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Victoria Mahoney says Ava DuVernay helped her to become the first female ‘Star Wars’ director


 Ray Tamarra/Getty ImagesVictoria Mahoney, who is making waves as the first female director in Star Wars history, is opening up about how she landed the coveted spot as the second unit director for the upcoming film, The Rise of Skywalker.

In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, Mahoney reveals that she landed her new gig thanks to renowned filmmaker Ava DuVernay.

“It’s no secret to my peer group I’d been trying to break into the studio-franchise realm for 10 years,” Mahoney wrote. “Begging to simply get a meeting. Nada. Zilch. Nunca.”

Mahoney goes on to explain that when it came to finding help for the Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams decided to put his own calls in to find talent– which eventually led him to DuVernay.

“After numerous, widely circulated, almost identical lists of directors had landed on his desk, he decided to do outreach calls of his own,” she recalled. “When he phoned Ava DuVernay for her list, she said, ‘I happen to have a great list, J.J., but I’m not giving it to you. I’m giving you one name and one name only: Victoria Mahoney.’”

Mahoney then detailed the process of how she landed her history-making job, which included an email, a phone call and a three hour in-person meeting. She also praised Abrams for being willing to do something not often practiced in Hollywood.

“In Hollywood’s four decades of making top-tier franchise films, no one other than J.J. has stepped out of traditional hiring practices to take a risk on an outlier like me to helm their second unit,” she continued.

“Mind-blowing, right?” she adds. “Not one other filmmaker, producer or studio before him. Equally disturbing: No one else in that position of power has since.”

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