Who is Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo? In this Laura Dern Interview for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we discuss the new girl in town, that independent film feeling, tears on-set and what’s up with the purple hair. This post is sponsored by Disney. All nerdy Star Wars opinions are my own. #TheLastJediEvent
Laura Dern Interview Star Wars: The Last Jedi | How Holdo’s Purple Hair is Changing a Galaxy
Interview Photo Credits: Louise Bishop of MomStart.com
Did someone say a fashionable Star Wars character? Laura Dern knows a thing or two on balancing empowering and feminine character traits as a leading actress in her field. From fighting dinosaurs to now fighting The First Order, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, will most likely surprise many Star Wars fans (or at least her hair will). But does this new Rebellion leader fit into the Star Wars galaxy that we know and love? In this exclusive Laura Dern interview we talk about working with Rian Johnson, a fashion-forward universe and changing our perspective on strong female Star Wars characters.
Who is Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo?
There are those already comparing this new character to the iconic Princess Leia. But who exactly is Vice Admiral Holdo? Redefining femininity for the future of Star Wars came with a lot of planning and discussions with director Rian Johnson. Using their backgrounds in Independent Film, they created the perfect balance of empowering, strong and feminine – something that perhaps has been missing since Princess Leia. But still, Laura Dern was pretty hush-hush about the details.
There’s a new boss in town. I have arrived in the Resistance and I am a Vice Admiral, and that’s pretty much all I can tell you. [LAUGHS]
I can tell you how amazing it was to be inside Rian’s head. It was incredible to have the privilege of collaborating on who [Holdo] is and how to present a powerful woman. And the longing which I really appreciated of Rian, Kathy Kennedy and all of our Producers, to allow [her to be] a powerful female character [but] to also, her physicality to be feminine, as opposed, to ‘She’s a strong female. Let’s put her in the guys’ clothes.’ I thought that was wonderful. I feel excited to join this amazing legacy of strong females in space starting with our magnificent icon of Princess Leia.
Creating a Fashionable Universe
Were you excited to see the newest released photos of Vice Admiral Holdo? Me too. Between the amazing shade of purple hair with just the right bit of wave to the incredible bling on her arms to the cutouts on her dress, I’m already in love with Laura Dern’s character. And I haven’t even seen her in action yet. Laura Dern hints about what’s to come for those that are in love with everything Star Wars fashion and Star Wars beauty. Do we suspect a future merchandising ploy?
My mother’s very excited about the purple hair. She loves the look and the costume. My daughter was like I didn’t know you got jewelry in space. I said yes, Holdo gets jewelry in space and nail coloring in space.
Fashion, hair color, jewelry and nail color? Yes, yes please.
When It Doesn’t Feel Like Star Wars, It’s the Right Feeling
It’s amazing to think that the original Star Wars series began with the creativity and ideas of an Independent Filmmaker named George Lucas. A pioneer of his time, his universe began a trend that withstands time. And Laura Dern is beyond excited to experience that feeling once again, this time with Rian Johnson’s independent film feeling.
So [Rian & I] went to lunch and he started describing something he was looking for in a character and would love for me to help invent this with him. And it all sounded great and it wasn’t until sort of the end of the lunch, [WHISPERS] “It’s in Star Wars.” And I like “Oh my God!” I was listening to this amazing story, and that’s what’s incredible about Star Wars.
He started describing a world that was about the complexity of being a human being and the battle between light and dark, not knowing which would win, and the struggle of family and the hero’s journey. You feel it all and you realize that it is what filmmakers that I’ve worked with in independent film have longed to explore. He described this complicated female character in such a beautiful way also spoke to something that rebel filmmakers have asked of their collaborators, in my case as an actor of me.
And then to realize, My God, that’s what George Lucas invented. That’s why I think this stands the test of time in such a profound way. It’s not a franchise, it’s a legacy of the deepest story telling we have. There isn’t a child or an adult that doesn’t connect to that question, and that it isn’t good guy vs. bad guy. All of it is contained and being wrestled within many characters, within one’s self. Particularly this film, you feel it really in every storyline and every character in a really profound and beautiful way.
We All Have a Star Wars Story, Even Laura Dern
Do we want to play the six degrees of separation game? Being born into a family of actors, Laura Dern’s Star Wars roots go much deeper than just fan-girl level.
The spoiled part is I have been raised by Actors. I’ve been introduced into a world where movie is magical, and my parents are such fans. My mother and my father, they’re rebels and they love hard core independent film. There’s no film that doesn’t hold the potential of being the greatest thing ever.
My dad had done a Douglas Trumbull film called “Silent Running.” I’m told it was a great influence on George Lucas in that it was my dad alone in space with 3 Droids named Huey, Dewey, and Louie. I became obsessed with these Droids. Those Droids, I’m told, were a great influence toward R2D2. And I had a figurine of this Droid. Then suddenly Star Wars opened up this kind of storytelling in this massive way. So it felt personal, as Star Wars does to all of us.
Even the biggest stars have their breaking moments. And Laura Dern fully admits that she needed to allow herself to have that “fan freak-out moment” in order to put herself into the right mindset. Caught off guard, Laura Dern shared the story of the hug that had her bursting into tears on-set.
I think speaking to all of the actors, it’s incredible that we have this true shared experience of needing to have the moment, the fan freak-out moment, to let it all then disappear so you’re just telling the story of these characters. I got my clothes on, having coffee with Oscar Isaac and Benicio del Toro, I’m like ‘I’m on another independent movie with my fellow actors, it doesn’t feel like any other movie I’ve done,’ which is hilarious, with Rian who’s this independent filmmaker. So I’m like are you sure this is Star Wars cause look where we are? What is happening? But then you walk onto set and in the morning, Rian was like “Somebody’s a fan, wants to say hi,” right before we were starting one day. I turned around and Chewbacca was there, embraced me and I cried. I really cried. It was so moving to me. And then being on set and seeing R2D2 and these characters we all fell in love with. It’s stunning.
Then you have to get over it, and go to work.
The Future of Star Wars Heroines
A Hollywood icon and an empowering woman, Laura Dern now embodies a character that I hope continues to encourage future generations of young girls. From Leia to Rey and now Holdo, the excitement from this Laura Dern interview is palpable.
It’s just incredible. I know what Leia was for me as I know she was for all of you. And it was not just her strength in some super heroic way, but in the deeply human way that Carrie so incredibly embodied was this fearless, irreverent, sassy, bold, vulnerable female. And all things to be true and powerful and kick butt and all of those things were in one character. We know how rarely we see that. now my daughter and all her friends have this in Rey and soon other female characters in this movie. It’s really exciting to see.
This Laura Dern interview was full of strong female feels and yet another character to look forward to. Have you been following along our #TheLastJediEvent journey? Catch up on everything Star Wars: The Last Jedi here:
- The Best from the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Press Event Experience
- A Press Event That’s Making Star Wars History
- Disneyland Holidays + Star Tours -The Adventure Continues
Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes to theaters on December 15, 2017. Needless to say, I’m excited to see how a few sparkly arm bangles and a head of purple hair will reshape the way we look at an entire galaxy.
Are you excited to see Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi?
I was invited to attend an all-inclusive press trip, sponsored by Disney. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for more Disney insider information, movie updates and entertainment!
Looking for more Star Wars amazingness? Be sure to check out the entire Star Wars: The Force Awakens exclusive interviews: