An Amazing Birthday With The Cast & Director of Star Wars The Last Jedi!

Hey All!

I recently had the amazing opportunity to spend my birthday with none other then the cast and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi! Yes, I know you’re jealous! It’s honestly the best way to spend a birthday ever. You all know by now that I’m a huge Star Wars geek and I’ll pretty much do anything for Star Wars. Heck I already had my tickets for this movie the second they went on sale! I was over the moon to attend this amazing event. It was not only a press conference for the film, but they also had a ton of displays and stuff to do before the press conference even started!

There were costumes from the film on display like Luke’s costume from the film…

Leia’s costume…

And Rey and Kylo Ren!

They had a bunch of amazing Star Wars products on display…

And I wanted to take home this giant Porg, so I could snuggle with it!

We got to see a preview of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge aka Star Wars Land which is coming to the Disneyland Resort…

And some behind the scenes photos the director took.

I got to take pictures with BB-9E…

The Praetorian Guards…

And with my old buddy BB-8! He said he missed me since I haven’t seen him in like 2 years!

After all that fun, we got to see the cast and director to chat about the film. In attendance were Mark Hamill (“Luke Skywalker”, Daisy Ridley (“Rey”), John Boyega (“Finn”), Oscar Isaac (“Poe Dameron”), Adam Driver (“Kylo Ren”), Gwendoline Christie (“Captain Phasma”), Domhnall Gleeson (“General Hux”), Andy Serkis (“Supreme Leader Snoke”), Laura Dern (“Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo”), Kelly Marie Tran (“Rose Tico”), and Director Rian Johnson.

I was beyond happy to celebrate my birthday with them!

The press conference was done moderation style with a Q&A where we could ask questions. Everyone was first asked, How would you say this film feels different from The Force Awakens? What sets it apart from that film?

JOHN BOYEGA:

I just think the story’s moving forward. I just feel like J.J. had a blueprint, a foundation of Force Awakens that was pretty good and now it’s about moving forward with the story and just challenging the characters and then all the characters are under intense pressure, and so it’s a time which everyone has their own specific reckoning, and it’s all different. It’s like a lot going on. I’ve only watched it once and the first thing is that I want to watch it again because of the amount of information and Easter eggs in there as well.

OSCAR ISAAC:

I think the thing as well is that often with the second chapter in a story of three, because the first one kind of sets the tone and the world and the new characters, introduced them, in the second one you don’t have to spend so much time doing that, you can really just delve into the story, into what’s happening, like John said, to the conflict of each of the characters. I think what Rian’s done so incredibly well is that he’s challenged deeply every single character, including the droids, with like the biggest challenges they’ve ever faced,. That’s how you’re able to really get to learn about them, on all sides of the spectrum, from light to dark. It’s like he’s found a way to get to the central point of that character and try to challenge them as best as he can. I think it’s really amazing what he’s done.

DAISY RIDLEY:

I mean, the biggest thing for me when I read the script, because you know, even though you’re trying to avoid what people are saying, because people responded well to John and I as a team. I was a big nervous about not being a team so much in this one. So I think for me personally, it was a challenge. The film was a challenge and I don’t know what it was like for anyone else, but to be in different combinations of people. We’re in different situations, we’re with different people that we are learning about, we’re meeting for the first time, so yeah, felt pretty different for me.

Next the newcomers to the Star Wars universe chatted about the film.

RIAN JOHNSON:

I’m like the new boyfriend at Thanksgiving dinner.

Laura Dern was asked about Admiral Holdo and if there was a little bit of herself in Admiral Holdo?

LAURA DERN:
Very much so.

RIAN JOHNSON:
Laura Dern could represent any part of me in life, I would be thrilled. I mean, Laura, I’ve been wanting to work with her for some time and it’s a dream just to get to work with her. The character that she plays in all of its glorious purple-haired wonder. We were really able to dig in and do some really exciting, fun stuff. And Laura, I know that like the moments on set where like suddenly you would like catch my eye and you would say, this feels like we’re making an independent film, like those were the moments that I was like, yeah, it kind of does.  I think that feels really good and that kind of intimacy of the process, I think. I don’t know. If Laura Dern’s telling you that, then you might be on the right track, I guess.

Kelly and Laura were asked if they geeked out a little bit when they started working on the film.

LAURA DERN:

Every part.

KELLY MARIE TAN:

Every part. I’m trying not to cry right now ‘cause this is so weird and different. I feel like Rian has said this before but it definitely feels like you have to find a way to just do the work and kind of block everything out, but then C-3PO comes up and you’re like oh my god! So you’re constantly figuring out how can I figure out how to work in this environment and then you’re like, but also this is awesome. So it’s kind of a balance, right?

LAURA DERN:

And just to add to that, what Rian spoke to, that he does so beautifully as well as Andy was describing the intimacy of discovering each character’s conflict, which is just extraordinary, given the enormity of the cast. He gave us that in the experience of the workplace and it was shocking. Oscar and I always talked about just how stunned we were that we were in such a massive environment and did feel like we were, you know, making a indie movie and you were always encouraging us to try things and explore character, and explore this duality of the light and the dark within characters. The movie speaks to so beautifully, not just that there are alternative universes but that that lies within, which seems to be the place that George Lucas first started the mythology of that, and it’s just so brilliant. And a group of us sitting together watching it for the first time was amazing ‘cause it was like we were with 3,000 people. We were screaming, standing up, and crying.

Domhnall and Adam were asked to talk about their characters competition and bond or lack thereof, as we enter this film.

ADAM DRIVER:

I think it’s definitely there’s a competition and it’s maybe yet to be discovered where that comes from. If anything I think that’s more of a testament to kind of what everyone has been saying of Rian’s inability to not mind a character in every moment, which seems like an obvious thing, but he doesn’t so he knows that spectacle, it won’t mean anything if you don’t care about anything that’s going on, which again, seems very obvious but I think it’s a really hard thing to balance with this many moving parts in the scale of something like this. I love playing those scenes, especially with Domhnall, because he’s a great actor and there’s nothing taken for granted where this happens and it moves on. If anything, Rian slows the pace and there’s not a moment that’s taken for granted. It’s always broken up into little pieces and the story in our mind comes first before an explosion.

Mark Hamill. With Luke training Rey in this movie, it seems like he’s in the position Yoda was with Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. Is it sort of like when your parents say you’ll understand when you’re older? Does he finally learn some of Yoda’s lessons now that he’s the teacher?

MARK HAMILL:

Well, you’re assuming that I train Rey.

DAISY RIDLEY:

Exactly.

MARK HAMILL:

Do I?

MARK HAMILL:

I know. I have to be really careful. People say, was it difficult to pick up and wield a light saber again, and I go, do I pick up a light saber?  I can promise you my part is twice as big as it was in The Force Awakens.

 

I then told the cast this is the best way to spend my birthday ever and they all wished me a happy birthday, which is a dream come true to say the least! Luke Skywalker wished me a Happy Birthday! Since I love my Ewoks with a passion, I asked the same thing I asked at The Force Awakens press conference. Will we see Ewoks in this movie? I added if they possibly battle the Porgs? This is how Rian Johnson responded!

RIAN JOHNSON:

It depends what drugs you take before you go in.

Really Rian! Well I guess I’ll be sparking it up before I see the movie again and imagine some Ewoks!

We ended the press conference with the cast talking about the impact that Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia had on them and to generations of young girls.

GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE:

Well, she was very significant because I was first shown A New Hope when I was six, and I remember thinking, wow, that character’s really different. I watched TV and film obsessively from such a young age but it stayed with me throughout my formative years, But I thought wow she’s really interesting, she’s really smart, she’s really funny, she’s courageous, she’s bold, she doesn’t care what people think, and she isn’t prepared to be told what to do. She doesn’t look the same as a sort of homogenized presentation of a woman that we had been used to seeing. That was really instrumental to me as someone that didn’t feel like they fitted that homogenized view of what a woman was supposed to be, that there was inspiration there, that you could be an individual and celebrate yourself and be successful without giving yourself over, without necessarily making some sort of terrible, huge compromise. It was a big inspiration for me and you know, to play a character as well from what we’ve seen in The Force Awakens, I was very excited when I was shown just the basic element of the costume, and here we were seeing character whereby a woman wasn’t delineated in terms of the shape of her body, in terms of her physical attractiveness. Those elements, that weird random group of elements which we’re born with in some kind of odd lottery and then we’re judged on in society. I was just delighted to be able to have that opportunity.

LAURA DERN:

She had a profound impact on me as a girl and spoken so beautifully by Gwen, so I’ll just speak to this present experience, to say that as we always had with Carrie, not just Leia, her wisdom, and you know, people speak about people who are brave or fearless, but beyond that, I’ve known luckily a few people that would hold those descriptions, but not that they would be without shame, and that’s what moved me the most about the icon she gave us, but also what she gave us individually and personally which is to Carrie, who she was so directly and to be without shame, and to share her story, and to expect nothing less from any of us. I’m so thankful to have had the privilege of watching how Rian has so beautifully captured all of that and her grace in this amazing, beautiful, pure performance, but also I think she found an equal irreverent subservice and they had this dance that gives us this performance that I was just so moved by.

DAISY RIDLEY:

I don’t think I can really follow that, except to just say Carrie’s daughter Billie is I think all of those qualities. She’s smart and funny and shameless and wonderful!

MARK HAMILL:

Always late.

DAISY RIDLEY:

I think Carrie bringing up a daughter who is all of those qualities and then some, in this world, if that’s all she did, you know, just her being her, I think it speaks volumes to what she did as her in the spotlight and also her as Leia.

KELLY MARIE TRAN:

I agree with everything that was said. I think that something about Carrie that I really look up to is, and something I didn’t realize until recently, was just how much courage it takes to truly be yourself when you’re on a public platform or when possibly a lot of people will be looking at you, and you she was so unapologetic and so openly herself and that is something that I am really trying to do, and it’s hard. And just like Daisy said, like Laura said, like Gwendoline said, I think that she will always be an icon as Leia but also as Carrie. What an example, you know? And I am so fortunate to have met her and I think that she will really live on forever.

 

I can’t tell you how much I love Kelly Marie Tran and it’s not just because we have the same middle name!

Thanks so much to Disney and Lucas Film for making this birthday the best birthday ever!

You can see my thoughts on the film HERE!

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI opens in theatres everywhere December 15th!  Get your tickets now! You don’t want to miss this incredible film!

Find more info on the film by visiting the official STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI website: http://www.starwars.com/films/star-wars-episode-viii-the-last-jedi.

 

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