In rural Somerset, where grassy knolls tumble toward the Welsh coastline, there sits a small, flat-topped mesa over six hundred feet tall—Solsbury Hill—it’s on this mound of profundity that eagles fly out of the night, and where fleeting voices may be heard. It’s also the title to actress Billie Lourd’s most recent of obsessions: “I’m really into Peter Gabriel right now. I’m feeling him and ‘Solsbury Hill.’ Is that weird? I wake up to that [song] every morning and it’s like a breath of fresh air.”
It’s a balmy afternoon in Larchmont, L.A., the air less than fresh, and we’ve just walked to a local café to find outdoor seating; a prime people-watching location with a side of conversation. “Like all kids, I grew up wanting to be a neurosurgeon,” Lourd smirks, “But really, genuinely, I found it interesting.”
Obviously and earnestly so, Lourd is not like most kids, as she playfully puts it. The daughter to film icon Carrie Fisher and esteemed Hollywood agent Bryan Lourd, one can assume Lourd’s parents happily welcomed her to the family business. But to assume anything of her and her family would be selling them short.
“I always secretly wanted to act, but my parents didn’t want me to, at all. I went to performing arts camp and lied to them about why I was going. I said I was going to knit,” she laughs. “I made some pretty damn good scarves while being in The Music Man.”
It wasn’t until Billie Lourd was invited onto the set of 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens that her natural talent on-screen—in a minor role as “Lieutenant Connix”—became readily apparent: “I go there [on set] and I’m really comfortable, like my normal self; singing Jersey Boys and acting like a crazy person,” she says between sips from her iced tea straw. “My mom came up to me after the first day and was like, ‘Hey, you had a great day today.’ I told her how fun it was and she said, ‘Most people don’t feel like that. That’s very unique. You should really think about doing this.’”
And “doing” it, she is. Already slated to reprise Connix in Star Wars: Episode VIII,slated fro release next year, Lourd is best known for her role as the peculiar “Chanel #3” in Fox’s hit series, Scream Queens. Donning furry earmuffs as an homage to her mother’s double-bun of Star Wars infamy, Lourd’s ever-indifferent character says exactly what everyone’s thinking—no sugarcoating. These traits don’t seem like too much of a stretch from her natural disposition: “People say, ‘She only got that [role] because of her mom.’ Yeah, yeah I did.” Lourd admits with sincerity, “But what would you have done if you got offered a role in Star Wars? Say ‘no?’ That’s even more pretentious.”
With more success, comes less anonymity, perhaps even more so in Lourd’s case. “I don’t mind [the scrutiny]. As long as I’m a good person, have good morals, and I’m doing the right thing it’s okay if I say ‘shit’ or make little mistakes.” So what’s over the hill for Lourd? “Act, write, direct. I play music, so I’d love to release an album, open a fried chicken restaurant, start a clothing line for short people, and I want some kids. Is that too much?”