No one felt the pressure to top Star Wars: The Force Awakens more than Daisy Ridley.
The actress reprises her role as Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (in theaters Dec. 15), and making the sequel proved to be more difficult than the rebooting the franchise. "I didn't think I was good in the first film," she insists in ELLE U.K.'s December issue, "and I was struggling with that."
(Some history: J.J. Abrams called her performance "wooden" on the first day of filming. "I honestly wanted to die," Ridley told Glamour. "I thought I was gonna cry. I couldn't breathe.")
But the 25-year-old actress, much like her character, isn't one to shy away from a challenge. Ridley spends much of the next chapter acting opposite franchise veteran Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), whereas in the first movie, most of her scenes were with fellow newcomer John Boyega (Finn). In The Last Jedi, Ridley says, "It's not this big adventure that I'm on with John. I was thinking I did the first one because I didn't really know what I was getting myself into and I was having loads of fun, and suddenly I'm realizing what this actually is, and I can't f--king do this. I'm highly dramatic, so it's all, 'Oh, my God!'…Finally, I was like 'Oh, yeah. This is working.'"
Having someone like the late Carrie Fisher to turn to for advice boosted Ridley's confidence; it was Fisher who told her to not shrink away from success, but to enjoy it. "That was wonderful," the actress admits. "At work, you're normal. You're not the anomaly, unlike in other situations."
Abrams warned Ridley about feeling like the "anomaly" before she signed on for the role of a lifetime. "Understand the scale. This is not a role in a movie. This is a religion for people. It changes things on a level that is inconceivable," Ridley recalled him saying in the November issue of Vogue. But, until it happens, she admitted, "You don't know what you're getting into."
Read the full interview with Ridley in the December issue of ELLE U.K., on sale Nov. 14.