Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie is best known for her playing Brienne of Tarth in HBO's fantasy series, but fans are about to see a different side of her in winter's biggest films: Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2; and Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
For Christie, the most compelling aspect of all three films is their commitment to diversity, especially in regards to providing roles for women that shun the traditional, often stereotypical narratives that many female characters are expected to follow in movies.
"It's great to be involved in three big franchises, but [they're] big three big franchises that are looking to expand our consciousness about each other as human beings, and that's very exciting," Christie said in an interview with Variety. "They are three enormous things — however, the quality of the writing and the concepts are very, very well developed and very relevant, so everyone seems engaged in the excitement of what these things are doing. All three projects are incredibly progressive, so it feels as though everyone's caught up with the idea of that, and everyone's dedicated to giving their absolute best and honoring the set of ideas and setting them forth into the world."
Christie's villainous role as Captain Phasma in The Force Awakens is fascinating to fans, and although we don't know much about her character yet, Christie described the challenge of the role:
"It was very important to J.J. that I was there acting a part," she noted. "I found it to be a really interesting acting challenge, not just because of what I felt this character was representing — and it was just what I felt, and we talked about it a little bit, but it was never like a manifesto, ‘this is what it must be' — and it was exciting to me to have that weight of responsibility taken away, of having to be a certain way as a woman, to have to be mindful in a way that isn't always useful. To have that stripped away was very liberating, and it meant that as an actor I had to focus on other things. I had to focus on what my body was communicating and what exactly my voice is communicating."
She added, "It becomes about the way in which you hold your hand, the way in which you walk, where your weight lies and what you want that to mean, and I wanted to give the character identity. I thought it was interesting to make something about the character identifiably female in a non-superficial way, and I hope that comes across."
And although she's playing a villain in Star Wars, and a heroic one in Game of Thrones, Christie drew a connection between the two roles that she found interesting:
"I don't think many female actors get the opportunity to play a part where they're not having to think about the way their face looks, but I found exactly the same thing with Brienne of Tarth, and that was very liberating," she said. "It was great as an actor to work on your skills — that it isn't about holding your head so you look beautiful. It's about what you're transmitting, and to be in service of an idea greater than yourself, whether it's the character's overriding objective or, beyond that, hopefully something more sociopolitical. We have seen an image of [Phasma] and again, it's an unconventional kind of woman exhibiting a kind of strength, but in a very different way to my other two characters."
We already know that Captain Phasma is one of the villains in The Force Awakens
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will arrive in theaters on December 18; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 hits U.S. theaters on November 20, and Game of Thrones Season 6 will premiere in 2016.