MOVIEFONE – Disney’s “Cinderella,” opening this week, is a sumptuous period fantasy, full of dazzling costumes, eye-popping sets, and at one genuinely revelatory performance in the form of Lily James, who plays the title character, going from being a sooty nobody to, thanks to some magic slippers, the most sought-after maiden in the entire kingdom.

James’s performance is subtle but dynamic. She’s able to craft a character whose strength comes from within, whose life isn’t dictated by her wicked stepmother (played, gloriously, by Cate Blanchett) or the Prince himself (Richard Madden from “Game of Thrones”). She’s determined and self-sufficient even before her Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) grants her one magical night out.

We got a chance to speak to James about how she was able to make the character her own, how she initially wanted to play one of the wicked stepsisters, what it was like working with Cate and director Kenneth Branagh, and what her role in the blood-soaked “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” looks like.

Moviefone: Were you involved with the Mark Romanek version?
Lily James: No, I came onboard the Branagh version. And, actually, I originally auditioned for one of the sisters.

Oh, so you didn’t think playing Cinderella was even a possibility?
Well, I don’t know. I got the call for the sister and I was actually really excited to play that part. I love playing the quirky or funny or offbeat characters where you don’t have to think about being pretty or nice and I was like, “Yay!” And then when I was there, the casting director was there and since I had blonde hair for “Downton Abbey,” and she said, “Oh, why don’t you read for Cinderella while you’re here?”

Did you always want to do a fairy tale?
I loved fairy tales growing up. So I had my dress-up costume with the little plastic royal slippers and thankfully I had two brothers who stopped me from being too princess-y. Belle was always my favorite. I loved her spirit of adventure. And, I think that, as the Disney princesses have progressed over the years, they’ve become really wonderful, spirited girls, and I liked that.

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Yesterday (March 9), Lily was guest on “Late Show with David Letterman” and she talked about being recognized for ‘Downton Abbey’ isn’t always a good thing.

Public Appearances > 2015 > Visits “Late Show With David Letterman” – Show

I have added several high quality pictures of Lily visiting the “Late Show With David Letterman” yesterday in New York City.

Public Appearances > 2015 > Visits “Late Show With David Letterman”
Interviews Videos

Interviews Videos

HUFFINGTON POST – Lily James is ready to stop talking about the size of her waist in Disney’s new adaptation of “Cinderella.”

The actress previously defended her figure as “naturally quite small” after users on social media accused the “Cinderella” filmmakers of digitally altering her body to make it thinner. James told HuffPost Live’s Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani on Monday that the focus on her waist is symptomatic of the troublesome way society discusses women’s bodies.

“On one hand it’s upsetting, on the other hand it’s just boring,” James said. “Why do women always get pointed at for their bodies? And why is this whole thing happening and I’m constantly having to justify myself? International Women’s Day has just gone, and it just feels just a bit sad that it’s still happening. You know, I’m very healthy and I always have been.”

“Cinderella” director Kenneth Branagh told HuffPost Live last week that James’ waist was not altered and looked tiny because of lighting and the “natural body physics” of wearing a corset. James also praised the “beautifully-designed” costume and said she “felt like a princess” when she was wearing it.

Richard Madden, who plays Prince Charming in the film, corroborated the insistence that James’ waist appears onscreen exactly as it is in real life.

“I can vouch for Lily on this. That’s her real waist,” Madden told HuffPost Live. “I held it, I know how tiny it was. And she did eat. She eats like a boy.”

Interviews Videos

AOL BUILD – Last week we hosted Cinderella director Kenneth Branagh. This week his stars join us to talk about Disney’s new lush and live-action big screen fairytale. Downton Abbey’s Lily James is the enchanting Cinderella and Game of Throne’s Richard Madden is her Prince Charming in a film adaptation sure to sweep the audience off their feet. Interview at AOL HQ in NYC for AOL BUILD.


Lily and Richard discuss ‘Cinderella’ for the AOL BUILD Speaker Series on March 9, 2015 in New York City.

Public Appearances > 2015 > AOL BUILD Speaker Series: ‘Cinderella’