TORONTO STAR – Resilient Cinderella would have done just fine if the prince hadn’t shown up with that glass slipper, says British actress Lily James.

James, best known as free-spirited flapper Lady Rose MacClare Aldridge on TV’s period drama Downton Abbey, plays Cinderella in director Kenneth Branagh’s lavish and live-action version of Disney’s 1950 animation.

James spoke to the Star Thursday while in Toronto to promote the film, which opens Friday. “I think she would have been OK. I think she would have figured it out,” said James.

After all, Ella — soon to be renamed Cinderella — chooses to stay on as an unpaid servant despite horrible treatment from her stepmother Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and her nasty daughters (Holliday Grainger and Downton Abbey’s Sophie McShera) after her father’s death. “I think that within that structure of keeping it within a fairy tale context, she is in charge of her own destiny and that means she is a heroine,” said James.

Cinderella doesn’t leave because it’s her home and she wants to protect it and the work provided distraction from her grief, James explained.

James said she wanted to convey Cinderella’s “courage and kindness and inner strength” with her portrayal of the storybook character as she copes with difficulties. “She can get through life on her own terms, despite the fact she is staying (in the house) and find joy in her life,” said James.

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ZAP2IT – Lily James is ready to say goodbye to her “Cinderella” hair.

The 25-year-old Brit is a natural brunette, but she dyed her hair blonde for the role as the lead in Disney’s new live-action fairytale.

“I actually really like being blonde. It’s weird,” she tells Zap2it.

Fans likely know James best as a blonde, as she also dyed her hair to play Lady Rose MacClare on “Downton Abbey.” But she had to go back to brunette to play Elizabeth Bennet in the forthcoming “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” and she feels her locks have gone through the wringer.

“My poor hair,” she says with a laugh. “I’m sort of fed up with using my own hair when you’re filming because you have to put heat on it every day. I figure if it’s short, I have to wear a wig.”

Yes, that’s right: James is planning to go “really short” with her hair after she wraps her obligations with “Cinderella” — especially since she isn’t going to be on “Downton Abbey” next season. “I’m going to chop it all off and go back to brown because it’s damaged,” she says.

Lily’s version of the well known Cinderella’s song “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” is now available. You can buy the soundtrack on iTunes and Amazon.

Lily posed for another session of portraits to promote ‘Cinderella’ in Toronto.

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Studio Photoshoots > Portraits & Press Conferences > 2015: ‘Cinderella’ Portraits #2

USA TODAY – Here’s a fairy tale: Once upon a time, a spirit animal known to mortals as Cate Blanchett sits next to a newly anointed Cinderella (Lily James) under the bright lights of a ballroom. Tea service appears, like magic.

Suddenly, a discussion bubbles up from the cauldron: How does one build a career in Hollywood, the sort that can be held aloft for other girls, in a land where micro-sized outfits and male studio heads guard the gate to opportunity?

Blanchett considers. “I’m fortunate to have an old-fashioned agent,” says the actress, who revamps the evil stepmother in Disney’s new live-action Cinderella (in theaters Friday). She follows the role with that of a closeted lesbian in the anticipated 1950s drama Carol, and then journalist Mary Mapes in Truth, an upcoming film about Dan Rather’s final days at CBS.

“There are very few (agents) interested in building a career. But also you get talked to — as an actor, I imagine, but particularly as an actress — (as if) you are a puppet. And you get told what to do,” says Blanchett, 45. “You’re sort of sold this idea that you have no agency within your career. You don’t build a career yourself, you don’t make choices. And I think your career is built out of what you say no to as much as what you say yes to.”

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Thanks to Emily, I have been able to add high quality scans of Lily and Richard in the March 23 issue of People magazine.

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Magazine Scans > 2015 > People (March 23)

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Studio Photoshoots > Outtakes & Sessions > Session 051

JUSTJARED – Lily James and Richard Madden channel their inner Cinderella and Prince Charming in these new JustJared.com exclusive portrait session pictures.

The perfect pair star in the new live-action re-telling of the classic fairytale Cinderella, in theaters tomorrow! The movie is on track to have an amazing weekend at the box office, due in part to its stellar cast, which also includes Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, and more.

Lily spoke about taking on the iconic role of Cinderella.

“Well obviously every girl wants to be a princess…the idea is just so magical. But on top of that, it’s a dream role because Cinderella is so special and kind and unique. Plus, we have a great opportunity to create a whole life beyond the fairytale, which is already so beautiful as it is, but making it richer and giving each character their own specific back stories,” Lily said. “And I liked the fact that Ken Branagh wanted to keep it light and magical, much like a fairytale.”

Richard commented on what he hopes audiences walk away with after seeing the film.

“I think the element of strength from unity is something audiences will definitely respond to. This is a story about two people coming together who actually bring out the best in one another, and from that love comes strength. Hopefully audiences will leave the theater understanding just how powerful love is,” Richard said.