Comments about quality aside (those are for a different type of post entirely), it can be readily agreed that a lot of people really did not like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and it is also clear that those people were very vocal about their opinions. As an actor working on a film with such a harsh reception, there’s bound to be some stress. For Daisy Ridley, who stars in the film as Rey, that stress was probably pretty intense indeed.
On a recent appearance on DragCast, Ridley talked to host Nina West about the backlash to the film and shared some thoughtful considerations on what it was like to experience from an actor’s point of view.
“It’s changed film by film, honestly,” Ridley said of her experience. “Like 98%, it’s so amazing. This last film, it was really tricky. January was not that nice. It was weird, I felt like all of this love that we’d sort of been shown the first time around, I was like ‘Where’s the love gone?’ I watched the documentary, the making-of, this week, and it’s so filled with love, and I think it’s that tricky thing of when you’re part of something that is so filled with love and then people. You know, everyone’s entitled to not like something, but it just, it feels like it’s changed slightly, but I think in general that’s because social media and what have you.”
Making movies is, after all, a quiet affair, something you do privately and then release to a wide audience. The experience of being in a movie is wildly divergent from the experience of watching that movie as a fan.
“I think in general, people share so much on social media that if I went—I don’t have social media, anyway—but if I went to a film and didn’t like it, I just wouldn’t tweet about it,” she continued. “But it’s such a conversation and it always has been. I guess now conversations are just more public, so there’s stuff I wouldn’t have seen, but honestly trying to scroll through my newsfeed in January and trying not to see Star Wars stuff, I’d see headlines and be like ‘Oh my god this is so upsetting.’ So it’s been tricky, but then it’s having that thing of I feel really proud of it, and I’m so thrilled to be part of it. Yeah, but it’s a funny thing.”
All in all, the people behind the Disney Star Wars movies have had a hell of a time, especially the women and people of colour who have received harassment for crimes such as existing, making a good movie, and making a bad movie. There’s a reason Daisy Ridley doesn’t have social media, after all.
The takeaway from Ridley’s comments are, I think, that there are possibly things more important in the world than whether a movie is good or bad. And that it might be possible to discuss the quality of a film without making the actors who worked on it afraid to look at the internet. I feel like that’s a good goal to aim for.