In less than five years, Daisy Ridley has gone from paying beers for minimum wage to wielding a lightsaber for a multi-billion dollar movie franchise.
The British actress stars as Rey in Disney’s new “Star Wars” trilogy, which ends Friday with the release of the third installment, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”. But when she landed that life-changing role for the first time around five years ago, Ridley was still working in a pub in London and making less than $ 10 an hour.
“I don’t want to float my own boat, but I’m a really good bartender, because I worked in two different pubs for like a year and a half in a noisy part of London,” Ridley told Jimmy Fallon on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” in November 2017.
The 27-year-old actress added that she worked behind bars in London pubs in her early 20s, only stopping around the time she landed her breakout role before “Star Wars: The Force Awakens ”from 2015. When Ridley was announced as the star of this film, in April 2014, she had previously only landed small roles in British shorts and TV shows like“ Casualty ”and“ Mr. Selfridge ”.
In addition to landing a small role as an occasional actor, when Ridley was earning his “minimum wage” as a bartender, she told the New York Times in 2015. In 2014, the UK minimum wage for workers over 21 was £ 6.50 (around $ 8.50) an hour, according to the British government.
Ridley, who attended a performing arts high school in north London, also told the New York Times how she struggled for a few years after high school trying to embark on an acting career.
“I auditioned for it [acting] “She recounts how she got into acting.” I first got an ad, then something else, which I got fired from. It was soul destroyer. And then the next thing I got, I thought this was gonna be my big break, and they cut the role [from the movie “The Inbetweeners 2”]. “
Eventually, Ridley’s agents got her an audition for “The Force Awakens” and the actress later got her to audition. told the refinery 29 that she showed up an hour earlier for her audition, because it was “definitely the most nervous I have ever been for an audition.”
In fact, when the film’s director JJ Abrams finally called Ridley to tell him she had the part, Ridley still didn’t believe him.
“JJ called me. And it’s weird, because I thought I was still half-auditioning,” she told The New York Times. “I thought I had to convince him. I was like, ‘I could totally do it.’ Thinking, ‘I can’t do this.’ And then he said to me and I’m pretty sure I was like, “Are you sure? Are you sure?”
The movie continued to unfold ticket registers, earning more than $ 2.07 billion around the world, while propelling Ridley to international stardom. The 2017 follow-up, “The Last Jedi,” reported an equally impressive $ 1.3 billion worldwide, while the final installment of the trilogy, “The Rise of Skywalker”, is also is expected to generate well over a billion dollars at the box office once it hits theaters on December 20.
Because Ridley was a relatively unknown actress when she was cast for the franchise, she apparently earned only a salary in the low six figures of “The Force Awakens” (between $ 100,000 and $ 300,000), according to Variety. Those numbers have likely increased for subsequent franchise brackets, although Disney does not release movie star salary figures.
During this time, Ridley also starred in other films, such as “Murder on the Orient Express” of 2017, which drew over $ 350 million worldwide.
And, despite her success as an actress, Ridley still fondly remembers her bartending skills. The actress showed Fallon how to pour a good pint of beer in a ‘Tonight Show’ segment in 2019, and she also hopped behind the bar on the 2016 closing night for ‘The Last Jedi’ in Ireland, where she served drinks for his cast mates. .
Fallon asked Ridley if she could pour a pint of Guinness. “Oh yeah. I can do anything,” the actress replied.
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