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When Brooklynn Prince, the seven-year-old star of The Florida Project, arrived for a SAG Q&A last week at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinemas, which I moderated, she expected just another run-of-the-mill interview like the many others she’s done since that film’s premiere at Cannes back in May.
But Prince — who was wearing her favorite shirt, which is emblazoned with the first names of her cinematic heroes Elle Fanning, Dakota Fanning, Emma Stone and Daisy Ridley — was in for a surprise. A few moments into the conversation, out came Ridley — many in the audience gasped and Prince’s mouth was agape in shock — who had flown in from London to surprise the younger actress.
“I’m very, very happy,” Prince said after getting a hug from Ridley. “You just made my day!” Ridley, whose new film Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres tonight, told her, “I saw the film last week and I thought it was amazing and that you’re amazing.”
Ridley proceeded to question Orlando-native Prince about her audition for the role as Moonee in The Florida Project (“They had two rounds that I wasn’t invited to”); collaborating on it with their mutual friend Willem Dafoe (“He played thumb-war with me, he Facetimed with me, he treated us equal…he’s just the most wonderful man you could work with”); having to cuss in the opening scene (“I’ve always wanted to say those words”); and how she prepared for her biggest emotional scene (“It was hard because I didn’t play with my friends — even though I really wanted to play, I still had to be focused”).
Then, Ridley asked Prince what she would like to do next. “I would like to be Little Rey in Star Wars,” she volunteered, as Ridley broke into a smile and replied, “Great idea!” Prince then asked, “Do you know that Star Wars has been around since when there were dinosaurs? It was in a galaxy far, far away.” Ridley replied, “Yeah, I heard that!” Prince continued, “Where Jedis were living and every Ewok roamed the Earth.” “I heard that, too!” Prince added, “Do you know that you are so, so brave to take on a big movie role? Because Star Wars has been around forever — and when I say forever, I mean forever!”
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