"She just blew my mind," says director J.J. Abrams of Daisy Ridley's performance

By Jodi Guglielmi
Updated March 29, 2016 11:50 AM

The Force was with Daisy Ridley from the very start.

Fans were blown away by Ridley’s portrayal of Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it turns out, director J.J. Abrams saw the potential of her performance right from the very start. In a newly released video clip of Ridley’s audition tape, Abrams explains why she was so perfect for the role.

“The character needed to be vulnerable and tough, sweet and terrified,” explains Abrams in the clip published on Buzzfeed. “And to find someone that one knew who could do all these things took a lot of looking.”

In the clip, Abrams asks Ridley, 23, to read lines from the scene in which Kylo Ren attempts to use The Force to read her mind. And much like in the actual film, the actress becomes visibly uncomfortable as she fights back and a hand grips her head.

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“Get out of my head!” she says as she cringes and sheds a tear.

And for Abrams, it was a pivotal moment that sold him on Ridley for the part.

“She just blew my mind,” he says. “She’s reaching this depth of struggle, and tears are steaming down her face. I thought, ‘This is unbelievable.’ ”