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ALLURE – It’s Wednesday at 3 p.m., and Lily James is handing me a shot of Patrón XO Cafe, a sticky coffee-infused tequila that goes down way easier than it should. “It’s good, isn’t it?” the actress asks after we toss them back. “I much prefer it to, like, tequila-tequila.” She licks her lips. “I find that really drinkable.”

We’re at a pub in Finsbury Park, a neighborhood of North London that isn’t known for being particularly posh, and since James has the luxury of an afternoon off, it feels appropriate to day-drink. It started with a few frames of bowling next door at Rowans Tenpin Bowl, then some pints, then talk of something called a “strawpedo,” where you reportedly suck Smirnoff Ice out of a bottle as quickly as possible. Thankfully, this pub, a typical British working-class spot called the Twelve Pins, doesn’t serve Smirnoff Ice. So instead, we’re slamming back shots of tequila.

Here’s what you’re probably thinking: Isn’t Lily James known as a good-girl actress? She’s doing shots on a Wednesday afternoon in a dingy pub? Didn’t she play Cinderella?
And yes, James is exceedingly nice and noticeably polite. The 29-year-old actress has cultivated a career playing kind protagonists in period pieces like Downton Abbey and the upcoming Netflix drama The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and she embodied one of the most iconic fairy-tale princesses in Disney’s live-action adaptation of Cinderella. Her characters always overcome the odds, get the guy, and live happily and sweetly ever after. There’s a reason no one writes anything negative about James — because how could you? But public perception, filtered through Instagram and TV and the press, isn’t always a representation of the truth. The reality is that James is like any person, complicated and layered. One minute she’s recounting her work as a patron of the North London branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and the next she’s telling a story about being recognized in a bathroom line at the Glastonbury Festival at 5 a.m. You can be a good person and still do shots in the afternoon.

When James first started working as an actress, after graduating from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London in 2010, she didn’t feel quite as pigeonholed as she does now. Her work in theater was far edgier than the women she embodies these days onscreen, and ultimately it was being cast as Cinderella that tipped the scales toward always being seen as the good girl. She’s ventured off course, particularly in last year’s Baby Driver, but James always seems to come back (or be pulled back) to the amiable blonde heroine.

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Support Red Nose Day USA and Best Friends Animal Society and go to the London premiere of ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ to meet the cast.

OMAZE – You’re going to dance, jive and have the time of your life at the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Pack your favorite pair of overalls, because you and a friend are off to London to hang with the cast and see the highly anticipated sequel before anyone else. First, your very own hair and makeup squad will get you red carpet ready. Then, you’ll share a celebratory toast with Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Dominic Cooper and more of the cast. (We can’t promise Meryl will be there, but our fingers AND toes are crossed for you.) After that, you’ll catch the premiere with writer Richard Curtis, hopefully dance in the aisles, and meet up with Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth. One more thing: You also score tickets to Mamma Mia! the musical. The winner—you—takes it all! Flights and hotel included.

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Movies

DEADLINE – Baby Driver star Lily James is shifting gears and is set to test her singing talent in Universal’s upcoming movie musical sequel Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! She will join returning Mamma Mia! cast members Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, and Christine Baranski.

James will play the role of “Young Donna” to Streep’s present-day Donna as the film goes back and forth in time to show how relationships forged in the past resonate in the present.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! reunites producers of the original film, Littlestar’s Judy Craymer and Playtone’s Gary Goetzman. Craymer was also the creator and producer of the smash-hit stage musical. Ol Parker (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) is set to write and direct the sequel. Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus will return to provide music and lyrics and serve as executive producers. Universal’s Senior Vice President of production Kristen Lowe and Creative Executive Lexi Barta will oversee production for the studio.

The sequel, which is slated for a July 20, 2018 release date, comes 10 years after the initial film, which grossed more than $600 million worldwide. The movie musical was set on the Greek island of Kalokairi and based on the iconic songs of Swedish supergroup ABBA.

In addition to starring in the smash summer hit Baby Driver, James is known for the titular role in Disney’s live-action Cinderella. She can be seen in the Focus Features’ forthcoming Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour and recently wrapped the modern Western Little Woods as well as the drama Guernsey.