ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that each generation receives its own cinematic interpretation of Jane Austen’s most famous love story. So, naturally, when our headstrong Elizabeth Bennet and her gaggle of sisters next appear on screen, they’ll not only be hunting husbands, but fending off hordes of the undead. Based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s best-selling mash-up novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (out Feb. 5) recounts the unlikely romance between Lizzy (Lily James) and the haughty Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley), but the courtship takes place in a 19th-century English countryside where the “sorry stricken”—as the zombies are called in the book—have been roaming for more than 70 years, victims of a mysterious plague.

Director Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down) took over after a number of previously attached filmmakers (including David O. Russell, who had Natalie Portman slated to star) had moved on, and he chose to emphasize Austen over B-movie horror, advising his cast (which includes Game of Thrones stars Charles Dance as the kindly family patriarch and Lena Headey as a famed eye-patch-sporting warrior) not to mine the material for laughs. “The idea was that it was Pride and Prejudice set in this alternate world and then for everyone to play it straight,” Steers explains. “The movie’s big wink is that there is no big wink.” That news may come as a shock to fans of the over-the-top Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the last Grahame-Smith book to get a big-screen adaptation. So brace yourselves, James says. “It’s definitely not camp.”

It also means those corseted Bennet girls finally get to see some real action. “Rather than knitting and crocheting, they’re polishing muskets,” says James (Cinderella). And Lizzy, she says, is unlike any leading lady she’s ever played: “She’s the most badass zombie slayer there is.” Mr. Bennet would be so proud.

YAHOO – Lily James has revealed how she is looking to play more contemporary roles, where she can wear jeans and T-shirts.

The 26-year-old actress, who played Cinderella in Kenneth Branagh’s live-action remake and Lady Rose MacClare in ITV’s period drama Downton Abbey, will next star in BBC One’s War And Peace as Natasha Rostova.

But she admitted she is looking for a more modern part, saying: “I just want to feel really challenged, and push myself so I think the best way of doing that is by doing something completely different. I’ve done with period for a while, I think.

“But if the right director comes knocking you’ll do anything,” she continued, adding: “I’m saying jeans, no bra, T-shirt and a cigarette (is) much more like me.”

Paul Dano, James Norton, Jim Broadbent and Gillian Anderson will also star in the BBC’s small-screen adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel, which is expected to air on screens later this year.

Lily said: “It’s going really well. The director, Tom Harper, is amazing. It’s a beautiful adaptation and I’m really excited about it and it’s a really interesting character, such darkness.

“The character’s amazing and the journey she goes on, it’s quite a weird mental shift, to have gone from Canada promoting Cinderella to Lithuania being Natasha. It has been a really weird sensation for my mind. I feel a bit schizophrenic.”

Of her co-star James, the actress said: “I’ve known James [Norton] a long time. He did a play with one of my really good friends.”

Lily graces the cover of InStyle Australia. You can read an excerpt of her interview below. The July issue is on sale now!

INSTYLE – From “Downton Abbey” to Disney princess, the star’s Cinderella story is just beginning. In our latest issue, she opens up about her silver-screen debut and her dreams for the next chapter.

Meet Lily James. Though she graduated from drama school just four years ago, she’s already worked with the likes of Cate Blanchett, Dominic West, Maggie Smith, Rosamund Pike and Helena Bonham Carter. In other words, she’s red hot. In the July issue of InStyle (on sale now), James, 26, charms as she muses on the gruelling audition process for Cinderella, her new-found confidence on the red carpet (wearing Balenciaga, Dior, Prada et al.) and being a Jennifer Lawrence fangirl. Here’s a taste of what she has to say…

On filming Cinderella: “At one point, it all became too much and Helena Bonham Carter said to me, ‘Have one breakdown a week; it makes people remember that you’re human.’”

On taking advice from George Clooney: “When I met him, he said that when they’re casting, they genuinely look at your Twitter followers. I don’t know whether it makes me want to cry or think, ‘F*** it, if that’s the way the world’s going, then embrace it.’”

On escaping to Qualia on Hamilton Island: “It takes your breath away, it’s a perfect paradise. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park when I looked out onto the islands, expecting a dinosaur to fly out! I travelled to Whitehaven beach by helicopter and had a Champagne picnic, then went to the Great Barrier Reef. I have never seen anything like it.”

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THE RESIDENT – Lily James found fame with Downton Abbey, but Cinderella is a whole different level for the London actress – but, as the remake of the fairy tale hits cinemas, she tells us she’s ready for it.

Gazing down from glimmering billboards, sparkling in a cobalt blue ball gown with whirling golden locks and dazzling golden slippers, she’s every little girl’s dream in her guise as Cinderella. Sitting in front of me in a Central London hotel suite, Lily James wears a baggy cream shirt and dark harem pants, with her shaggy tawny hair tossed over one shoulder. Insistently cool. A galaxy from her fairytale alter ego.

Two seasons in as Downton’s flighty, feisty Lady Rose McClare, the rising 25-year-old, who grew up in the Surrey countryside, is already encountering incongruous press rumours. With the Disney spectacular now on release, it will only get worse (as proven when there was a real hoo-haa around claims her waist in the film was digitally shrunk). Bring it on, she says.

‘The stories they make up make me laugh,’ she snorts, twirling her hair between her fingers. ‘The funniest one was I was leaving the Groucho Club early one night because I had a play reading the next day. And I’d been there with all the Downton crew and literally didn’t drink. Because I was papped leaving, flashes going off everywhere and blinding me, the next day the story was I’d left in the early hours and apparently I was trollied. And that was only because I blinked from the flash because I couldn’t see. One blink and I’m a drunken mess.’ She claps her hands together in glee and grins. ‘I loved that. It made me laugh so hard.’

One can only hope this laissez-faire attitude remains. A relatively familiar face since joining Downton Abbey at the end of season three as rebellious Rose, the actress – who’s lived in East London since attending Guildhall in 2010 – will soon be an A-list household name after the release of Disney’s sumptuous reimagining of Cinderella.

Leading the £140 million epic – and with a cast including Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Madden, Derek Jacobi and a scintillating Cate Blanchett as a the nefarious wicked stepmother – is Lily ready for the harsh spotlight, or will she still be able to laugh it off?

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HELLO – Lily James has nothing but praise for her Cinderella co-star Helena Bonham Carter. Speaking while promoting the new Disney film, the 26-year-old said Helena was the perfect choice to play her fairy godmother.

HELLO! Online have two exclusive videos of the stars discussing their hugely popular new film, along with a peek at the moment where Cinderella sees her glass slippers for the first time.

Downton Abbey star Lily takes the leading role of Ella in the live-action remake of the Disney classic, which topped the UK box office in its week of release. In her moment of need Ella meets her fairy godmother, played by Helena. The actress is disguised as an old beggar before transforming into the iconic character audiences know and love.

Despite admitting that taking on the role was “tricky” because everyone knows what a fairy godmother is, Helena revealed that she had fun with the idea “that she might be not a totally efficient fairy godmother”.

Lily believes that the Harry Potter star is the best choice for the role, and said: “Helena is just wonderful and the perfect fairy godmother.”

Meanwhile the film’s director Kenneth Branagh said the character has “a fabulous dottiness”.

“She is amused by how difficult it is or isn’t to make a pumpkin turn into a carriage or a lizard into a coachman, while she’s in the middle of this rush to get Cinderella ready.”

One of the film’s most memorable moments includes Ella’s transformation as she prepares to go to the ball, including stepping into her famous glass slippers.

The iconic scene leads the fairy godmother to proclaim “I’m rather good at shoes”, while Ella expresses her shock at trading her ballet shoes for magical glass slippers.

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.

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