When I saw the first trailer for CINDERELLA, I immediately recognized Lily James as Cinderella. I was so excited since I’m a huge fan of Downton Abbey and her role as Lady Rose. I couldn’t wait to see the movie.
Disney invited me to Los Angeles on an all-expenses paid press trip, in exchange for my coverage. All opinions are my own.
Then, I was invited to the blogger press trip to CINDERELLA and felt like I had won the lottery – how lucky is that?! When I learned that I was going to have the opportunity to meet and interview Lily James, I was a little star-struck and so fantastically excited to meet such a talented actress from my favorite television show.
First, I must tell you that I caught a glimpse of Lily James’ inner beauty at the World Premiere of CINDERELLA. After the movie, she was walking out of El Capitan Theatre and into the lobby. A little girl went up to her and talked with her. Lily James stopped and talked with her for quite a while, with a genuine interest in her and smile. Later, I found out that the girl said to her that she was sorry that she lost both her parents in the movie. Listen to how Lily responded:
Interview with Lily James – Cinderella
Being the Downton Abbey fan, I could see how Lily’s work in this show reflected in her role as Cinderella. I just had to ask her, even if I did flub up my question a little out of nervousness! 🙂
Q: Did your role as Lady Rose in Downton Abbey and training through the historic adviser play any part in your role as Cinderella in this film?
Listen to Lily James’ response:
Yeah, I think that that was set in the, from doing the period there’s a way that you stand and there’s a sort of an etiquette and a grace, I think that I wanted, I really wanted her to be, like. From the animation there a few things and one of them was her physicality like I wanted it. In a real way for Cinderella to be graceful and, um, and I think that, w–, it helped from doing, from doing Downton. I also think, in a way, I–, I, ‘cause I shot, we shot this a year and a half ago so before the final series, which I think just, finished airing last night, right?
And I think, Ella influenced that series of Rose a bit, it was like, Rose became so nice, and I was like, ‘ oh no, have I got them mixed up?’ Um, and the dancing and, but, but, wh—what was nice with Cinderella was that, there was a, a period and th–, but in the fairy tale world it was much looser, so, you did–, I didn’t feel as bound by, sort of, a, a, sort of style.
One of the first images that I found remarkably beautiful in CINDERELLA was with Cinderella riding her horse. It turns out that learning to ride was one of the things Lily James had to do to prepare for the movie.
Q: How did you prepare yourself, leading up to the beginning of filming to be Cinderella?
Listen to Lily James’ reply:
Um, well, uh, first of all I started horse riding lessons ‘cause I’d never ridden before. Um, and, when I first met Ken early on after he cast me he was like, ‘so, how do you feel about horse riding?’ and I was like, ‘[GASP] great, um.’ And, um, and so I start–, and I had to bare back as well so I was going, every time, every second I wasn’t filming Downton, I was at this farm learning to ride. Um, and then I did yoga, to sort of try and feel in my body and, you know, graceful and breathe properly.
Cinderella’s dress is incredible in every imaginable way. Of course, we had to ask about it!
Q: Can you tell us about your experience with the dress, how you felt when you first saw it, you tried it on, what it was like.
Hear Lily James’ response:
The dress is insane. When I first put it on, I, um, there’s a scene from Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts where she looks, she puts this dress on and she looks in the mirror and, I think Richard Gere is looking really handsome somewhere and she just goes like swoosh, swoosh. She makes this sound and I put it on and I felt like Julia Roberts, it was just the best feeling ever. Um, and, um, I, I, I was so nervous about this bit of the movie ‘cause it’s the bit where she’s the princess. It’s the, it’s like the moment, you know, and, and I think, ‘how can anyone live up to that?’
Really, you know, it’s this fairy tale, it’s this sort of thing that’s very far removed from me. And then I put on that gown and I just felt transformed and it felt like a suit of honor. Um, but, it was really hard to wear and it was incredibly tight and incredibly, um, it had a life of it’s own basically.
Q: Was the dress heavy?
Yeah, it was really heavy. It was like crazy heavy and it pulled down on my waist and it was also, it took about twenty minutes to get in and twenty minutes to get out. It was like, it was kind of cool because it was almost like a ritual every morning. I’d have my dress I would, we’d start from the very bottom and slowly I’d, sort of, it, it would take a bit of time, we’d have some music on. But, the only thing was if I needed to toilet. And, it would like, you know, you’re always so rushed when you’re filming so it would be like a forty minute break, so the crew would be like, ‘god, where’s Lily?’
Like, and so, in the end me and Helena had same problem so in the end, we had, we had these like port-a-loo’s that we’d like put under us. And it was like the most unglamorous thing ever. Um, so Helena and I would sometimes be, like, in our tent and be next door and be both using the port-a-loo’s at the same time.
What a down to Earth person to talk about port-a-loo’s in such a fancy role as Cinderella!
It was such an honor to interview Lily James. She is as beautiful in person as she is in her character in CINDERELLA!
We also had the chance to get our group photo taken with Lily James!
Don’t forget CINDERELLA opens in theaters March 13, 2015!