Director Kenneth Branagh’s whodunnit Murder on the Orient Express is an extremely star-studded affair whose cast includes Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom, Jr., Judi Dench, and Branagh himself as that genius sleuth, Hercule Poirot. But to diehard fans of the Star Wars series, the most notable name in the credits is Daisy Ridley. EW asked the actress about why she decided to exchange Rey’s speeder for a steam locomotive — and what it was like to work with Captain Jack Sparrow.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What made you get on board Orient Express?
DAISY RIDLEY: I always wanted to do Agatha Christie anything. I thought the audition went kind of bad, so when I got it, I couldn’t believe it, and I was thrilled. By that point I’d heard rumors of who else was going to be in it, and I was like, “Holy s—, I can’t believe I got it!”
Your character, Mary Debenham, is one of the suspects Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot interrogates. Tell us about her.
It was interesting, because she’s a lot warmer than she is in the book, which I quite like. The relationship with her and Poirot, it grew when Ken and I were doing it. She’s a pretty forward-thinking woman of her time, what with being in an interracial relationship [with Leslie Odom Jr.’s character, Dr. Arbuthnot] and how she thinks about things.
What was it like working with Johnny Depp?I didn’t work with Johnny so much, but when I did, it was brilliant. Although, it was hilarious, because he said to me, “Daisy, I am going to see Star Wars, because I hear Peter Cushing’s in it.” [Laughs] I was like, “He’s not in my one, but that’s okay.”
What is your all-time favorite journey?
There was this one time when my family missed a flight on holiday in Italy. We had to get from one city to another in order to come home. I remember the train was like a Harry Potter train. It was in the middle of the night, and we got pizza. I mean, my mum probably thinks of it very differently. She probably had a hernia. [Laughs] But I remember the Harry Potter train being super exciting.
Murder on the Orient Express is in theaters Friday.