By Eliana Dockterman
November 30, 2015

Gwendoline Christie, who plays the villainous Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, didn’t wait to get a call about casting in the storied franchise. The Game of Thrones star decided to take matters into her own hands. Here’s a lightly edited transcript from a conversation about how she got the coveted part:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters Dec. 18.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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