By playing Lieutenant Connix alongside her mother Carrie Fisher, Billie Lourd made her film debut in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But she almost had a much bigger role in the series. Apparently, Lourd originally auditioned to play Rey in The Force Awakens. The American Horror Story: Cult actress nonchalantly dropped this bombshell on Ellen, telling host Ellen DeGeneres that director J.J. Abrams called her to try out for the lead. "He ended up finding Daisy Ridley," Lourd said. "Who's an incredible actress, so talented." But, despite not getting the role of Rey, Lourd got a different opportunity that she now believes was fate working its magic.
Abrams ended up giving her a "tiny role with a couple of lines." In the film, she asks her mom, “General, are you seeing this?” But Lourd was super excited about the small role and "didn't know what was going to happen." And what happened was it changed her entire life. Lourd said her mother and father, talent agent Bryan Lourd, didn't want her to be an actress, but after seeing how comfortable she was on set — she was often singing Jersey Boys, which we definitely want to hear — Fisher told her she had to keep doing it.
"My mom said, 'You know this is really weird that you're comfortable here. This is one of the most uncomfortable environments in the world. Like, if you're comfortable here, you should do this,'" she said.
After that word of encouragement from her mom, Lourd ended up going to dinner with AHS creator Ryan Murphy. She told him she was acting and pretty immediately he cast in Scream Queens as Chanel No. 3, whose costume was very fittingly an homage to Fisher. Now she's the lead in Murphy's latest season of AHS, playing nightmare nanny Winter, who's seriously gone off the rails after the 2016 election.
Thinking about the Star Wars audition, though, Lourd can't help but believe that fate was on her side. "It was incredible," she said of working on Star Wars with her mom when she appeared on Ellen. "I'm a big believer in things happening for a reason. And I think I ended up in that movie for a reason. It was really incredible for us to have that experience together."
It was an experience that she got not once, but twice, since Lourd has a bigger role in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which will officially be Fisher's last movie. Of course, since this is Star Wars, there's not much information out there about Lourd's role. "You might not know her name, but you should know Connix is back and better than ever," she told AOL last year.
It's already been reported that the finally installment in the Star Wars trilogy will honor Fisher. Star Wars Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow, who has been replaced by J.J. Abrams, told the Irish Examiner that “it’s been tough emotionally and logistically we’ll figure that part out, but she was just very important to the Star Wars family and that was the hardest part.”
Lourd also admits it's been hard without her mom around, but Fisher was the best teacher she could have had in acting and life. As Lourd told AHS co-star Sarah Paulson in the August issue of Town and Country, she always wanted her mom to stop being so truthful in her interviews, but then realized she had it all wrong.
"Now, looking back and watching her interviews, I try to model what I do after her," the actor said. "She was so good at it. She would get so annoyed with me if I ever did a fake interview. She’d say, 'Tell the real story.'” That advice is probably why fans now know Lourd's big Star Wars secret.