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Daisy Ridley played a big part in relaunching the Star Wars franchise with 2015’s The Force Awakens and then reprised her role of Rey in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi. With those experiences under her belt, one might assume that portraying governess Mary Debenham in the actress’ third major project, director Kenneth Branagh’s period thriller Murder on the Orient Express (out Nov. 22), would have held few fears. Wrong!
“I remember finishing my first-ever film [and thinking], ‘Oh my God, this is so great, how could this ever be topped?’ ” she says. “And then I did my second film, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is so great, how could this ever be topped?’ And then Murder was kind of my first foray into non-spacey films. I was petrified. And we just had the best time. Truly the best time. It was the most wonderful group of people. I felt overwhelmingly lucky to be there and to be able to work with Ken and all the other actors. It was just glorious.”
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Ridley’s costars include Branagh — who plays novelist Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot — Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Willem Dafoe, Penélope Cruz, Dame Judi Dench, and Olivia Colman. So, who was the actress most starstruck to meet?
“When I first met Ken, I was super nervous, because I was auditioning,” she says. “It was this whole thing of auditioning and meeting him. But when I met Judi and Olivia, they’re like aspirational for me. It’s not starstruck: ‘Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.’ That’s what I what I want to be. With Olivia, to get a few years down the line and be even a patch on what she is, I would be so happy. And with Judi, it’s kind of an extension of that. And with those two working together, it was the most f—ing amazing combination.”