A stunning amount of detail and groundbreaking digital wizardry went into creating 1977 versions of Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia and Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One. As we've seen, these effects included recreating the stickiness of Cushing's lips, finding an actor who looked like him, and even digging up a vintage mold of his face. But we haven't seen how they built the digital version of 19-year-old Fisher.
Fisher died shortly after Rogue One was released in late 2016, but had seen and approved of the computer-generated Leia. To do this, Disney secretly hired Norwegian actress Ingvild Deila, who was sworn to secrecy about her role. In a new interview, Deila is speaking about playing Leia for the first time—and, as it turns out, the part was so secretive that she didn't even know what she was auditioning for. Deila simply sent the casting directors a clip of herself talking about anything for three minutes and her measurements.
"I realised what was actually happening because I was sent two scenes from A New Hope, when Leia meets Vader for the first time, and the hologram monologue," she said. "I was like 'Oh my god is this happening?' Those buns are big. I had the hairy buns. And I had plenty of dots all over my face, like an exotic fish. I looked very strange"
Though the actress's face never appears in the movie, she says she was thrilled to be part of a team of filmmakers pushing the boundaries of digital effects. "I didn't know that we had any similar features," Deila said of her resemblance to Fisher. "Apparently our profiles are similar."
Going forward, this might not be such a rare situation, as digital actors filling in for real ones becomes more common. Fans have already begun to discuss how Disney will include the late Fisher in Star Wars IX.
"I was just thinking, 'What if it was me? How would I feel?' If they had to pay my living relatives or something, or [were] forced to share the money, then yeah... I mean I'm dead, I don't care," Deila said of the ethics of recreating deceased actors. "We just need to establish a system where we do it right by their relatives or what they agreed on."