Star Wars heroine is no princess
Star Wars' Felicity Jones says her first thought when she got the role was that she had to go to the gym
There won't be any Jedi in this Star Wars spin-off, but there will be droids, souped up Stormtroopers (called Death Troopers) and a very lucky Felicity Jones.
She's the actress who landed the coveted role of Jyn Erso, the new female heroine in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first in a new series of standalone films set a long time ago, in that galaxy far far away.
Opening here tomorrow, the movie tells the story of a group of unlikely heroes who band together to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire's ultimate weapon of destruction.
Expect to see new droids such as the K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial security guard now loyal to the Alliance.
And from the dark side, we get Death Troopers, an elite group of Stormtroopers dressed in black.
Just as Disney did last year with Star Wars: A Force Awakens, there were no press screening before our interviews.
During our Skype interview with Jones, she bounced into the interview room in a pretty white dress, looking a little harried.
She's at Industrial Light & Magic, George Lucas' pioneering visual effects company created in the late '70s for the original Star Wars movies.
Jones, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Theory Of Everything (2014), said she had to audition for the part of Erso.
She's a very ordinary woman. She's not rich. She doesn't have a lot of special treatment. She's a very modern woman making her way in the world.
And her first thought when she won the role? "I have to get myself to the gym."
She added: "The moment they said 'we'd love you to play Jyn Erso', I started a full-on, military programme.
"It was hard work and there were a lot of bruises, but I did enjoy it very much.
"I wanted Jyn to be as human as possible," the Englishwoman said."She's strong when she needs to be, she's incredibly determined, and she has to be tough when she doesn't feel it.
"She is very clear about her beliefs. She does not like the Empire and will do everything to bring them down, whatever it may take."
Jones, 33, pointed out that Jyn is not a princess like Leia.
"She's a very ordinary woman. She's not rich. She doesn't have a lot of special treatment. She's a very modern woman making her way in the world."
Working with an international cast, such as Diego Luna (Mexican), Riz Ahmed (Pakistani-British), Mads Mikkelsen (Danish) and Chinese actors Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang, had its own set of joys.
"We all speak different languages, but we've integrated, and there was such a unity between us and such friendship.
"The thing that I would take away is the friendships that I've made. The films, they go, but the thing that has longevity are the relationships."
The movie was shot primarily at Pinewood studios in London, but also in exotic locations.
Said Jones: "(It was) like I was taking a gap year and I was going backpacking to all these different countries," she said.
"Our first day of shooting was in Jordan in Wadi Rum in the desert.
"The crew and the cast immediately bond when it's 3.30am and you're hanging off the side of a rock. It was a real adventure."
Then they were off to the Maldives.
"We were all living in huge boats. One was the costume boat and one was the hair and make-up boat...
"We'd put our slippers on and go see each other, and it felt a bit like how filmmaking would have been in the '70s. That sort of guerrilla style filmmaking."
The film is huge, but director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) wanted a gritty, realistic feel, and used a lot of hand-held camera work.
"He wanted to light the locations and not the actors," Jones explained.
"It was about giving us that freedom to move around, to be spontaneous, to be in the moment.
"I never felt, oh God, I'm on this huge movie and it's really intimidating. Very quickly, it became very small and intimate."
She loves her action figures but still finds it surreal to see herself as one.
"Also, now they have little kids' outfits of Diego's character and my character.
"It's wonderful to see that from the beginning when it's just an idea, and then to actually see it turned into a child's Halloween costume.
"It's a magical process."