Rogue One’s Princess Leia stand-in reveals how it felt to play Carrie Fisher: “You could never replace her”
Actress Ingvild Deila played the key character with the help of CGI in the Star Wars prequel
Star Wars prequel/spin-off Rogue One attracted a lot of attention for bringing Peter Cushing back to cinema screens, with some dazzling special effects and Holby City’s Guy Henry recreating the Grand Moff Tarkin actor decades after his death.
However, much less has been said of the film’s other big CGI recreation – Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia, who was played by actress Ingvild Deila (augmented by CGI to look like Fisher) in a scene at the end of the film that became all the more poignant after Fisher’s shock death a few weeks later.
And now, Deila has revealed exactly how it felt to bring the younger version of Leia back to cinemagoers, as well as how she got involved in the first place.
"It was a very secretive, non-descript studio feature casting call,” Deila told YouTuber Jamie Stangroom (see full interview below). “The measurements were quite precise. I had to do a self tape where I talked about anything for three minutes... I had no idea what they were looking for.”
However, soon all became clear – and Deila couldn’t believe her luck.
"I realised what was actually happening because I was sent two scenes from a New Hope, when Leia meets Vader for the first time, and the hologram monologue,' she said.
“I was like ‘oh my god is this happening?’ Those buns are big... I had the hairy buns. And I had plenty of dots all over my face... like an exotic fish. I looked very strange."
Deila had a weekend to study the scenes before shooting and then had to keep her involvement secret for 18 months – but apparently, it was all worth it in the end.
“I was just thrilled they were going to see how far they could push the effects and CGI,” she said.
Of course, Fisher’s death just a week or so after Rogue One’s release added a bittersweet air to Deila’s experience on the movie, even though she’d heard that the older star was pleased by her portrayal.
"I didn't know how she felt about it until I read something about [Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy saying that Carrie Fisher enjoyed it,” she recalled. “It was a huge relief.”
Asked whether she would have taken the role if it was offered after Fisher’s death, she added: “It would have been more difficult to say yes.
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in the original 1977 Star Wars
“Also it depends whether she'd been informed... If she was against it then I don't know if I would have said yes. But if she was fine with it, maybe yeah. It's hard to know... It would have been way more complicated.
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“I was just thinking: What if it was me? How would I feel? If they had to pay my living relatives or something, or forced to share the money, then yeah... I mean I'm dead, I don't care. We just need to establish a system where we do it right by their relatives or what they agreed on."
Still, she conceded that if asked she might play Leia again – because in the end, it was too big an honour to pass up.
“I would be lying if I said no,” she admitted. “It would be great.
“Really scary at the same time because she’s such an iconic character and I really, really respect and admire Carrie Fisher and who she was. There would be two very big shoes to fill, you could never replace her.”
We’re sure that many fans around the world would feel the same.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released in UK cinemas on 15th December