‘She is an amazing and very inspiring person’: Daisy Ridley’s family celebrate her leading role in the new Star Wars movie
Published: 10:14 GMT, 1 May 2014 | Updated: 14:52 GMT, 1 May 2014
Just a few months ago she was still taking bit-part roles as a jobbing actress.
But 21-year-old Daisy Ridley is now set to become a Hollywood star after being plucked from obscurity to land one of the most coveted roles in film history.
The British actress, who appeared in a cameo role during an episode of Casualty last year, will now appear on the big screen alongside Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher is the eagerly awaiting new Star Wars film, Star Wars: Episode VII.
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A star is born: The father of Daisy Ridley has been praising his daughter who will be in the new Star Wars reboot
News of the film’s casting, which was announced on Tuesday on the official Star Wars website, has been greeted with near hysteria by fans of the cult sci-fi series.
And within a matter of hours Miss Ridley had become the talk of the internet, given that she is a virtual unknown.
It has been speculated that the young star will play the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia after the release of an official cast photograph showed her sat between Ford, 71, and Fisher, 57, during what appeared to be a read-through of the script.
Miss Ridley is a graduate of the £30,000-a-year Tring Park Theatre School in Hertfordshire, whose past alumni includes Downton Abbey actresses Jessica Brown Findlay and Lily James.
Raising suspicion: Daisy was seated in-between Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher at a cast meeting at Pine Studios sparking rumours she is set to star as Princess Leia and Han Solo’s daughter
Her sister Kika-Rose, 24, is a model with top agency Models 1. Eldest sister Poppy Sophia, 27, is an aspiring musician. The family home is a five bedroom mews house in one of the most exclusive parts of central London and her great-grandfather, William Victor Fawkner-Corbett, was a colonel in the First World War.
She left Tring Park in 2010, and has since landed a handful of small roles in programmes including Silent Witness and ITV period drama Mr Selfridge.
Miriam Juviler from Tring Park School said yesterday: ‘Daisy was here for five years and left in 2010. She actually specialised in musical theatre. Everybody here is delighted for her. She is a hard-working, bright young girl and very talented.
Newcomer: Virtual unknown Daisy Ridley has been cast as the female lead for Star Wars VII
‘There are always a few students who have a bit of an extra spark in them. She was very much star material when she was here. The last production she did with us was a production of The Boy Friend (corr) in which she played one of the lead female roles of Nancy.
Her father, Christopher, 73, last night spoke of his delight at hearing his daughter had been chosen to star in the £120m blockbuster, which is due to be released in December next year.
He told the Daily Mail: ‘I’m very proud of her and very glad for her. There is no doubt she will be able to handle it. Emotionally she is very focused. She is an amazing and very inspiring person.
‘She had taken odd roles in things like Casualty and a few other TV show and I’ve always thought she was fantastic in front of a movie camera.
‘Like most parents, you take your children through the violin and gymnastic lessons when they are young. But she always seemed to have a real ability when it came to acting. She can hold a tune very well too.
Playing for the teens: Ridley’s age is unknown but her onscreen age range is listed for 16-20, pictured in 2013’s Casualty
‘If she hadn’t chosen acting, there would have been something else that she could have done. She is very talented. She is one of five sisters and they are all talented in their own ways.’
Her mother Louise, 58, has a senior role at Barclays Bank.
After the announcement was made, Miss Ridley tweeted: ‘Overwhelmed by all the support. This is the greatest day of my life. I’m told I can’t say who I’m playing yet, but it’s exciting!’
Fans immediately flooded the internet, with many wanting to discuss the Miss Ridley’s appointment.
Many thought that 12 Years a Slave actress Lupita Nyong’o was going to become the next Star Wars leading lady, with speculation that she was reading for the role last month.
Miss Ridley is being represented by London-based agent Jonathan Arun. His official website says the actress’ ‘playing age’ is 16 to 20, while she is also proficient in Cockney, Dublin, London, Northern accent and Received Pronunciation.
Miss Ridley is dating public school-educated actor Charles Hamblett.