Miller Mobley/The Hollywood Reporter
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story requiring reshoots is NBD.
Over the summer, multiple reports suggested the blockbuster was in major trouble ahead of its Dec. 16 release date. Reps for Disney and Lucasfilm publicly denied the claims, which had sent fans into a frenzy. Looking back at the controversy, Felicity Jones—who plays Rebel Alliance recruit Jyn Erso in the series' first standalone film—insists that the constant speculation about the reshoots was misleading. "Obviously when you come to the edit, you see the film come together and you think, 'Actually, we could do this better, and this would make more sense if we did this.' I've done it so many times," Jones says in The Hollywood Reporter's Oct. 21 issue, on newsstands Friday. "I mean, you wouldn't just give your first draft on this story, would you?"
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy was never concerned. "I'm sure if you picked up the phone and called every single large, technical movie and said, 'You ever gone in and done reshoots?' they'd all say, 'Oh God, yes. So why has it turned into a big story? Because it's Star Wars, and they put a spotlight and scrutinize every single thing that gets done," she says. "But it was always planned and nothing unusual."
(Kennedy's latest comments echo those made by the movie's director, Gareth Edwards, who assured Entertainment Weekly in July, "It was always part of the plan to do reshoots. We always knew we were coming back somewhere to do stuff. We just didn't know what it would be until we started sculpting the film in the edit.")
Of course, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was making headlines long before any the reshoots ever happened—like when Jones was cast in the leading role. The Oscar-nominated actress beat out Rooney Mara, Tatiana Maslany and others after impressing Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. "Alan was incredibly excited by Felicity's work and loved her as an actress," Kennedy recalls. "She's relatively petite, but you would never know it. I mean, she comes off very strong and physical and capable, and all of those things were the qualities that we were looking for."
Jones can thank Florence + the Machine's Florence Welch for that. Before filming began, she spent hours studying music videos and was particularly taken by the singer. "So much of Jyn is movement. It became a very important part of finding her," the actress, 32, tells The Hollywood Reporter. "She walks almost a bit like a caged animal. Her fight sequences become like dances."
The release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will cap off a banner year for Jones, who also starred in Collide, A Monster Calls and Inferno (opposite Tom Hanks). "It was nonstop," the actress admits. "But I always think when things are going well, you've got to roll with it and take those opportunities. Because you never quite know where the next one is going to take you."