Daisy Ridley

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Daisy Ridley
Ridley at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con
Born
Daisy Jazz Isobel Ridley

(1992-04-10) 10 April 1992 (age 32)
London, England
EducationTring Park School for the Performing Arts
Birkbeck, University of London (dropped out)
OccupationActress
Years active2013–present
SpouseTom Bateman
RelativesArnold Ridley (great-uncle)

Daisy Jazz Isobel Ridley (born 10 April 1992) is an English actress. She rose to prominence for her role as Rey in the Star Wars sequel trilogy: The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

She then appeared in the mystery film Murder on the Orient Express (2017), played the title character of the romantic drama Ophelia (2018), and has done occasional voice acting, such as the live-action/animated film Peter Rabbit (2018) and a variety of video games, including Twelve Minutes (2021).

Ridley further cemented her career with leading roles in the dystopian sci-fi Chaos Walking (2021), independent drama Sometimes I Think About Dying (2023), and psychological thriller The Marsh King's Daughter (2023). She also portrayed Gertrude Ederle in the biographical drama Young Woman and the Sea (2024).

Early life

Ridley was born on 10 April 1992 in the London borough of Westminster, and grew up in Maida Vale.[1][2] She is the youngest of three daughters born to Christopher Ridley, a photographer, and Louise (née Fawkner-Corbett), who works in internal communications for a bank.[3][4][5] She has two older sisters, Kika Rose and Poppy Sophia,[6][7] as well as two older half-sisters.[8] Her mother's family, the Fawkner-Corbetts, were landed gentry with a military and medical background.[9] Her paternal great-uncle, Arnold Ridley, served in the military as well.[10] He separately forged a career as a playwright and actor (and is best remembered for playing Private Godfrey in the sitcom Dad's Army). Arnold Ridley's brother, Daisy's grandfather, John Harry Dunn Ridley, OBE, was head of the Engineering Secretariat at the BBC from 1950 to 1965.[11][12][13][14][15]

Ridley has stated that while growing up, her favourite film was Matilda (1996), referring to the titular character (played by Mara Wilson) as a role model.[16] While not a particularly strong Star Wars fan as a youth, she dedicatedly followed the Harry Potter series.[8]

Ridley won a scholarship to Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire, which she attended from ages nine to eighteen.[17][18] She then studied classical civilisation at Birkbeck, University of London, before dropping out to focus on her acting career.[18] Prior to being cast in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ridley worked for nearly two years as a bartender at two different pubs in London.[19] In 2016, she began studying for a Bachelor of Arts in social science through online courses with the Open University.[20][21]

Career

2013–2015: Beginnings and Star Wars breakthrough

Ridley began her career with minor roles in the television programmes Youngers, Toast of London, Silent Witness, Mr Selfridge, and Casualty.[22][23][24][25] She appeared in the short film Blue Season, which was entered into the Sci-Fi-London 48-Hour Film Challenge.[26] Ridley played the lead in film three of Lifesaver,[27] an interactive film which was nominated for a BAFTA Award.[28] She also appeared in the music video for Wiley's song "Lights On", playing the character of Kim.[17][29] Ridley made her film debut in the 2015 British independent horror film Scrawl, after her scenes from the British comedy film The Inbetweeners 2 were removed in the final cut.[30]

Ridley's costume from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts

In April 2014, the casting of Ridley as Rey, one of the lead characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was announced.[22][23][24] She was cast for the film in February 2014.[31] At the time of her casting she was, according to Rolling Stone, a "total unknown".[32] Her choice by director J. J. Abrams was seen as a repeat of George Lucas' move of casting relatively unknown actors for the lead roles in the first Star Wars film in 1977.[33]

Ridley began filming her scenes in May 2014 at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, and prior to the film's release in December 2015, she appeared at the launch of a set of Star Wars postage stamps issued by the UK postal service Royal Mail, with her character Rey featuring on a stamp along with the droid BB-8.[34][35] With international revenues of over $2 billion,[36] The Force Awakens was a major box-office hit and the highest-grossing film of 2015. Her performance received critical acclaim, with Richard Roeper describing her portrayal as "a breakout performance" and adding "[Harrison] Ford has a terrific father figure chemistry [shared] with Ridley and [John] Boyega".[37]

2016–present: Continuing career

Ridley became the executive producer of the documentary The Eagle Huntress in January 2016,[38] which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 24 January 2016;[39] she also recorded narration for the film's wide release.[40] Ridley was one of several actors featured on Barbra Streisand's 2016 album Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. Along with Anne Hathaway, Ridley and Streisand perform the song "At the Ballet" from A Chorus Line, with Ridley performing the role of Bebe, one of a trio of dancers hoping to be cast in a forthcoming show.[41][42]

Daisy Ridley and producer Kathleen Kennedy discuss women who work for NASA in 2016

In 2017, Ridley portrayed Mary Debenham in Murder on the Orient Express, an adaptation of Agatha Christie's detective novel of the same name. Directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, production began in London in November 2016.[43] She also reprised her role as Rey, opposite Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker,[44] in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which was released in December 2017.[45]

In January 2018, Ridley starred in the titular role in Ophelia, a reimagining of the Hamlet tale, alongside Naomi Watts and Clive Owen. The project was filmed from April to July 2017 and debuted at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.[46][47] In February 2018, Ridley voiced the role of Cottontail in Peter Rabbit, an adaptation of the children's stories of the same name by Beatrix Potter.[48]

Waxwork of Ridley as Rey (and the droid BB-8) at Madame Tussauds, London

In December 2019, Ridley appeared as Rey in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the last film in the sequel trilogy.[49] She initially said she would not reprise her role again after this film,[50] and is quoted as saying, "I don't think anything could top [The Rise of Skywalker] for this character." However, she does show interest in returning as the character if needed, saying "[...] never say never. I'm always open to a revisit. But also the beautiful thing is it's this wonderful, huge universe with all of these stories that have yet to be told. I think there's a lot of cool things to be made before any potential revisit."[51] She also saw some truth in her co-star Boyega's claim that she would feel jealous if subsequent films were made with somebody else playing Rey.[52]

In 2021, Ridley co-starred in the film Chaos Walking, an adaption of the young-adult novel by Patrick Ness. She played Viola Eade, opposite Tom Holland who played Todd Hewitt. The film was released on 5 March 2021.[53] The film had been delayed occasionally due to poor test screenings that followed the film's reshoots, and later due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It received negative reviews and was a box-office flop.

She lent her voice to the point-and-click mystery video game Twelve Minutes, alongside James McAvoy and Willem Dafoe.[54][55] The game received positive reviews, with Ridley's performance being praised by critics. She also made a surprise appearance in Judd Apatow's 2022 movie, The Bubble, as Kate, a horny AI. The film received negative reviews.

In July 2023, Ridley was announced as the host of a True Spies podcast miniseries about Lee Harvey Oswald.[56]

Ridley started filming the lead role in The Marsh King's Daughter in Ontario, Canada on 7 June 2021. Filming wrapped on 6 August 2021.[57][58]

She voices a character in the French stop motion animated film The Inventor, which was released in the United States on 15 September 2023, and set for a French theatrical release in 2024.[59] In 2021-22, she shot an indie film titled Sometimes I Think About Dying in Astoria, Oregon, with Rachel Lambert directing and Ridley additionally serving as a first-time main producer on the project.[60][61] She starred in a biopic for Walt Disney Pictures titled Young Woman and the Sea in the role of Gertrude Ederle.[62][63]

Upcoming projects

In October 2021, Ridley had signed on for a sci-fi mystery thriller film called Mind Fall with Mathieu Kassovitz attached to direct.[64]

In May 2022, it was announced that Ridley would star in Magpie, a contemporary noir thriller written by her partner Tom Bateman, based on Ridley's original story idea, which is set to be directed by Sam Yates.[65] Ridley, Bateman and Kate Solomon of 55 Films act as producers for Magpie and describe the film as a "Hitchcockian thriller that will take audiences on a genuine ride".[66] Filming began in London in January 2023.

On 7 April 2023, it was revealed at Star Wars Celebration that Ridley would reprise her role as Rey in an upcoming untitled Star Wars film directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy with Ridley appearing on stage.[67][68]

Personal life

Ridley resides in Primrose Hill, London. Since 2017, she has been in a relationship with actor Tom Bateman, whom she met on the set of Murder on the Orient Express.[69][70] In January 2023, during the Sundance Film Festival, Ridley confirmed that she and Bateman had married.[71]

In 2016, Ridley revealed she had been diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome at age fifteen, requiring her to undergo multiple laparoscopic surgery procedures. She states that her condition left her feeling low in self-confidence due to acne which followed.[72][73][74]

Social media presence

Following the 2016 Teen Choice Awards, which paid tribute to victims of gun violence, Ridley posted on both Instagram and Facebook an anti-gun violence message. Her post prompted backlash from the public, with critics accusing Ridley of hypocrisy in reference to the violence depicted in her Star Wars films.[75] Because of this, she deleted her social media accounts,[75][76] but briefly returned to Instagram, claiming the reason for the deletion was because she had "a busy few months ahead [and] so wanted less distractions".[75] She reiterated this statement in 2017, saying that social media is "highly unhealthy for people's mental health," including hers.[77] Ridley further commented on the topic in a 2019 interview, vowing never to return to social media. She said:

I honestly think now with social media and stuff...it's great to have freedom of expression, but I do feel like people think opinions have so much weight... I don't really think bad vibes should have the sun shone on them. [...] It's dangerous. [...] It's great in that respect for people who are in serious and dire situations to be able to be communicating, but for the most part I think — no, no, no.[78]

On 4 April 2022, Ridley returned to Instagram again after six years of being off the platform.[79] In her first post, she is seen sipping tea and engaging in self-care "refreshed, recharged, and ready for what I'm calling my 'Year of Yes'".[80][81] Ridley was welcomed back to Instagram by her Orient Express co-star Leslie Odom Jr. and Chewbacca actor Joonas Suotamo.[81]

Filmography

Film

Denotes productions that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2013 Lifesaver Jo Short film [82]
Blue Season Sarah [82]
100% BEEF Girl [83]
Crossed Wires Her [84]
2014 Under Waitress [82]
The Quiet Ones Jane Harper / Evey Dwyer In a still mock photograph in end credits; credited as an artist [85]
2015 Scrawl Hannah
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey
2016 Only Yesterday Taeko Okajima Voice role; English dub
The Eagle Huntress Narrator Documentary; executive producer
2017 Murder on the Orient Express Mary Debenham [86]
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Rey
2018 Ophelia Ophelia [87]
Peter Rabbit Cottontail Rabbit Voice role [88]
2019 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Rey
2020 Asteroid Hunters Narrator Documentary [89][90]
2021 Chaos Walking Viola Eade [91]
2022 The Bubble Kate Cameo [92]
2023 Sometimes I Think About Dying Fran Also producer [93]
The Inventor Marguerite Voice role [94]
The Marsh King's Daughter Helena Pelletier
2024 Magpie Anette
Young Woman and the Sea Gertrude Ederle Also executive producer
TBA Cleaner Joey Locke Post-production[95]
We Bury the Dead Ava Newman Post-production

Television

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2013 Casualty Fran Bedingfield Episode: "And the Walls Come Tumbling Down"
Youngers Jessie Episode: "A to B and the Apology"
Toast of London Charlotte Episode: "Vanity Project"
2014 Silent Witness Hannah Kennedy Episode: "Fraternity" (2 parts)
Mr. Selfridge Roxy Starlet Episode 2.8
2017–2018 Star Wars Forces of Destiny Rey Voice; 7 episodes [96]
2020 Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures Voice (archive material); 3 episodes
2024 The Christie Affair Nan O’Dea

Theatre

Year Title Role Notes
2010 The Boy Friend Nancy Musical
2012 Dominoes Daisy

Music videos

Year Artist(s) Title
2013 Wiley "Lights On"

Video games

Year Title Voice role Ref.
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0 Rey
2016 Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2017 Star Wars Battlefront II
2020 The Dawn of Art Narrator [97]
Baba Yaga Magda [98]
2021 Twelve Minutes Wife [99][100]

Theme park attractions

Year Title Role Venue
2019 Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Rey Disney's Hollywood Studios
Bay Lake, FL
2020 Disneyland
Anaheim, CA

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2015 Zed Fest Film Festival Outstanding Acting Performance Won [101]
Florida Film Critics Circle FCC Breakout Award Won [102]
2016 Central Ohio Film Critics Association Breakthrough Film Artist Nominated [103]
Georgia Film Critics Association Breakthrough Award Nominated [104]
EDA Awards Best Female Action Star Nominated [105]
Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Nominated [106]
Empire Awards Best Female Newcomer Won [107]
MTV Movie Awards Best Female Performance Nominated [108]
Best Hero Nominated
Best Breakthrough Performance Won
Best Fight (with Adam Driver) Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actress Nominated [109]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress – Sci-Fi/Fantasy Nominated [110]
Choice Movie: Chemistry (with John Boyega) Nominated
Choice Movie: Breakout Star Won
2018 Empire Awards Best Actress Won [111]
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Nominated [112]
MTV Movie Awards Best Performance in a Movie Nominated [113]
Best Hero Nominated [113]
Saturn Awards Best Actress Nominated [114]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Fantasy Movie Actress Nominated [115]
Choice Drama Movie Actress Nominated [115]

References

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