Daisy Ridley’s lifeless body is shown several times in her new film “Sometimes I Think About Dying,” and no one is more perplexed than her mother.
The British actress plays a quiet office worker whose daydreams feature creepy crawlies, snakes, and sometimes her prone body lying corpse-like in the dramedy, which premiered Thursday at the Sundance Film Festival. “The main thing was like, ‘Oh, my God, how long can I keep my eyes open and not shiver?'” while filming in chilly Oregon weather. Ridley states. “It’s obviously quite haunting and when my mom watched the film, she was very emotional about it. I think seeing one’s loved ones in that light onscreen is very strange.”
However, Ridley adds that her character Fran does not want to die and finds a reason to live when she meets a new coworker. Instead, her freaky fantasies are “just a meditative being in a place she escapes to and she’s desperately trying to live. As a result, it is not painful. Aside from trying to stay warm, I found it to be peaceful in a way.”
The 30-year-old “Star Wars” alum is also a producer on “Dying,” as well as the upcoming “fun, twisty and turny” psychological thriller “Magpie.” Ridley developed the story for the film, which is about a mother of a child star who is tested to her limits when an actress infiltrates her family, and her husband/co-producer Tom Bateman wrote the screenplay. It’s “really the first time I’ve truly been on the ground from the start,” she says.
Have you ever dealt with any of Fran’s social issues?
Answer: I don’t have the depths of despair that Fran does, but I know what it’s like to be uncomfortable in social situations. Or say something and think to yourself, “What the hell? I didn’t mean it that way. It came out wrong,” and I lie in bed, worried that other people will think I was malicious.
I’m a true introvert, which may not appear to be the case, but being around people exhausts me unless I’m at ease. I believe COVID accomplished this for a large number of people. I remember panicking as I went out to dinner shortly after the lockdown ended. I simply assumed I had nothing to say. I’d been sitting on my sofa for eight months, thinking things like, “I don’t know how to be social.”
Are you back to your pre-pandemic social life, say, when “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was released in late 2019?
It’s interesting because I was only going out for work at the time, and then I didn’t see anyone in January. In general, I wasn’t doing anything less than I normally would. Everyone felt the same sense of global incapacity and despair. So much of my identity had been formed at work, and being around people who share in the process of creating something together is a huge social thing for me. It’s great to have that social outlet back, but I’m not going out much else. I’m like a grandmother. I’m not even kidding when I say I have a crossword puzzle book called “Grandma’s Book of Puzzles.” (Laughs.)
Was “Magpie” your and your husband’s pandemic project?
He has written a number of things and is an excellent writer. He enjoys watching movies. The way he sees story, structure, and everything else is incredible. I’m hoping that people will be interested in what we’re making.
Fran is not a moviegoer, to be sure. So, how about you? Is it true that being around a cinephile makes you one?
It certainly does. Growing up, I wasn’t a big movie fan. I was always the person who said, “I need to sit down and concentrate really hard to watch a movie.” My movie knowledge is improving. It’s still embarrassing, but I’ve finally seen “The Godfather.” “Lord of the Rings” was a must-see; I adored those films. I haven’t seen “Indiana Jones” yet. I’m working my way through the good ones. There’s just so much good stuff to watch right now, but I’ll be working my way down the list over time.