Rogue One was always designed as a movie that leads directly into the original Star Wars trilogy, so it’s appropriate that it ends with Princess Leia. The young princess receives the Death Star plans stolen by the film’s central characters, intones a message of hope, then takes off to begin the plot of Star Wars IV: A New Hope. To recreate young Leia, the filmmakers digitally replicated Carrie Fisher’s face on the body and performance of Norwegian actress Ingvild Deila. And after keeping mum about the role for months, Deila just gave her first interview with U.K. YouTuber/Star Wars fan Jamie Stangroom.
Deila begins by talking about her strange audition process. The initial, nondescript studio-feature audition simply requested actresses who fit a specific set of measurements record a three-minute video in which they talked about literally anything. Deila only began to realize what she was auditioning for during the second round of auditions, when she was given two scenes from A New Hope (the confrontation with Darth Vader and the hologram monologue). For that audition, the production dressed her in full Leia costume and had her audition alongside actors going out for Vader’s physical performance (that role was eventually played by Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous). Deila notes that, in the end, it was more important that she have a profile like Fisher’s than look exactly like her, since her face was being digitally replaced.
Deila comes across as both likable and thoughtful throughout the seven-minute interview. She acknowledges the strangeness of being asked to digitally recreate someone else’s performance, although she says she felt relief when Fisher gave the concept her blessing (Fisher died shortly after the film’s release). And she notes that as these sorts of mo-cap recreation performances become more and more common—particularly for deceased actors who can’t give their blessings—there should be a protocol in place to make sure the families are comfortable with the idea and compensated for the performance. Also she would definitely be down for playing young Leia in a solo spin-off movie if/when that opportunity rolls around.