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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's young Rey played by Bearsted pupil, 6

A young performer from Bearsted has rocket-launched her acting career with a role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Josefine Irrera Jackson was cast as young Rey - Daisy Ridley's child counterpart - in the latest instalment in the popular Disney-owned movie franchise, which opened in cinemas before Christmas.

Josefine Irrera Jackson
Josefine Irrera Jackson

The six-year-old's first feature film appearance comes after spending two years at Stagecoach Bearsted, a performing arts school for children aged between four and 18.

Josefine had the chance to work with director J.J. Abrams for two hours on set at Slough's Pinewood Studios, who was said to be very impressed with her skills.

The ensemble cast includes the late Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac and Ridley, who plays the older version of Josefine's character.

The pair met in the hair and makeup trailer and spent time looking in the mirror together to see how similar they looked.

Mum Anitra Irrera said of the experience: “In general, attending Stagecoach has made her aware of how much she likes acting.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

"It has also helped her with her confidence and performing in front of a crowd. [Her teachers] gave her some valuable tips.”

The youngster will continue taking classes at the drama school with the hope of another film role arriving in the future.

Stagecoach Bearsted principal Shane Rising said: "We are all very proud of Josefine for being cast in this role.

"At Stagecoach our goal is to provide every child with Creative Courage for Life, and there's nothing more courageous than working on a film as iconic as Star Wars.

"Josefine has been a promising student and we are excited to see where she goes from here."

Teacher Sara Collins added: "In class, Josefine has grown in confidence and has a great talent for acting.

"It is so exciting to see her in a major film, and we are all very proud of her.”

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