Gwendoline Christie is "very proud" to be playing the first female villain in the "Star Wars" films, particularly as Captain Phasma, whose armored appearance challenges expectations.
“We know very little about her at this stage, but what I think people are drawn to is that this is a very progressive female character,” the "Force Awakens" actress tells Entertainment Weekly. “We see Captain Phasma, and we see the costume from head to toe, and we know that it is a woman. But we are used to, in our media, connecting to female characters via the way that they look, from the way they are made flesh.”
Christie rose to fame as the unconventional heroine Brienne of Tarth on "Game of Thrones," but the villainous First Order officer is another challenge entirely: There's no obvious indication of Captain Phasma gender, and the only way for the audience to pick up emotional cues is through her body language and actions.
“We are actually connecting to a female character as a human being,” Christie says. “It wasn’t just about what I was expressing above the neck, it was also as focused on what I was expressing below the neck. It was an interesting acting experience as well as a fangirl’s dream.”
The actress tells the Los Angeles Times that while Phasma is a supporting character, she does have a significant effect on the film's story. "She is a Boba Fett-style character," Christie says, "which means she makes a lot of impact but she's not at the forefront of the action all the time."
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" opens Dec. 18.