Whether it’s a massive event film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or an eagerly anticipated tale from a galaxy far, far away, secrecy is paramount for franchise blockbusters, and studios go to extreme measures to protect a film’s secrets. We’ve all heard the anecdotes about actors not getting full scripts or having to read the script on a tablet in a closed room. It might seem like a huge burden, but not necessarily. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s Richard E. Grant revealed the ‘advantage’ of not getting a full script, saying:
Despite finding it weird at the beginning, being given a script that you could only go into a conference room and read it surrounded by security—in a way, that liberates you. You think, ‘Well, if I flub the lines on the day, because I’ve been given them on the day, [it’ll be okay] because I didn’t have three weeks to prepare this.’ So there’s an advantage to that. That made it unique. I’ve never had an experience like that before.
Like many actors, especially those as tenured as Richard E. Grant, who are used to more traditional ways of doing things, the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker star found all the secrecy to be strange at first. He was only able to read the script for The Rise of Skywalker, in which he plays new baddie Allegiant General Pryde, in a conference room surrounded by security, like a scene out of a political thriller.
But rather than looking at Star Wars secrecy as a challenge or an impediment to doing his job well, Richard E. Grant sees it as a both liberating and as something of an excuse. Since Richard E. Grant was only able to learn his lines the same day and not from reading a copy of the script at home over multiple weeks, only so much could be expected of him, anyone without an eidetic memory or an earpiece with a guy feeding them lines.
As Richard E. Grant tells io9, the advantage of not having the script was that if he messed up his lines or couldn’t remember all of them during filming, no one could blame him. That’s because the secrecy of the script provided him with a built-in excuse for any potential screw-ups. Insert 'roll safe' meme here.
It sounds like in a weird way, the secrecy made the whole thing less stressful. Instead of worrying about forgetting his lines, Richard E. Grant knew that if he did, it wasn’t a big deal because it wasn’t his fault and he wasn’t really given the opportunity to truly learn them the way he would on a different movie. So in a roundabout way, the secrecy of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker proved advantageous to the Oscar-nominated actor.
Whether all of that secrecy has worked is another matter. There are a lot of supposed leaks out there, and even the marketing for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has seemed potentially spoiler-ish. But if nothing else, the cast have done their part... minus, of course, John Boyega, whose script wound up on eBay.
Fortunately, Richard E. Grant (who gushed about the film) and the rest of the cast won’t have to maintain their resolve of secrecy for much longer. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker blasts into theaters on December 20. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of all of next year’s biggest movies.