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Daisy Ridley Found Her Character in ‘Sometimes I Think About Dying’ Through the American Accent (Video)

Sundance 2023: Ridley worked alongside director Rachel Lambert to craft a character she saw as a quiet girl in a loud world

Any actor will tell you, finding a character’s literal voice is a challenge in itself. British actress Daisy Ridley has utilized her natural accent in the land of “Star Wars” as well as the adaptation of “Murder on the Orient Express,” but in her latest feature, “Sometimes I Think About Dying” which debuted at Sundance on Friday, this was an opportunity to craft a different voice.

Ridley plays Fran, a quiet office worker who discovers a new lease on life when she makes a fellow coworker laugh. The moment sparks something between the pair, if Fran can get out of her own way. The character presented a variety of challenges for Ridley, who stopped by TheWrap’s Portrait and Video Studio at The Music Lodge alongside costars Parvesh Cheena, Dave Merheje and Brittany O’Grady to discuss the film.

Ridley explained how the last three projects she’s worked on have involved an American accent, and in the case of “Sometimes I Think About Dying” a lot of what she worked on wasn’t used. “I was doing accent work on the voice-over, which I treated as stage directions,” Ridley said of the voice-over that was eventually scrapped. With the work of her long-term dialect coach, Ridley said she was able to approach the process in a way that was different than working with her own British accent.

Outside of that, Ridley worked closely with director Rachel Lambert to craft an elevated backstory for her character. “We had different opinions about even Fran’s home life,” said Ridley. “I imagined that she comes from a loud house. She was an odd child, but her parents were loud and she doesn’t have a chance to speak.”

This was at odds with how Lambert saw the character. “Rachel was like, ‘interesting.’ I really feel like she comes from a quiet place,” said Ridley. The finished film, interestingly enough, utilizes Lambert’s interpretation of the character.

“It was so there on the page and there in the setting that it felt very natural,” said Ridley. “I just sympathized with her so much that it felt strangely close to me even though I’ve never been that far in isolation.” The movie’s exploration of communication, and how Lambert envisioned bridging that gap, stuck with Ridley.

“Sometimes we all struggle to connect,” she said.

TheWrap’s Portrait and Video Studio at The Music Lodge during the 2023 Sundance Film Festival is sponsored by NFP along with support from Sylvania and HigherDOSE