By: Dominic Jones
Between her roles as Captain Phasma in Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, and Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones, as well as a role in the final Hunger Games film, Gwendoline Christie is becoming one of the biggest names in sci-fi/fantasy right now. Variety caught up with Christie recently to talk about portraying strong female characters in three huge franchises.
On the topic of being in all three franchises, Christie said,
“It’s great to be involved in three big franchises, but [they’re] big three big franchises that are looking to expand our consciousness about each other as human beings, and that’s very exciting. They are three enormous things — however, the quality of the writing and the concepts are very, very well developed and very relevant, so everyone seems engaged in the excitement of what these things are doing. All three projects are incredibly progressive, so it feels as though everyone’s caught up with the idea of that, and everyone’s dedicated to giving their absolute best and honoring the set of ideas and setting them forth into the world.”
On her role as Captain Phasma,
“It was very important to J.J. that I was there acting a part. I found it to be a really interesting acting challenge, not just because of what I felt this character was representing — and it was just what I felt, and we talked about it a little bit, but it was never like a manifesto, ‘this is what it must be’ — and it was exciting to me to have that weight of responsibility taken away, of having to be a certain way as a woman, to have to be mindful in a way that isn’t always useful. To have that stripped away was very liberating, and it meant that as an actor I had to focus on other things. I had to focus on what my body was communicating and what exactly my voice is communicating.
It becomes about the way in which you hold your hand, the way in which you walk, where your weight lies and what you want that to mean, and I wanted to give the character identity. I thought it was interesting to make something about the character identifiably female in a non-superficial way, and I hope that comes across.”
On the simillarities between Phasma and Brienne,
“I don’t think many female actors get the opportunity to play a part where they’re not having to think about the way their face looks, but I found exactly the same thing with Brienne of Tarth, and that was very liberating. It was great as an actor to work on your skills — that it isn’t about holding your head so you look beautiful. It’s about what you’re transmitting, and to be in service of an idea greater than yourself, whether it’s the character’s overriding objective or, beyond that, hopefully something more sociopolitical. We have seen an image of [Phasma] and again, it’s an unconventional kind of woman exhibiting a kind of strength, but in a very different way to my other two characters.”
She also praised the response by the official Star Wars Facebook page to a comment that complained Phasma's armor wasn't "feminine" enough,
“It was beautiful because it was informative, which is what we all need in order to tackle prejudice of any kind in our world … to be fed information. That’s just my opinion, that education combats fear, and fear leads to prejudice — so if we all become more educated, and if our mainstream media continues to expand and show a more realistic representation of women and of men… For instance, in ‘The Hunger Games,’ Katniss is an incredible woman, but Peeta also is a different kind of male hero. He’s a different kind of male character because he has a rich emotional world and he isn’t the brawny steadfast man that we have seen again and again.”
Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.