After being Oscar-nominated for her role in 2014's The Theory of Everything, Felicity Jones takes a surprise trip into space for the Star Wars spin-off Rogue One. But she thinks her character Jyn Erso is just as complex as anyone she's played.

Felicity Jones in Rogue OneFelicity Jones stars in Rogue One

"Jyn was a bit of a child delinquent," she laughs. "She has grown up without her parents. She's had to survive on her own a lot of the time. But she's also very perceptive. She kind of has an animal awareness, and acts on her feelings."

Jones also loved the way she stands out from most female action heroes. "She is absolutely a very unlikely heroine," Jones says. "Physically, she's smaller than everyone else around her, but when someone has something they believe in, that's what powers them, that's what motivates them, that's what can give someone enormous strength."

To prepare for the role, Jones had to train for the action sequences like any other franchise movie actor. "I'm laughing now, but at the time, it was physically exhausting," she says. "It took a lot of hours of practice. I worked with a kung fu coach, and I learned to fight, even though I never thought beating up Stormtroopers was something I'd be doing in my job!"

Watch the trailer for 'Rogue One' here:


She feels that the Star Wars movies have been great at creating strong female characters since the very beginning. "I mean, Princess Leia!" she says. "Carrie Fisher brought such heft to Princess Leia. And it was quite a difficult time to be making that film in terms of gender politics."

Jones used the original trilogy to get a feeling for her character, finding parallels, in the way Jyn wants to redeem her father (Mads Mikkelsen), just as Luke was trying to do with Darth Vader. "The Empire Strikes Back was such a huge reference," Jones says, "particularly that scene where he's hanging on at the end of the film. It makes me cry every time. But that's very emotional, it's rooted in the parent-child dynamic. In Rogue One, it's a father-daughter relationship which we haven't seen a lot of in cinema."

More: Read our review of 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

Jones says that she can't wait to see where the saga goes next. "I'm really looking forward to all of them," she says. "I feel like there's such braveness in what they're doing, that they're allowing each of these spin-off films to be completely different, to have its own identity and to trust the vision of a filmmaker. I think there's something quite '70s about it."