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Reality Bites: A Conversation with Felicity Jones

We’ll never truly know whether Felicity Jones possesses strong memories of the 2001 film Albatross. Unless we ask her, that is. In it, she starred as a self-hating and sti ed desk clerk at a novelty hotel on the Isle of Man. She harboured pent-up desires to defy her lowly lot and attend Oxford University. It’s a sweet film, but were she to create a CV which demanded she place her strongest screen credits closer to the top of the page, this one would likely rank mid-table at best. Back then she was still habitually being referred to as an “up-and-comer” or “one to watch”. She was the chalet girl from Chalet Girl, someone who would go on to better, brighter things (side note: Chalet Girl is actually quite lovely). There’s a costume party scene in Albatross which now seems strangely prophetic. Jones is dressed in lincoln green duds as Robin Hood, while the film’s lead, Jessica Brown Findlay, arrives as slut-slave Princess Leia, sporting little more than an eye-popping tangle of ornate, bejewelled bangles which extend across her unmentionables. It may have seemed like a timid pop cultural crack at the time, but now, this is Felicity Jones looking – while gasping – directly at her own future. Okay, maybe some of the unreconstructed, petrolhead uncle attitudes that led to Leia being splayed out as a kiddie ‘Penthouse’ pet in Return of the Jedi have thankfully fallen by the wayside. Indeed, the latest suite of Star Wars movies are laudable in their enlightened, diverse casting choices. In JJ Abrams’ The Force Awakens, women are no longer scantily clad chattel to be saved by a blu male protector. If anything, the opposite is true – the balance isn’t just being reset to neutral, but tipped in favour of the female. In less than five years since the release of Albatross, Jones has been cast in her own Star Wars story, entitled Rogue One. She plays Jyn Erso – a Rebel fighter out to save the universe from all hell...