It’s been a couple years since Disney’s last offering of the “Star Wars” saga and new characters have joined the latest film in a trilogy which began with 2015’s “The Force Awakens” and continued with 2017’s “The Last Jedi.”
British actress Naomi Ackie is the latest newcomer to the franchise and for the 29 year East London native, being part of the cast of “The Rise of Skywalker” was really special.
“It means the world as I remember watching ‘The Force Awakens‘ and thinking it would be an amazing opportunity. To be able to be a part of that is amazing,” shares the actress whose audition process was a rather lengthy one. “From getting the first audition to the last one was three months of knowing I was in the mix. I had to do a lot of meditation as I needed something to help ground me. It was crazy, but the final call was a really special moment.”
In the film, Ackie, who made her feature film debut in William Oldroyd’s “Lady Macbeth,” a period drama which premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, plays Jannah, a tough fighter with special combat skills that includes a two handed bow and arrow. She plays a key role in helping the heroes take down Emperor Palpatine.
“She can definitely handle herself and is a woman on this planet who has had to be resourceful. Even her shoes are old Stormtrooper boots that she has cut down to size to make something she can travel better in. She uses the things around her to survive and is eager to help people who might need some help. A lot of my work was to do with endurance doing the same thing over and over again. If you don’t have endurance then it can get quite tiring and you can hurt yourself,” adds Ackie who spent several months training with horses and learning to shoot arrows. “There was a lot of running and weight lifting. Those were some of my favorite parts of doing this film and I actually feel jealous of my past self having it so easy to get so healthy and fit. It is such a blessing and the skills you acquire you carry that with you.”
Directed by J.J. Abrams the film stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, and Billy Dee Williams.
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” hits theaters December 20. Check out the trailer below:
By Samantha Ofole-Prince