How do you know when you’ve arrived as an actor? When old news about the roles you didn’t get suddenly makes headlines. Back in 2015, when Jessica Henwick had only a few television roles to her name, the fact that she auditioned for Daisy Ridley‘s part in the ‘Star Wars‘ sequels didn’t exactly move the needle. Footage of her talking about the experience was more interesting to ‘Star Wars’ fans as an indicator of what Abrams had in mind for Rey’s parents, not because it seemed like a particularly exciting Hollywood near-miss.
Fast forward a few years, however, and Henwick is looking like a breakout star. After taking on key roles in “Game of Thrones” and Netflix‘s Marvel shows, Henwick has also been cast in a leading role in “The Matrix 4” and the upcoming “Godzilla vs. Kong” film. Suddenly, every part she almost got is newsworthy in-and-of-itself. When Henwick spoke with The Hollywood Reporter, for example, her six-month ‘Star Wars’ audition is right there in the headline. According to the actress,
“I was auditioning for a different character, actually, so I spent six months auditioning for that character. And then, at the end, J.J. said, ‘I want you to be in the film, but I want to write a character for you.’ That’s how Jess Pava was created. But, after six months, you can’t help but just desperately want [the original role]. So, I was a mess at the end of those six months.”
As someone who has worked a variety of different jobs in my life, I know how frustrated I get after going through a third or fourth round of interviews. I can’t imagine what it must be like to audition for a role for six months – SIX MONTHS – and not end up getting cast. In the end, it’s great that Henwick was able to be part of the ‘Star Wars’ experience; it’s also great that her career has taken off outside the ‘Star Wars’ franchise. Perhaps highlighting how close she almost came to playing the main ‘Star Wars’ heroine will earn her a few new fans by the end of the weekend.