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Daisy Ridley Reveals the Real-Life Inspiration For Her Thriller ‘Magpie’ [Exclusive]


The Big Picture

  • Daisy Ridley’s upcoming film Magpie is described as a blend of noir and thriller, exploring the blurred lines between fantasy and reality.
  • The movie focuses on a family where the husband falls in love with an actress, causing tension and confusion for the wife at home.
  • Ridley serves as a producer on the film and drew inspiration from her own observations on set, and her husband helped sculpt the story.

Daisy Ridley is continuing her path of fascinating film choices with Magpie, the upcoming drama she describes as “somewhere between a noir and a thriller”, which will premiere in March at SXSW. The film, which was written by Ridley’s husband Tom Bateman, based on an original idea by Ridley, began filming on January 28, 2023, and the week prior to that, Ridley told Collider’s Editor-in-Chief Steve Weintraub about the plot of the film, saying:

“The movie follows a family, a woman who is at home with a baby, pushed slightly beyond her limits. Her husband, who is chaperoning their daughter into a film set, and who falls in love with the actress playing the mother. It’s fantasy versus reality, and what things mean and different perspectives, and what they lend to how we view characters. And also, what the audience’s biases may inform when they’re projecting onto the characters. So it’s a lot of things.”

One year later, Ridley sat down with Collider’s Maggie Lovitt to discuss Sometimes I Think About Dying, and she was finally in a position to talk at length about the project. She spoke more specifically about where the inspiration came for the film, noting that it was “somewhere between a noir and a thriller” and based on her own experience of working on The Marsh King’s Daughter when she was struck by working alongside youngster Joey Carson, and the idea that the lines of fiction and reality could be blurred when it came to intrapersonal relationships on a film set.

The idea actually came between Marsh King’s Daughter and before Sometimes I Think About Dying. The girl that played my daughter in The Marsh King’s Daughter was phenomenal and she was also five, and she was also calling me mommy in a scene. She was so smart, she knew I wasn’t [her mother], but I was struck by how strange that was because her dad was with her on set because her mom was at home with the baby and the other sister. I was like, “How is this for a child? How do you separate these things? Obviously adults get lost in roles. She’s five. I was flying back from that job and I had this sort of idea and landed. My husband picked me up, and I had read a few of his other scripts, and he’s a really, really good writer. I told him the story, and he was like, “Well, should we work on it together?” He sculpted it.”

‘Magpie’ Is About Falling Victim to a Fantasy

Daisy Ridley smiles in Sometimes I Think About Dying
Image via Oscilloscope

Ridley then explained that she wanted to see how that blurred lines effect would apply to an adult relationship, and how easy it would be for someone to fall into that alluring trap, but the impact it would have on the other half of the relationship who was at home while their partner falls victim to that fantasy.

“My idea was centering on the actress who is playing the mother of the little girl. Then it actually became what’s happening to the woman left at home when her family are in this romantic world of filmmaking, and everything’s fun and seductive. What that would do to someone who is not part of that, who is home with a baby and when her husband has been unfaithful before. What that does to a person when they know that he is having feelings for the person playing the mother of his child. Tom really sculpted that into what it is now. The whole process was honestly fantastic.

Ridley further went into detail on the process behind making the film, on which she serves as a producer, and that she had picked up on the style of running a set from Rachel Lambert, the director of Sometimes I Think About Dying, as well as learning from the producers of the film about how to budget and schedule a shoot.

“I think Rachel, for me, with Sometimes I Think About Dying, is really intentional. She’s an intentional filmmaker. I felt like going into Magpie, that’s what we all felt. We knew what the intention of the film was, we knew what we wanted to make. We knew tonally what we wanted it to feel like. And because on Sometimes I Think About Dying, they had been very generous with me, the producers, in helping me understand budget and schedule, I felt like I knew what was possible because we had done it. I had just done it. I was like, “Guys, we’re going to do this. We can do this.” I was the one going, “I know we can do this. I know we can do this.” It all happened pretty quickly like within I think two and a bit years everything wrapped up, ready to go. But yes, it’s very exciting and obviously petrifying, but it’s very exciting to share it.”

Stay tuned for Lovitt’s full interview with Ridley tomorrow. Magpie will premiere at SXSW in March. In the meantime, you can catch Sometimes I Think About Dying in select theaters today.

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