Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker behind the scenes: Naomi Ackie reveals GRUELLING training

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker flies into cinemas on December 19, ending a long wait for fans. There is a group of new actors appearing, including Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell and Naomi Ackie. One of these stars opened up on what it is like to film and take part in all the preparations.

Naomi Ackie, in a conversation with the Evening Standard magazine, revealed some of the gruelling aspects of taking part in a Star Wars movie.

She said: “I’ve always been down on myself for being a little bit more curvy and a little bit stronger.

“But what I found with the practical [training] and gym stuff that they had me doing was that it really helped me focus on my body in terms of what it could do rather than what it looked like.

“By the end of it, I felt so capable.

“Dude, I was able to do pull-ups with my own body!”

Clearly, pull-ups will be necessary, as Ackie is set to play Jannah, an ally to the Resistance.

For her, being a member of a diverse cast was incredibly important, as well as her getting the chance to be a prominent black female character in a huge franchise.

She said: “I’ve had messages from people thanking me for wearing my natural hair on Star Wars because their little girls, who have been down on their natural hair, are feeling great after seeing me…

“If I was 20 years old and had what I have now, I would not be able to handle it, and would have gone into my own shell.

“Everything happens in its own time. This is the opportunity to work and build a life for myself that I’ve always kind of seen in my head.

“So I’m just really looking to embrace it.”

She struggled in her early years with stereotyping, as well as coming up against some really difficult challenges in her career at the start.

When Ackie secured a place at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, a friend told her: “You know you only got in because you’re black.”


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However, Ackie said: “Yeah, she wasn’t my friend for much longer. But that’s what you’re up against.

“I grew up in a time when my advances in this business have constantly been questioned by people who are threatened by me.”

Luckily for Ackie and the rest of the cast, their hard work in the preparation was rewarded in a very lavish wrap party.

Ackie said of the party: “There were three floors, Jamie Oliver was cooking in a pop-up restaurant, there were these grassy knolls with hummus in the middle of them, and edible bubbles of champagne being blown into the air.

“It was so good. I felt like everyone left before us, but me and my best friend were like, ‘We’re not going anywhere until they kick us out.’”

Of course fans will be celebrating as well once the get to see the final movie in the Skywalker saga.

The full interview appears in this week’s issue of ES Magazine, on December 12.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out in cinemas on December 19

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