Billie Lourd, the daughter of late Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher, reveals that she auditioned to play Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It's been a very difficult year for Lourd, having suffered the loss of her mom last December, followed by the death of her maternal grandmother, Debbie Reynolds the following day.
Lourd, however, has comported herself quite well in the face of the tragedies, having to address the big losses on a very public stage including Star Wars Celebration in April, where she introduced a tribute to Fisher. Also a busy actress, Lourd has fulfilled her obligations to promote shows she stars in like American Horror Story: Cult, where she reteams with Ryan Murphy, who also created her series Scream Queens.
Lourd's introduction to acting, though, came in 2015's The Force Awakens, in which she played the bit role of Lieutenant Connix opposite her mom's General Leia. As it turns out, Abrams, who co-wrote and directed The Force Awakens (and has just been hired to direct and co-write Star Wars: Episode IX), had Lourd audition for the key role in the film that eventually went to Daisy Ridley.
In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen Show Monday, Lourd said Abrams turned to her to read for Rey before he landed the actress who would come to embody the role. She says:
"J.J. Abrams called me to come in for Star Wars because he couldn't find someone for the lead. He ended up finding Daisy Ridley, who's an incredible actress — so talented! But I went in and he ended up giving me this tiny role with a couple lines."
Lourd said she knew she found her calling because of the comfort level she immediately felt on the set of The Force Awakens. Once Lourd shared her experience with Fisher, she got the seal of approval from her mother that she needed to begin her new career. She says:
"I was super excited. I didn't know what was going to happen and ended up going and fell in love with it. I was weirdly singing Jersey Boys on set and really comfortable. I came home and my mom said, 'This is really weird that you're comfortable here; this is one of the most uncomfortable environments in the world. If you're comfortable here, you should do this. ... You should act.'"
While Lourd is successfully managing to carry on the acting tradition in her family, it no doubt has to be a bittersweet endeavor. While she's getting to do something she loves, again, it constantly puts her in the position to recall her family's show business roots in public, which can't be an easy thing to address less than a year after two devastating losses.
Next up, of course, will be Lourd's reprisal of Lieutenant Connix in The Last Jedi. The release of the film will surely be an emotional event for Lourd, considering it's so close to the one-year anniversaries of the losses of Fisher and Reynolds, and that it will mark only the second and sadly last time she will appear in a film with her mom.
Despite the fact that The Last Jedi will be the last farewell for Fisher and General Leia, in all likelihood Lourd will appear one more time as Lieutenant Connix in Episode IX (especially since Abrams is in charge again). If so, it will not only serve as a proper tribute to her mother, but a poignant way to bookend the saga that began with Fisher 40 years ago.
Source: The Ellen Show
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019