After a year-long (and impressively productive) pause, Ridley is ready to enter the next phase of her acting career, beginning with the sci-fi thriller Chaos Walking with Tom Holland. The adaption of the Patrick Ness novel is gripping, fast-paced, and timely. Ridley plays Viola, a person seeking a better land and life whose spaceship crashes onto a planet infected by a disease called The Noise. The Noise only affects men, broadcasting out loud their innermost thoughts for everyone to hear—every innermost thought. It’s an allegory for our reality in terms of a rogue virus wreaking havoc, but it also puts a mirror up to social media, where every comment or whim can be unleashed in an instant. Ridley quit Instagram back in 2016 and hasn’t looked back. “I think people use it really well. It’s an amazing tool for connection, particularly now. It’s just not for me.”
Chaos Walking is indeed another out-of-this-world story, and as it is her first major follow-up to Star Wars, one could easily think the actor has been forever typecast in the sci-fi/adventure genre. Not so. Ridley’s future slate includes two period dramas set in and around World War II, including the recently announced A Woman of No Importance in which she plays American spy Virginia Hall. After riding the superhighway of Star Wars, she is looking forward to veering off-road into uncharted territories. She’d love to do something “really British” or be part of a cult TV water-cooler moment, but for now, she’s going with the flow. “I don’t have a plan of ‘I want to do this, now I’ve done this, [and] I want to do this,’” she explains. “There’s a lot that I’m hopeful for if I can pull it off.” With her aforementioned drive and focus, I think she’ll be just fine.