Director J.J. Abrams tasked the relatively unknown actress with reading from a difficult scene in which Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) interrogates and tortures Ridley's character, Rey. Not only was Ridley able to channel a visceral combination of anger and fear on command — she did it multiple times as Abrams gave her notes.
"She just blew my mind," Abrams said. "She's reaching this depth of struggle and tears are streaming down her face, I thought, 'This is unbelievable.'"
The Force Awakens arrives on DVD and Blu-ray April 5th. The home editions boast a bevy of bonus features, including deleted scenes and a documentary chronicling the making of the film. Featurettes on the first Force Awakens table read, the making of BB-8 and other new creatures and an in-depth look at the climactic lightsaber fight between Rey and Kylo Ren will also be available.
Production on the follow-up to The Force Awakens began in February with Rian Johnson directing the as-yet-untitled Episode VIII. Per Entertainment Weekly Driver spoke about the directorial change at a screening of his new movie, Midnight Special.
"Their temperaments are different," Driver said of Abrams and Johnson. "I feel like there was so many moving pieces in the first one — just trying to solve it and set the vocabulary for what it was. There's a lot of that anxiety that's gone, because people have developed a language. I think it's more of a testament to Rian coming into something very established and making it [his own]. I can't wait to get on set, just because he's so unassuming and intelligent and approachable. The script they've come up with is really great."