanted to Be in Star Wars



Walt Disney Channel : It’s Almost Unbelievable How Much Gwendoline Christie Wanted to Be in Star Wars
 Walt Disney Channel : It’s Almost Unbelievable How Much Gwendoline Christie Wanted to Be in Star Wars

 Back in 1978, a year after the original Star Wars movie hit screens, the two-hour Star Wars Holiday 


Special aired on CBS. In an animated segment entitled “The Faithful Wookiee,” a character was introduced called Boba Fett. The character had appeared a few months earlier in a parade in Northern California, but it was in this special that he first made a splash. He was enigmatic and cool, with his iconic helmet always covering his face. When Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back opened in 1980, Boba Fett became a full-on cult icon.

Walt Disney Channel : It’s Almost Unbelievable How Much Gwendoline Christie Wanted to Be in Star Wars

We bring this up because there’s a character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that captures the same mystique and danger that Boba Fett brought to the original series of films. And that character is Captain Phasma, played by Gwendoline Christie. She’s the leader of the Stormtroopers for the nefarious First Order, and she’s one of the movie’s coolest looking characters: She’s got silvery chrome-plated armor (a design that was originally developed for the movie’s big bad, Kylo Ren). She’s not in the movie a whole lot, but she certainly makes an impression.

Sitting down with Christie, we learned that she campaigned for the role for a very long time, and that the role means a great deal to her. We also learned that the concealing nature of the costume allowed her to exercise some different muscles (as an actor) and that she never feels daunted by the series’ considerable fan base.

What did you think when you first saw the costume for Captain Phasma?
It was so extraordinary. Partially because I had never dressed up as a Stormtrooper before, but also because it just looks fantastic, doesn’t it? It looks truly, truly fantastic. And the idea of wearing something like that, that goes from feet all the way up—and there’s a helmet too—is quite extraordinary. You look at that costume and you think, This is something that appears to be imposing, inflexible and high functioning. And that gave me an idea of what this character might be about.

Walt Disney Channel : It’s Almost Unbelievable How Much Gwendoline Christie Wanted to Be in Star Wars


Did it offer you an opportunity to flex different muscles as an actor?
I did find it to be a really interesting acting challenge—to wear something that was so covering—where the outlines of one’s body are not exposed. They are covered in armor. So it means that every move you make, every gesture you make, becomes more significant. It doesn’t just become bigger, because of what you’re wearing but because you realize what goes on above the neck is as important as what goes on below the neck. So that was very interesting and realizing that the way in which I gestured was important, the way in which Captain Phasma stood was very significant, the way she walked also said something about the character. I hadn’t approached a character in that way before. So it provided me with a very interesting way in.

There’s never been a single Stormtrooper with so much personality.
Well that’s sort of the point of them, right? That they don’t have personalities. But she is the captain of the Stormtroopers, so I think that affords her a little bit of personality. Don’t you?

Do you ever feel daunted or intimidated by the fan bases of some of these projects?
All I’ve been exposed to are people who have been very enthusiastic and very passionate and very happy. The difference between the show, for instance, and Star Wars, is people have had ten months to wait in between a new season of a television series, whereas people have had to wait a lot longer for this Star Wars movie. So I haven’t really experienced anything other than people
being really joyful. As someone who loved the films and saw them when I was very little, none of us thought we were going to get another one. None of us thought this was going to come back. I remember when I was with a friend and the news alert came in and they gasped and looked at their phone and said, “They’re making Star Wars movies again.” I gasped and asked who was making them and they said, “J.J. Abrams,” and I squealed. To me that made total sense, that felt very exciting and to me it felt like something that would be in safe hands. I very, very badly wanted to be in it.
Walt Disney Channel : It’s Almost Unbelievable How Much Gwendoline Christie Wanted to Be in Star Wars


Was this something you went after or it came to you?
[Scoffs] Yeah I mean they were like, “Do you want to do this?” And I said, “Not sure. I’ll think about it. Is Harrison doing it?” No, I really, really banged on the door for a long time. I was on and on and on at them to please get me seen. But of course, what I was told was the whole world wants to be in Star Wars. And everyone is being seen for it and they don’t know what they’re doing with it yet and that’s just the way it is. But I was really persistent and would get emails about great, interesting projects. And I’d email back and say, “Great, I want to be in Star Wars.” Then I just started responding to every email with, “I want to be in Star Wars.” And thankfully I think I managed to exhaust someone and I believe a phone call was made and I was in New York, at the season three premiere of the show, and I got a call saying I had a meeting for Star Wars. So I had to nip downstairs, sign the NDA, and someone said, “What’s that NDA for?” And I had to say, “Nothing!” Then I had to get a flight there and then to go back home to make the meeting. After that, they told me fairly quickly they wanted me for the role.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives in a galaxy near you on December 18.