After Kessell described delivering a bang-on audition but failing to get a call back for M. Night Shyamalan’s “After Earth,” Eaton described her own “devastation.”
“I was up for the ‘Star Wars’ role that Daisy Ridley ended up doing,” she recounted. “It was an intense scene, but I wasn’t getting it, and I was getting really frustrated with myself. It was a test with the costume director and J. J. Abrams, so essentially I ended up getting so worked up that I had a panic attack and ruined my audition.”
Rey’s first appearance was in 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” meaning auditions must have occured in 2014, if not all the way back in 2013. That would have made Eaton around 17-18 years old, and by that time she only had one screen credit to her name. It was a strong one, though: Cheedo the Fragile, one of the enslaved wives of Immortan Joe in “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Eaton made a strong impression despite having few to no lines in the film, but you can only imagine the immense amount of pressure the young actress felt to nail an audition for what would be a life-altering role.
When Eaton’s agent called for a run down, she told them plainly, “‘I had a panic attack in front of J. J. Abrams. Maybe it worked for the scene, maybe it didn’t.'” It was an experience that will “forever haunt” Eaton, but it’s even more haunting to consider what “Yellowjackets” would be without her commanding and ethereal performance at its core. We never wish for the actors we love to fail. But just this one time, Eaton’s famous flop might have been for the best.