Daisy Ridley Will Test Her Spy Skills for ‘A Woman of No Importance’
Daisy Ridley’s coronation as the next major movie star is continuing right on schedule. She got her big break as the face of the new trilogy of Star Wars sequels, parlayed that into a couple of quick but low-profile voice acting gigs as the narrator of The Eagle Huntress and a character in the English dub of Studio Ghibli’s Only Yesterday, and landed a prospective prestige role in Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express remake. All that’s missing is the star vehicle independent of a major pre-existing franchise, something a studio can build specifically for her from the ground up.
Enter Paramount, and writer Sonia Purnell. Deadline reported last night that Paramount has laid claim to the rights to Purnell’s new espionage biography A Woman of No Importance, with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot company producing and Ridley attached to take the starring role of Virginia Hall. The real-life Hall was a wealthy heiress and devoted spy who attempted to surreptitiously join the American Foreign Service in the years preceding World War II. Her status as a woman and as a disabled person (a hunting accident had taken part of her leg years before) prevented her from joining up, but not from contributing to the war effort; she allied herself with British intelligence unit SQE and eventually became a part of OSS, a sort of proto-CIA.
Barring any unforeseen snafus, this looks like a slam dunk for Ridley. There’s heroism, personal strife, an agreeable political undercurrent with the feminist edge, and a big fat opportunity for Ridley to do some serious acting. If she wants to secure Jennifer Lawrence-level A-list status, Ridley will have to prove to us that she’s got the chops to back up her rising profile. Could this be her Winter’s Bone?