Like so many of us, when the pandemic stuck, Daisy Ridley found herself WFH, but that didn't stop The Star Wars lead. Instead, she threw herself into the world of audio, voicing video games, recording a one-woman play written by Ridley Road's Tracy Ann-Oberman and playing the lead in Islanders, an Audible series.
Now, she's back in your ears again, starring in Zoetrope, a new Jed Mercurio produced thriller about a British expat who finds her boss dead on her bathroom floor in the first episode. Intrigued? We caught up with Daisy to talk about the spooky podcast, learning about women in labour and life after Star Wars...
Hi Daisy! Tell us about Zoetrope, what appealed to you about the story?
I tend to get sent lots of serious things, Zoetrope has a dark undertone to it, but it’s also funny and sort of ridiculous! It was great to read something like that. I think it feels really right for an audio space; so much of the story takes place over the phone or the intercom, so there's a real intimacy to it.
It was such a nice process. It was great to do something in my own voice (my weird estuary accent!) and we managed to do it in an amazing way. One of the days we were recording over three different time zones. I was in Toronto, Claire and Andy were in London and someone else was in Hong Kong; it felt amazingly international, which strangely reflected the story.
You play Tamsin, a British expat in Singapore who finds herself suspected of murder. What did you love about playing her?
Tamsin is the sum of so many different things. She's an outsider in a city that she's just moved to. She’s an English speaker in a place where English isn't the first spoken language. So the situation already feels slightly discordant for her, as it does when you move to a new place. Then the situation becomes insane. It’s so tense, you never lose that tension, but I love her humour; she's cracking jokes while all this other bad stuff is going on. Tamsin is complicated and hard to pigeon hole. I love how she reveals different things to different people, she keeps a lot to herself, which is what we all do as humans, to some degree.
Do you think audio stories are going to become massive in the same way that podcasts have really explored over the last five years?
In a way, radio and audio have always been a huge medium. My mum has always listened to the radio in a way that I never have unless I'm driving, but this does feel quite different. I think now audio is so much more accessible, both to listen to and to make. While I was in quarantine, I could be sent some equipment, put it up in my apartment and record something that sounds professional, as if I was in a studio. And it’s a brilliant medium; people have all sorts of busy lives and are constantly moving around, but audio stories can be such a comfort if you're on the tube. You might be too tired to read but you can still escape into another world.
Your final Star Wars came out in 2019, was it weird saying goodbye to the franchise you’d been part of for such a long time?
My god I was so sad. I spent a lot of time crying, I really felt like I was grieving something. They were my people for so many years! John [Boyega] and I met when we were both twenty-one, we were so young. We started this thing together in our early twenties and now I’m twenty-nine. But we all keep in touch, even though John is the busiest man in the world.I went for breakfast with Kathy Kennedy the other day which was so nice. Jodie [Comer] and I text all the time. It was such a wonderful experience.
We read that you did a Doula course over lockdown, how did that come about?
I did the course because a really good friend of mine got pregnant a few years ago, and I just found the whole thing so beautiful. We did the course together, it’s run by a woman called Nicola Goodall who is just so powerful and amazing. She’s helped so many women in their birth process. Even over Zoom, it was a wonderful group to be part of. I’ve never helped a woman in labour but I would like to be part of a moment like that. You realise women are made to fear absolutely everything and a lot of the stuff that people worry about is absolute bollocks. It can become more about what the doctor wants as opposed to the woman, but we should be honoring how people want to give birth, and that shouldn’t be governed by fear, it should be governed by informed consent.