Lily attended the Saks Fifth Avenue Cinderella-inspired shoe collection Launch on March 9, 2015 in New York City.

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”