I had the opportunity to interview several cast members during the #RogueOneEvent in San Francisco last weekend. Today I am sharing some facts about Jyn Erso from my exclusive interview with Felicity Jones. Rogue One is really an ensemble cast but if you had to pick one lead character then it would definitely be Jyn.
Jyn Hates The Empire
Jyn has a very strong ideology. She hates the empire, she hates everything they stand for, they have destroyed her family. So anytime she sees a storm trooper she is like an animal who wants to take them down.
During our extended screening of scenes of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I learned exactly why Jyn hates the empire so much. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so I won’t share the details but can confirm she has a very good reason to hate the empire.
Felicity trained a lot for the role of Jyn
It was sort of going from, I’ve never done any of this stuff before so it was just learning everything from the very beginning and just working very closely with the stunt team who took me through these sort of acrobatic moves that Jyn would have to perform eventually in the film, so it was just a lot, a lot of practice and a lot of practice.
She did have a little previous martial arts training, she took Judo in high school.
Now, I look back and that’s kind of a weird thing to be doing at ten years old but yeah I did a little bit of judo when I was younger and I absolutely loved it. So, I definitely enjoyed that side of it but there were a lot of early mornings of kind of half asleep, running around the set and, and everyone is permanently in sweatpants when you’re in Star Wars. Kind of like, ‘oh you’re in it too, oh yeah.’
Felicity’s injuries on Set
Yeah. I always feel like I should keep my mouth shut about the injuries, with sort of health and safety for Disney. But, no, I’m going to reveal what happened. Yeah, there’s a lot, you don’t realize because the adrenaline is pumping so much and then you get home and you’re just literally to have bruises, enormous bruises all over. But I in a way sort of probably bring it upon myself ’cause I get really into it and take it very seriously. And I like to do as much as possible you know. It’s nice I think when you can see the actor actually doing as much of the stunt. And the stunt team likes that as well. So that it feels believable.
Does Jyn have a love interest?
I’m saying nothing. There may be something.
Felicity was a bit thrown off by this question and there was a lot of laughter the room. So I think it could go either way. I can’t wait to see what happens!
Jyn’s Costume Evolution from Miltary to Japanese Inspired
Throughout everything, it was very, very collaborative. Originally the costume, the first suggestions were sort of this combat style, combat trousers and a kind of flack vest. And I tried that and it didn’t feel quite right and it didn’t feel Star Wars enough and so we had a quite a lot of discussions about bringing in more of this Japanese style that you see in those early films with OB Wan Kenobi. And that martial arts type clothing that they wear. And to bring out that side of Jyn, to bring something a little bit more spiritual into her characterization through the costume. But, every step of the way it was a very, very open dialogue in terms of for all of us to bring, bring as much as we wanted to the characters.
There are multiple versions of the Jyn’s costume
A lot of time you’re doing quite a lot of wirework so you have a harness that you’re wearing. So, you always have another version of your costume and it’s amazing, literally, there’s the stunt version and then you have the walking version and the sitting version. You know, exactly the same costume, you end up having all these different types that you’re wearing depending on what’s needed.
What Star Wars Means to Felicity
Star Wars, I feel the reason it’s lasted for so long, is it’s about family and it’s not just blood relations it’s all family, the family that you form with friends. And friendships I think what’s so special about it is those friendships are across different races, different languages but it’s people who come together and they’re obviously united by fighting the forces of evil. And I think that’s what people, generations and generations tap into those relationships and really empathize with those characters.
What Felicity will take from Rogue One
The thing that I would take from this that’s obviously, it’s an incredible thing to be part of but the thing that I actually love are the friendships. And I really with the cast I absolutely love all of them and everyone is very different and we all have our quirks and our ways but there is a real spirit of collaboration. And I never felt like there were any huge egos, it felt like everyone was in it together and there was real support.
From working with a group of men you could think that they would be sort of trying to cut you down or sort of compete but I was very lucky, they were very supportive throughout everything. I felt like we’ve all built a team off-set as well as when we were on and we were working.
From our interviews with the rest of the cast, I can say they did truly support Felicity on set. She was a leader and always focused. They talked about how awesome she was and how much they admired her work on set.
It takes a lot of time to get everyone to focus. There’s a lot of joking and there’s so many people and banter. And you know, often the first AD (assistant director) who has to bring everything together would be like, ‘okay, come on everyone.’ You know, you start being treated like children as they’re trying to get us onto set and get everyone to do what they’re told. But that comes from those real genuine friendships between everyone.
Jyn is no damsel in distress
I just wanted the audience to just really care about her and empathize with her and be in it alongside her. And she’s very resourceful and it was very clear to Gareth and I, we’re both from the same page about this. We didn’t want her to keep being saved. You know, sometimes in films the, the female character is often the one who’s sort of in distress and then the male character comes and gets her out of it. And so we were very clear about just making sure that she could survive on her own. And she’s capable but also at the same time, they do need each other, there is a team and a part of what makes someone strong is being able to work in a team. And to rely on other people so it was trying to get that balance.
Jyn is Resourceful not a Princess
Well, what I like about her is she’s not a princess, she’s not really rich, she’s not privileged you know, that’s what we’re used to seeing in these sort of leading Disney roles. She’s very much an ordinary woman and ordinary girl who’s had to make the best of things and I think what I would like young girls to take from it is resourcefulness and self reliance. Jyn isn’t always sweetness and light and giggles, she is exactly who she wants to be. And I think that’s what’s important that young girls don’t feel like they have to conform to some idea of what a girl should be. It’s like you can be whoever you want, whatever you are and take confidence in that and there isn’t a standard that we should all be working towards.
Felicity’s Favorite Star Wars Character
I’ve always like Han Solo. Just because Harrison Ford is really hot. Or was really hot. Come on. No, he’s still got it, he’s still got it.
Harrison Ford is getting up there in age but he is definitely one of my favorite characters too. On that note, I think Kylo Ren is my least favorite. :-/
Jyn Turning To The Dark Side
No way. No, she’s on the good side all the way. All the way.
Felicity was a pleasure to speak with and I can’t wait to see how Jyn’s adventure and mission unfold in Rogue One!
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on December 16th!
Disney hosted me during the #RogueOneEvent press event. As always, all opinions, and experiences are my own.