Having slayed the box offices on both sides of the Atlantic in the new Star Wars spin-off Rogue One, Felicity Jones opened up about the intense training regime she undertook in order to play the movie’s lead character, Jyn.

“After I got the call from Gareth [Jones, director] I was obviously ecstatic, but then I thought, ‘I’ve got to get to the gym REALLY quickly, I’ve got to get in shape for this film!’”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opened in the U.K. on December 15th, and is intended a spin-off from the Star Wars canon, and Jones’ character leads a mission to steal the blueprints from the Empire’s new weapon the Death Star, meaning this is probably set immediately before the events of the first ever Star Wars film A New Hope.

Felicity JonesFelicity Jones at the premiere of 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

Asked what she hopes women and girls will take away from her character Jyn, Jones said: “I think people will like that she’s not just a love interest, that she has very much her own way of doing things, she’s determined, and doesn’t like the Empire and will do everything she can to bring them down.”

“I wanted to show a real development, from someone who’s defensive, a caged animal, who doesn’t trust people easily, to someone who meets kindred spirits and finds a place with other people with similar beliefs.”

More: First clips of ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ reveal K-2so and other surprises

Elaborating on the physical training she underwent in the months before she began filming, she said “I was shooting another film at the time, so my first training session was outside in Florence, where I was filming Inferno. I had little bit of time off so I went running along the river Arno and did that throughout shooting.”

“Obviously it’s kind of on all sides: so you’re going to the gym, pilates, yoga but there’s also boxing training and then doing specifically stunt training, so you’re learning all your moves for all your fight sequences, which were inspired by wushu [traditional Chinese martial arts] and kung-fu.”

Watch the trailer for 'Rogue One' here:


On working with Gareth Jones, the Birmingham-born actress said she “loved” the experience. “I felt very comfortable and safe – he really empowers you as an actor, you never feel that you’ve made a ‘mistake’, it’s a very harmonious environment.”

Finally, asked for one word she would use to describe Rogue One, Jones replied after a short pause with “captivating”, because you “don’t think about anything else while you’re watching it.”

More: Felicity Jones on the gender pay gap in Hollywood