i-D – If a dream is a wish your heart makes then Lily James must have the biggest heart of all. Starring in the lead role of Cinderella, in Disney’s latest smash hit (no seriously, its global box office taking now stands at over $336m) the Downton Abbey star has been casting a spell over everyone she meets. From her endearingly goofy laugh to her warm approachability, she’s even more likable than the character she plays.
With Kenneth Branagh in the director’s chair, Game of Thrones’ deceased King of the North, Richard Madden, as her prince, and Cate Blanchett as her evil step mother (just don’t ask her about cats), the family flick already boasts quite a dreamy cast. However, it has not been without its fair share of controversy, with a group of disgruntled feminists criticising Lily’s tiny corseted waist (you should see the size of her feet…)
Yes, Cinderella is about a girl who relies on a man to save her, but it’s also a tale of enchantment, magic and happy endings, can’t we just leave it at that? In a world where we’ve become almost too politically correct and where we’re all too eager to challenge, undermine, and unpick, something as removed from reality as a Disney film about a glass slipper, magic mice and transforming pumpkins might just be the antidote we need.
How did you get involved with the film?
I actually auditioned for the role of Anastasia. I went in and had my best stepsister act ready. But when I was there they said I should read for Cinderella, as I’d dyed my hair blonde and then it kind of went from there and I fell in love with the part. I felt that this version of her was very bold and strong.
What was it like working with Kenneth Branagh?
Amazing. I’m actually going to do a play with him next year with Richard Madden. We’re doing Romeo and Juliet. It was my first big film so it was really nice to have such a kind, generous and very specific director, with such a big heart. He’s very passionate, but he also led me through very carefully so I felt very supported.
He’s quite old school in terms of his acting method, to most he’s Mr Shakespeare. Was this the style of acting you leant towards under his direction or were you able to have a bit more freedom?
I mean yeah, when you work with a director it’s got to be collaborative. You want to bring in your own self and ideas to your part and work together. Hopefully he cast me because he likes what I did with the part. He’s not dictatorial with his directing. But I do think that the epic telling of Shakespeare’s stories translates really well into fairy tales. And actually Ken I think gave the same attention to detail as he would in any Shakespeare play, too.Continue Reading
I have added scans of Lily in the latest issue of HighEnd Teen magazine. Make sure to check them out in our gallery, enjoy!
Magazine Scans > 2015 > HighEnd Teen (April)
Lily and director Kenneth Branagh are in Japan to promote ‘Cinderella’. I have added HQ/MQ photos from the press conference on April 7, 2015 in Tokyo.
Public Appearances > 2015 > ‘Cinderella’ Press Conference (Tokyo)
We are celebrating Lily’s birthday today! I would like to wish her a happy birthday, I hope that she will enjoy this very special day with her loved ones. 2015 has already been a big year for Lily with the release of Cinderella but we can only hope that many other great projects will follow. I wish her the best in her career and in her life. Feel free to send your wishes on her instagram account and on twitter using #HappyBirthdayLilyJames. (gifs)
I have added three new images from ‘Cinderella’, with Lily in her beautiful ball gown and another one with her co-star Richard Madden.
Film Productions > Cinderella (2015) > Various
TV3 – Lily James felt inspired playing Cinderella.
Lily James was bowled over by Cinderella’s truthful retelling of the classic story.
The British actress plays the title role in the sumptuous film, which is favourite among both children and adults.
Most little girls want to be princesses when they grow up and Lily jumped at the chance to portray one. She particularly loved playing someone so inspiring.
“I think it’s sort of what we were talking about; this strength can come from within, this dignified strength and grace and also that in doing so she finds such joy and happiness in her life regardless of her situation, even if it’s just talking to little Gus Gus [mouse],” Lily smiled to Cover Media. “But when I read the script I was sort of bowled over by the fact that it was such a truthful retelling of the fairytale without any tricks or twists really. It felt really strong and a girl I really wanted to play, and [I] felt inspired playing her.”
Directed by Kenneth Branagh, Cinderella boats an A-list cast including Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Richard Madden.
The theme of empowerment wasn’t lost on Kenneth, who embraced the message and hopes others will to.
“It feels as though it’s a different kind of empowerment but I think that it is empowerment and I think that she makes proactive choices. Even if those choices are sometimes to be thoughtful and to be considerate. So it’s a question maybe of reconsidering the notions of action and empowerment,” Kenneth mused.
BELFAST TELEGRAPH – Lily James believes there is nothing braver than dealing with growing up.
The Downton Abbey star appears in Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, where she takes on the fairytale title role.
One of the biggest themes is courage, prompting Lily to reflect on times she’s had to combat nerves in her own life.
“I think every day you have to be brave, dealing with growing up,” she reasoned to Time Out London.
“I’d say loss is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with.”
Of course romance is also a huge theme for Cinderella and her prince, with Lily confirming she’s a believer in true love.
The 25-year-old also addressed criticism from feminists, arguing that her character is actually a very strong woman.
“Yes! She’s definitely gutsy,” she smiled. “Right at the end, when the prince comes to rescue her, rather than going downstairs and falling into his arms, she’s like, ‘Right, I’m this girl. I’m not a princess. This is who I am.’ It’s all on her terms. It’s hopelessly romantic, but she’s empowered. Whether she’s a feminist or not depends on what your idea of a feminist is.”
And strong women play a huge part in Lily’s life, with the star crediting Downton co-stars Michelle Dockery and Laura Carmichael with giving her support and advice.
“[They] have been wonderful at helping me deal with all the pitfalls,” she gushed. “They’ve got such wit and intelligence.”
BBC – The star of the new big budget Cinderella movie has been talking to Newsround about what’s it’s like to play a fairytale princess.
Lily James plays the lead role in Disney’s latest version of the story and says it was a dream come true.
Cinderella first hit the big screen in the 1950s, as an animation, and now it’s back in the cinema with real-life stars and costumes – and a seven-minute (sort of) sequel to Frozen too.
In total, 1.7 million crystals were used to make the costumes and recreate the magical fairy tale world.
But what exactly goes into creating a wardrobe worthy of a blockbuster?
Jenny went behind the scenes of the Cinderella premiere to find out.