Daisy Ridley was catapulted to fame after being cast as the Force-powerful heroine Rey in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But with Rey's story possibly coming to an end later this year in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the actor has been branching out with other roles. And that's exactly what she's doing in Ophelia, a new film about the Hamlet character that manages to mine new content from a 400-year-old play. Ridley portrays the titular character, and as you'll see in a Bustle-exclusive clip, the role is a far cry from both the Skywalker saga and the Hamlet you know.
The movie flips the script on the classic tale by telling the story from Ophelia's perspective. In Shakespeare's original text, Ophelia is the daughter of the king's adviser, Polonius, as well as a potential wife to Prince Hamlet. She has but a few scenes in the play, and they largely involve her following her father's instructions when it comes to her possible romance with Hamlet. She and the prince never do actually become an item, and Ophelia is best remembered for her mysterious drowning in the play's fourth act — with characters debating over whether or not the character died by suicide or by accident. The film, however, gives Ophelia more agency than in previous depictions, as she is shown grappling with her potential feelings for Hamlet and doing what's best for her own self interests.
The new movie does more than just give Ophelia additional things to do, as it also makes some pretty big changes to the story. That's because the film isn't just based on Hamlet. It's also based on the the novel Ophelia by Lisa Klein, according to The Guardian, which aims to retell the story in a way that gives Ophelia more independence and agency.
Ridley proves to be the perfect vessel for this revamped version of the classic character, as she is convincing in her depiction of both Ophelia's free-spiritedness and her feelings for Hamlet — sometimes simultaneously. That's certainly the case in the clip below, where Hamlet and Horatio stumble upon a bathing Ophelia while out on a fishing trip. The scene plays with the imagery most commonly associated with Ophelia, famously in the Sir John Everett Millais painting, but instead puts her in control. She is in no danger of drowning here; she is simply doing what she wants to do in the moment she wants to do it. It's an entirely new take on the character, and one that is likely to leave you more inspired than frustrated.
Ophelia shows that there is more to this character than you, and even Shakespeare, may have thought. By giving Ophelia more to do, offering the audience a window to her thoughts, and altering her story in some pretty major ways, the movie allows Ophelia to break free of fans' preconceived notions about her. The film ends up doing the same for Ridley as well. If you only see her as a Jedi-in-training who's good with a lightsaber, then her performance as Ophelia will allow you to see a whole new side of her acting talent.
Ophelia will be released in theaters on June 28 and on digital and VOD on July 2.