Felicity Jones is apparently the highest paid actor in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While that shouldn’t be news in 2016, it is. As progressive as the film industry can be, it has not entirely caught up with modernity and still often pays women less than men to work and star in films. The winds are shifting, however, as Jones appears to have been treated fairly and paid appropriately for the work she did, which is great. I’m glad Star Wars and Lucasfilm are not playing into outdated cultural norms to shave down a few bucks off the bottomline for their shareholders.
It’s her biggest payday to date (seven figures, while no other castmember received even mid-six figures, according to sources), but she takes the hardest PR hit if the film doesn’t match Force Awakens‘ numbers.
I feel bad for Rogue One that it is supposed to make The Force Awakens money because it seems unlikely it can, even if it is a vastly superior film.
There is also a little insight into the casting of Felicity Jones revealed in the article, as Kathleen Kennedy wanted to look at her for the part but it was ultimately Alan Horn that chose her:
It was Kennedy, incidentally, who first thought of Jones for Jyn — the actress had been on her radar as far back as Like Crazy. But it was Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn who cast the deciding vote. And there was a crowded field of contenders vying for the part, including Mara and Tatiana Maslany. “Alan was incredibly excited by Felicity’s work and loved her as an actress,” says Kennedy. “She’s relatively petite, but you would never know it. I mean, she comes off very strong and physical and capable, and all of those things were the qualities that we were looking for.”
Tatiana Maslany would still be great in the right role in a Star Wars film. Hopefully that’s in the cards.
In the article Kathleen Kennedy discusses the reshoots in full “damage control” mode:
Still, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy waves away any concerns as if performing a Jedi mind trick. “I’m sure if you picked up the phone and called every single large, technical movie and said, ‘You ever gone in and done reshoots?’ they’d all say, ‘Oh God, yes,’ ” she says. “So why has it turned into a big story? Because it’s Star Wars, and they put a spotlight and scrutinize every single thing that gets done. But it was always planned and nothing unusual.”
The reshoots aren’t big news because they’re doing reshoots. In fact, that news is kind of esoteric in nature and only hardcore fans really care that they’re even occurring when they do. Star Wars fans know all about reshoots, especially those that followed the production of the prequel films (or wondered why Obi-Wan’s wig looks crazy in some scenes and did some investigation). Star Wars fans were also aware of the reshoots for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Why didn’t they freak out? Because there was a tonal shift occurring after post-production for Rogue One that made them nervous the film was being shifted away from the serious war film we were promised. Fans wanted Gareth Edwards to make the film he wanted to make, the film he was hired to make.
Fans didn’t freak out on The Force Awakens because there wasn’t someone coming in to oversee the reshoots that wasn’t the initial director and crew members weren’t saying they were working for two months and reshooting a large amount of the film. There weren’t rumors the reshoots were expensive and execs were pissed off about it for The Force Awakens either. Rogue One had the same crew for the most part and that crew didn’t make it an issue on The Force Awakens’s reshoots but they did on Rogue One. The Force Awakens also didn’t change composers because the reshoots happened. Reshoots were always a part of the plan; the conditions of those reshoots were not, apparently.
The truth is those reshoots are entirely respectable and good. It shows they care about making a great film. They don’t want to trick you into the theater to take your money and run. They want to make Rogue One a good film. A complete lack of reshoots would be the deplorable and weird thing. Star Wars fans get that.
It’s great that Felicity Jones is being treated well, and the last thing anyone wants is for a good Star Wars film to be hurt because of bad press. The bad press that was generated was mostly because the culture of secrecy in the company didn’t allow anyone to actually set the record straight in a timely manner. But c’mon, Star Wars fans know how movies are made and they don’t think there are magic little people inside the television making their stories or that they throw the ball one time and it’s perfect. Either way, it sounds like Rogue One is going to be a great film.