Just what do Captain Phasma and Brienne of Tarth have in common?
[toggler title=”TL;DR” ]Christie says both roles were incredibly freeing as an actor, since they didn’t conform to any gendered stereotypes, or put too much stock in superficial appearances.[/toggler]
[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]t cannot be denied that the strong female roles accredited to Gwendoline Christie have highlighted her striking presence on both the small, and big screens. Everything looks set for Christie to continue this trend in the highly anticpated Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
With three major franchises now securely under belt – which include roles in the upcoming Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, and her stellar performance as the unforgettable Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones – Christie continues to break the mold, and conquer any strong female character that comes her way.
Back in May, Vanity Fair unveiled the first picture of Christie, looking pretty darn bad-ass in her Stormtrooper-like armoured suit – which fan’s have now dubbed the ‘Chrometrooper’.
The armour, which she’ll be donning as Captain Phasma, has been noted for its functional, gender-neutral design, that doesn’t feel the need to draw on feminine features. The suits refreshing look rejects all the gendered stereotypes we so often see – such as hammered in breast plates, and overtly sexualised designs which go against all practicality.
In an interview with Variety, Christie discussed her upcoming role in one of the most successful and well-loved franchises going, and how it compares to other characters she’s portrayed – namely, Brienne of Tarth.
‘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.’
Christie is certainly no stranger to wearing armour, but more than that, it is evident that she found both roles incredibly liberating. Since neither put too much stock in superficial appearances, or gave in to the restrictions gendered stereotypes can sometimes impose, the characters apparently allowed for so much more as an actor.
Christie again picks up on this idea, by highlighting how freeing the full body suit was in terms of acting.
‘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.
It’s clear that the role became more about her physical presence, and what she did with her body when acting in scenes to communicate to the audience – allowing her to transcend the superficiality of appearance into something the character is instead trying to convey.
She went on to say that the image of Phasma demonstrates a different kind of strength to her roles in Game of Thrones and Hunger Games, touching on how her armour breaks away from tradition.
‘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 two other characters.’
It’ll be intriguing to see what Christie brings to the role, and how the part will play out in the next Star Wars instalment. One things for sure – Christie is bound to own it.
Be sure to check out the rest of the interview, where Christie has a lot of very insightful things to say about her upcoming projects.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is due out in theatres 18 December, 2015.