Getting off on the right foot. In Us Weekly‘s special, Disney/Lucasfilm–sanctioned Rogue One: A Star Wars Story collector’s edition issue (on newsstands now, or order online), Felicity Jones reveals exclusive details about the making of the film. Find out how the Oscar-nominated actress’ appreciation for shoes helped her prepare for the Gareth Edwards–directed movie, hitting theaters on December 16.
Us Weekly: Jyn is new to the Star Wars universe, but she’s part of an old story. What was her core for you?
Felicity Jones: It’s a labor of love. I’m very happy playing her! She feels very contemporary — she’s a woman who is incredibly independent, she’s resourceful and she has a humanity about her as well. I always felt like she was someone I could relate to. She felt weaknesses when things don’t go according to plan. There is absolutely a really modern woman inside this character. At the same time she’s learning about her place in the galaxy as we’re watching her, and there are plenty of mistakes along the way.
Us: What did you love about her, and what was harder to relate to?
FJ: I love that she’s someone who has had to be a real survivor. She can be quite defensive at times, she can be quite blunt and I really liked that about her. In terms of finding her, what’s always fascinating and takes time is, how does this person walk? What is their physicality? Why do their shoulders hunch in certain way? She’s had to protect herself all her life, so she has a certain way of walking that doesn’t attract attention. That’s always a challenge — finding the nature of a person, how do they walk.
Us: You’re metaphorically walking in her shoes, but you’re also literally walking in her shoes.
FJ: Yes! Exactly! I am literally walking in her shoes. I become obsessed with shoes when I play characters — I try them on and wear them for a couple of weeks before I start shooting. I feel I’ve worked those shoes in, so that when you get on the set that first day, this is not the first time you’re putting on a fresh pair of shoes. You’ve been walking in that character’s shoes, metaphorically and literally.
Us: Jyn and Diego Luna’s character, Cassian, have to carry out an incredible mission together. How did you and Diego create a rhythm that would work for Jyn and Cassian?
FJ: We felt initially that they’re quite wary of each other. She doesn’t trust easily; she’s sizing him up in the beginning: Who is this person? What’s going on? They have to really earn each other’s trust. In the beginning, as in many good friendships, sometimes it starts with friction. They test each other; they push each other. And then finding the humor as well. We all get on very well, which is often the case when filming in small spaces 12 hours a day. You get a sense of humor pretty quickly!
Us: Were you a fan of Star Wars when you were growing up?
FJ: You can’t help but be fan! I would watch with my cousins and brother, and it was a real family occasion to watch on VHS together. I would be mesmerized by the opening crawl, and I’d say, “Don’t go too fast — I want to read it!”
Us: Did you have a particular moment where you thought, “Whoa! I’m in a Star Wars movie”?
FJ: Yes. Every single day I had to pinch myself because looking up, there’d be a helicopter, I’m running along the beach, there’s a giant monkey with a blaster aiming down at us, we’re running through the sea, we’re in the Maldives. [Laughs] Every day, I was having a completely out-of-body experience. It was truly awesome. And the creatures were absolutely phenomenal, the work that goes into creating them, from the sketches to the models, and then you’re on the set with them, with this many-tentacled thing, and you’re acting with it, and I’d think, “Oh, this an interesting day at work!” [Laughs]
Us Weekly‘s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story collector’s edition issue is available on newsstands now or can be ordered online. The film hits theaters everywhere Friday, December 16.