Interviews Photoshoots

TOWN & COUNTRYWhen I sat down to talk to Lily James, I found that it was impossible to be cynical about the value of enchantment,’ says Andrew O’Hagan, who interviews our cover star for Town & Country’s inaugural issue. The Surrey-born actress, best known for her role as Lady Rose, the loveable, naughty niece to Lord and Lady Grantham in Downton Abbey, battled the elements for our covershoot at Boughton Monchelsea Place, an Elizabethan manor house in Kent, dressed in Ralph Lauren.

James confesses that her own relationship with Lady Rose MacClare has been a love-hate one: ‘She seemed shallow. But she changes. Even though her values were about privilege and having a good time, she learned to care about bigger things.’

James is soon to star in another transformative role, as the title part in Disney’s Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh. ‘It’s wonderful to have these chances,’ she says. ‘I would like to be a decent example to other girls and that probably means believing in their belief in me. I want to respect the dream we’re all having.’

She is an actress on the brink of superstardom, but with true British modesty maintains: ‘I never want to be one of those actors who sits around pretending it isn’t totally exciting.’ We agree Lily, it’s all very exciting.

Read the full interview with Lily James in the June 2014 issue of Town & Country, out now.

Interviews Videos

Behind the scenes video of Lily for Town & Country UK’s June cover shoot!

Interviews Videos

Cinderella Interviews Movies

Sizzling Downton Abbey star Lily James was involved in a blazing drama of a different kind during the filming of Disney’s live-action Cinderella extravaganza when a sumptuous wedding gown she was wearing caught fire.

The 24-year-old had been shooting a scene at Pinewood studios. The bridal dress — with its voluminous skirts, three miles of hemming and covered in Swarovski crystals — is a work of art in its own right. It covers so much square footage the actress can’t always see what’s in front of her.

She was led into her dressing room (a large tent in a corner of the vast 007 sound stage) and her hem brushed against a heater and began smouldering.

‘It had turned really cold and someone had put a three-bar heater a bit too close to where Lily was going to sit on a stool,’ explained distinguished costume designer Sandy Powell.

‘Luckily, just a segment of the silk dress got burnt. Thank God Lily wasn’t harmed,’ added Powell who has collected three Oscars and two Baftas for her screen creations.
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Interviews Videos

Nice-as-pie Lily James, who plays Lady Rose in Downton Abbey, talks through her stunning cover shoot for Tatler January 2014. She wore Dior, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino and Simone Rocha, and was photographed by Marc Hom and styled by Deep Kailey.

Downton Abbey Interviews Television

The current season of Downton Abbey is set to come to a close this weekend and Lily James has now spoken out about her time on the show, saying that she would “love” to star in a fifth series.

Michelle Dockery previously revealed that the “core cast” had all signed up for another run and Lily, who plays Lady Rose MacClaire has now told Digital Spy that she would also love to return.

“I’d love to [do it],” the actress told the website, adding: “I’m really enjoying developing her.

“In the first year, she was in a bit of a whirlwind, a bit intense, so it’s been really fun playing her this [fourth] series to find lights and shades and see the more sensitive side to her.”

Lily also added that she was intrigued by the possibility of a Downton Abbey movie.

“Why not?” said the 24-year-old. “[Though] our Christmas special is two hours anyway, so I guess they’d have to do something a bit different with it.”
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Interviews

A FORMER Tring pupil is filming the lead role for a movie directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Lily James will play Cinderella in the Disney film, alongside Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother, Game Of Thrones star Richard Madden as Prince Charming and Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother.

The 24-year-old studied Musical Theatre at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, where she boarded until she was 18.

She credits her time there as giving her the foundations of a successful acting career, gaining confidence and self esteem.

She counts a group of Tring Park alumni as her best friends. Lily said: “I am still amazed at the success I have had since leaving Tring Park. I credit my time there as really giving me the grounding and acting skills to succeed in the world of entertainment. They encouraged me to be confident in my abilities, while nurturing my dedication and drive for acting.”

Since leaving Tring she has worked consistently; appearing in the film, the Wrath of the Titans, TV shows such as The Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Just William and performing in the stage production of Playhouse by Martin Crimp at the Richmond Orange Tree theatre and in Othello with The Wire actor Dominic West in Sheffield.
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Downton Abbey Interviews Television

Actress Lily James is equally enthusiastic. She was in a cafe when she found out the part of Lady Rose would be returning for the new series: ‘I somehow managed to spill my drink I was so excited,’ she smiles.

‘At first, it was scary to be joining a show that is so brilliant and wonderful and that everyone loves. But within the fi rst episode, I began to feel a part of it. Everyone is so generous and warm.’

Twenty-four-year-old Lily has particularly valued the friendship of Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary. ‘I don’t know what I would have done without her. We went to the same drama school and she has been giving me lots of help and advice. She is great at keeping a sense of humour about it all.’

(…) His admiration is shared by Lily James. ‘I think Dame Maggie is one of the greatest actresses ever. To be with her on set, watching her, is a gift for any young actress.’

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