Daisy Ridley speaks to Glass about the importance of human connection

Glass speaks to former Star Wars actor DAISY RIDLEY about her latest venture, Sometimes I Think About Dying, an offbeat love story for the socially anxious

From Spring Issue 53

Looks are misleading. “Never judge a book by its cover”, I believe is the proverbial saying. Daisy Ridley is a beautiful woman. With her almond eyes, soft gaze and perfect bone structure, the 30-year-old actress appears to have been genetically designed to fit the silver screen. But, like I said, looks are misleading. Ridley isn’t beautiful, she’s a force of nature.

Sitting at the nexus of femininity and power, her demeanour suggests whiskey neat and carefully curated plans to take over the world. But in a cool way. Sometimes looks aren’t misleading, though. People with high cheekbones are deemed to laugh more. Ridley is all giggles.

Photographer: Emma Dalzell-Khan

Born and raised in Maida Vale, London, the actress rose to prominence after her breakthrough role as Rey in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019). She also starred in Murder On The Orient Express (2017), directed by Kenneth Branagh, and the romantic drama Ophelia (2018) as the title character.

Fast-forward to the present and Ridley both produces and stars in Sometimes I Think About Dying, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Directed by Rachel Lambert with Ridley in the lead role, the film is a spellbinding, meditative drama following the story of social misfit Fran who spends her working day listening to the constant hum of officemates and idly daydreaming about death.

Then one day new guy Robert (played by Dave Merheje) joins the office, swiftly bursting her bubble of isolation.

Photographer: Emma Dalzell-Khan

Robert keeps trying to coerce Fran into having a conversation that’s composed of more than three syllables. Although it goes against every fibre of her being, Fran is willing to give it a chance. Without giving too much away, Sometimes I Think About Dying is a delicately told love story for the socially anxious and emotionally conflicted.

“It’s funny because my word of the year is ‘intentional’ and we made the movie on a dime super quickly. We had a million dollars for the whole thing. Yet the film just feels so intentional,” Ridley begins as she unfurls the internal landscape of Fran’s character.

“The original title was How To Be Human and playing her felt very human. Her outer world seems bland, but her inner world is extremely rich. I was constantly thinking about a million things at the same time.”

Photographer: Emma Dalzell-Khan

What’s Ridley’s take on Fran, though? After all, it’s her performance that elevates the narrative into
an analytical introspection of the human psyche and relationships. “She really is a person of extremes.
And I’m not really like that at all, but I understand the feeling. Sometimes you’re being funny, people want to be around you and you bring something to the table. And other days, I feel like nobody fucking cares, nobody wants me to be here, and I’m terrible company.

What’s interesting about Fran is that there is a sort of arrogance to her demeanour. Thinking, like, ‘I’m not going to be part of this all’. Actually, that comes from layers of insecurity and thinking ‘well, no one is going to be interested in what I have to say’.”

Fran’s layers of emotion aren’t an alien aspect for anyone with social anxiety. In this day and age, we numb human interactions to a fault, and every relationship or connection we nurture is plastered in projection. Until the penny drops.

Photographer: Emma Dalzell-Khan

“In the scene of actually telling Rob what she feels, I felt deeply fucking sorry for her as a person,” Ridley continues. “Everyone knows what it’s like. It’s all going well and then you say something and you think ‘fuck, I didn’t mean it like that’. And then you go home, and you fucking can’t sleep. Weirdly, that’s when I felt most human of all because everyone knows that feeling.”

It’s a deafening silence when you hear that penny dropping. The sound of unintentionally causing someone pain. What both Ridley and Lambert do beautifully is to convert that internalised deafening silence into emotion in motion.

“I think we really see the layers of emotion in the scene where Rob says ‘I’ve actually been married twice’. What Fran was thinking was ‘I have no life experience; I’ve never been in love; I’ve never had a partner; I’ve never been on a date’,” Ridley reflects.

“But watching it, she could also be thinking ‘you’ve been married twice, what the fuck is this?’ So, I think… she’s an interesting person of slight extremes.

But really, I think it’s a film of someone’s inner world being much richer than their outer world, and that is because they are limited in their communications and scared to reach out.”

Photographer: Emma Dalzell-Khan

Whereas Fran is assailed by insecurity and doubt, Robert’s problem is shame and guilt . When the two clash, instead of having a combined whole, you end up with two halves, each consumed by the labour of their own internal narrative.

“It’s another level of projection [with Rob] because he is obviously carrying a lot of shame,” echoes Ridley. “Later on, he says ‘I’m trying to connect with you’, but at that moment he assumes what she’s reacting to – and he’s wrong. Then, obviously, that leads to, you know that phrase, ‘to assume is to make an arse out of you and me’. I do think that assumption is the death of so much. Because people just come in, they’re projecting, and their own fucking feelings get in the way.”

Shot in coastal Oregon, Sometimes I Feel About Dying is a movie that everyone can contextualise within their own inner landscape. It’s also a movie that makes you want to travel back in time and take back every single instance where you acted out of presumption.

Photographer: Emma Dalzell-Khan

“It’s funny because it’s not for everyone,” asserts Ridley. “When I explain it to people, I say that not much happens. It’s like a tiny ember; it’s not an explosion. There is no big ignition. But I cried every time I read the end [of the script].

One of the last lines from Fran was ‘do you wish you could unknow me?’ I remember Rachel’s notes. She said ‘you have wanted to ask this question for years, but you’ve never had the guts to say it’. I think for someone to ask ‘do you wish you could unknow me?’ is the saddest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.”

How does Ridley want to be known herself, though? “I just want to be remembered as someone who loved a lot,” comes the swift reply. At the dawn of a new day for women in cinema, she will also be known as paving a path that differentiates people of accomplishment from mere celebrity.

by Adina Ilie

Photographer: Emma Dalzell-Khan

Stylist: Katie Felstead

Make up: Kelly Cornwell at A FRAME AGENCY using ICONIC LONDON

Hair: Dayaruci at THE WALL GROUP

Manicurist: Lucie Pickavance at CAREN using CHANEL Le Vernis in 939 Singularité and CHANEL La Crème Main

Set Design: Scarlet Winter


Styling assistant: Prue Fisher

Talent: Daisy Ridley

Look 1: The Alchemist of Light by De Beers Frozen Capture necklace, The Alchemist of Light by De Beers Frozen Capture round solitaire ring, both DE BEERS, Jacket, skirt and belt ROCHAS, Tights FALKE, Shoes CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN

Look 2: The Alchemist of Light by De Beers, Bralette, skirt ZIMMERMANN, Shoes MANOLO BLAHNIK

Look 3: Talisman cocktail earrings in white gold, Talisman cocktail ring in white gold, both DE BEERS, Veil, jacket, skirt SIMONE ROCHA

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Look 5: Bezel Set necklace and clip in white gold, Top: The Alchemist of Light by De Beers Midnight Aura cocktail ring, Bottom: The Alchemist of Light by De Beers Midnight Aura open ring, all DE BEERS, Dress SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO

Look 6: DB Classic eternity line round brilliant diamond necklace, DB Classic five-line band in white gold, Top: DB Classic eternity line round brilliant diamond bracelet, Bottom: Arpeggia one line bracelet in white gold, all DE BEERS, Bodystocking MISCREANTS