While he was putting together the cast for The Force Awakens and looking for the next generation of stars, director JJ Abrams had a brainwave. What if Rey was actually played by Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd?
In the end, it didn’t happen. But appearing on The Ellen Show in the US, Lourd revealed things could have been very different.
“JJ Abrams called me to come in for Star Wars because he couldn’t find someone for the lead,” she told Ellen DeGeneres. “He ended up finding Daisy Ridley who is an incredible actress, so talented.”
Even though she missed out on the part of Rey, which went to British actress Ridley, Lourd still got to appear in the movie alongside her mum as Princess Leia. She made a brief appearance as young resistance fighter Lieutenant Connix.
“I went in – and he ended up giving me this tiny role with a couple lines and I was super excited,” Lourd explained. ” I didn’t know what was going to happen, ended up going and fell in love with it — I was weirdly singing Jersey Boys on set, really comfortable.”
After watching her daughter on the set of The Force Awakens, Carrie Fisher became convinced she should follow in the family tradition and pursue acting more seriously.
“I came home and my mom said, ‘You know, 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,'” Lourd recalled.
Since that Star Wars appearance in 2015, Lourd has thrown herself into acting – starring in Scream Queens and American Horror Story. She follows in the footsteps of her late mother and also her grandmother, Singin’ in the Rain actress Debbie Reynolds.
Lourd now looks back on her role in The Force Awakens as an amazing experience with her mum, who died in December.
“It was incredible,” she told DeGeneres. “I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason and I think I ended up in that movie for a reason. It was really incredible for us to have that experience together.”