In an interview with Glamour, Rogue One actress Felicity Erso talked about playing Jyn Erso, her feminism, and pay equality in Hollywood.
Felicity Jones is a true Star Wars heroine.
Jones’s Rogue One character, Jyn Erso, is not the only one who kicks ass. Both Jones and Jyn are trailblazers in female representation. In an interview with Glamour, Jones talked about the female leader of the otherwise all-male Rogue One team; how feminism contributes to Star Wars; and her thoughts on the gender pay gap in Hollywood, which ties into the strength of Jyn’s character.
Jyn is different from any other female heroine we have seen in a Star Wars movie (re: Padme, Leia, and Rey). Her uniqueness is in the fact that certain traits audiences associate with male characters – aggression, rashness – are Jyn’s primary descriptors.
Jones implied at this unorthodoxy was intentional.
"GLAMOUR: …Jyn is… reckless, aggressive, and undisciplined. Those are traits we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in male heroes, but they aren’t traits we usually get to see in our female heroes.FJ: She’s a bit of a wounded animal when you meet her. There were moments when she’s been blown over, she’s scrambling to get up, and she falls. It’s important that she’s not perfect. [The director] Gareth [Edwards] and I, we want to see her being a human being."
Going a step further, Glamour and Jones compared Jyn with Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.
"GLAMOUR: You could describe Han Solo using those same words.FJ: She’s obviously completely her own woman, but I felt like [she] was a rather beautiful blend of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo—and that came up in discussions around designing the costume."
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Jyn’s strength is one of the reasons Jones auditioned for the role.
"FJ: My agent called me up and said, “There is a tremendous female lead in the new Star Wars film, and I think you’re really going to like it.” The opportunity to play someone determined, who’s trying to find her skills as a leader; to be in a fantasy movie; to be able to do a leading female role in a film of that scale—that’s very, very rare."
Another trailblazer aspect of Jyn’s character is she is not sexualized in any way. In fact, she dresses modestly, especially when compared with Leia’s slave bikini in Return of the Jedi or Padme’s evening gown in Attack of the Clones.
Jones says lack of visual sex appeal was also intentional.
"FJ: Everyone wanted to create a character that was not in any way objectified. We didn’t want to sexualize Jyn."
Together, Jyn’s strong personality and lack of sexualization make a character with ties to feminist values.
"FJ: I’ve always been a feminist, and what I love in my work is being able to explore a full-sided woman and not patronize her. Particularly with Jyn, it’s such a rare opportunity to be able to play a female who’s not just thinking about [romantic] relationships."
Jones doesn’t want patronisation in real life, either. When Glamour asked her for her thoughts on stars like Jennifer Lawrence’s stand for equal pay for women in Hollywood, Jones’s answer was probably similar to what Jyn would have said.
"FJ: …I want to be paid fairly for the work that I’m doing. That’s what every single woman around the world wants… And I think it’s important to talk about it."
Regarding their personalities, Jones and Jyn are close, as both are tough, thoughtful women. By imbuing her character with her real-life values of independence and equality for women, Jones helped create a character who is authentic. And because of her authenticity, Jyn feels right at home with the rest of the Star Wars heroines. From now on, female Star Wars fans know there is a place for every kind of girl in the galaxy far, far away, from a snarky princess, to a diplomatic senator, to a gun-toting rebel who is just as capable of kicking a stormtrooper’s butt as any of her male comrades. She can even be better at it.
Read Felicity Jones’s full interview with Glamour here.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premieres in theaters in the U.S. on December 16th.