By Rollo Ross
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Felicity Jones steps into the big league with "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," in an action blockbuster role that carries the first spin-off movie in the space franchise.
Jones, 33, is best known for her Oscar-nominated role as the wife of physicist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything" and as Tom Hanks' sidekick in the 2016 adventure "Inferno."
Reuters spoke with the British actress about training for the role of rebel Jyn Erso and finding the Force for the movie which opens worldwide this week. The following are edited excerpts.
Q: How much idea of the film did you have when you got cast?
A: I didn't know a great deal but I did know that she was going to be a rather extraordinary character because my agent said 'I think you're going to really like playing this part.' And so she was true to her word.
Q: At what point did you go 'Oh my god. I'm actually in a "Star Wars" film'?
A: It takes a while for it to drop ... and then you think 'Oh my god. I've got to get to the gym.' I got to start training really quickly and to get to the kind of level of fitness that you need for something like this. It is absolutely magical being on set even when ... we would be doing a lot of military type scenes and running and kind of clambering out of our bunkers and having sand thrown in your face. But through all of that there is much joy in being part of it.
Q: You studied Kung Fu, is that right?
A: I did yeah. I worked with this Kung Fu teacher who would constantly tell me to think like Tiger Girl, so that would be in my head before doing a fight sequence. I'd think 'I've got to think like Tiger Girl.'
Q: Are you ready for how this is going to change people's perception of you?
A: I feel great pride in having made something that I hope people are really going to love and take to their hearts.
Q: Some quick questions. Does Jyn get to meet Darth Vader?
A: You have to wait and see.
Q: How much of a Force user is Jyn?
A: She definitely has the Force within her. It's her mother's legacy really and the Force for Jyn is more about belief and hope.
Q: Is she Rey's mother?
A: (shakes head)
(Reporting by Reuters Televsion; Editing by Richard Chang)