Billie Lourd is grateful to have shared screen time with her late mother Carrie Fisher.
The 25-year-old actress made her feature film debut in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, playing Lt. Kaydel Ko Connix alongside Fisher's General Leia Organa. When Lourd stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday, she spoke about working with her mom in that movie and its upcoming sequel, Star Wars: The Last Jedi (in theaters Dec. 15). "It was incredible. I'm a big believer in things happening for a reason, and I think I ended up in that movie for a reason," she told Ellen DeGeneres. "It was really incredible for us to get to have that experience together."
Lourd lost her mother and grandmother Debbie Reynolds within days of each other in late 2016. As she makes her own mark on the world, the actress said, "I've got a lot of goddesses!"
Understandably, Lourd is still grieving their deaths. "It's completely surreal. There's no way to really explain it. It's so hard to talk about. I don't know. If I say that I'm doing good, then I'm too happy. If I say that I'm not doing good, then I'm a mess. So, it's really hard to know what to say about it," she told the talk show host, "because it's just so surreal and impossible to deal with."
In addition to her illustrious film career, Reynolds was also a popular actress—and she would often put Fisher in her act. Might Lourd continue her family's legacy through song? "I'm acting, but I love music, too," the American Horror Story: Cult star said. "Someday I'll hopefully develop the cajones—is that the appropriate word to say on Ellen? I know I can't use the other word. If I develop the cajones to do music, I will someday. For now, I'm really digging this acting thing."
Based on their own experiences in the industry, neither of Lourd's parents were too keen on their daughter getting into show business. But everything changed after Lourd received a single phone call. "J.J. Abrams called me to come in for Star Wars because he couldn't find someone for the lead. He ended up finding Daisy Ridley, who's an incredible actress—so talented! But I went in and he ended up giving me this tiny role with a couple lines," she said. "I was super excited. I didn't know what was going to happen and ended up going and fell in love with it. I was weirdly singing Jersey Boys on set and really comfortable. I came home and my mom said, 'This is really weird that you're comfortable here; this is one of the most uncomfortable environments in the world. If you're comfortable here, you should do this...You should act.'"
Not long after that, Lourd found herself at dinner with a longtime family friend: Emmy-winning TV series creator Ryan Murphy. "I told him I was acting and he was like, 'Oh! I didn't know you were acting! You should come read for me for Scream Queens.' I came in and read and was laughing out loud, which I never do because I'm a huge cynic—kind of an A-hole. Sorry! Again, inappropriate," she said. "I was in New Orleans a week later playing Chanel No. 3. It's so crazy."