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An Interview with Cinderella’s Lily James: She’s Strong, Powerful, Beautiful from Within #CinderellaEvent

Disney provided me with an all expense paid trip to L.A. to attend the #CinderellaEvent in exchange for my coverage.  No other compensation is given and all opinions in my posts are 100% my own.  Disclosure Policy.
Photo- Louise Manning Bishop of
When I think of Cinderella, I think of beauty, grace, kindness and gratitude.  A princess every little girl desires to be.  Not because she is whisked away by Prince Charming but because after all she endures; she never loses hope and always remained kind.  After hearing Disney was making a live-action version of Cinderella (opening March 13th), I knew the actress they would cast had mighty big glass slippers to fill.  Meet Lily James, our Cinderella.

I had the chance to interview Lily last week and let me tell you, she was as graceful in person as she was on the big screen.  Lily floated into the room with such poise.  She was even a little humbled by her welcoming, after entering the room to 25 applauding bloggers, she stated with a shy smile, “There are so many people.”  And when she began answering our questions, I could tell right away why she was chosen for the part.  Cinderella, I mean, Lily James is as beautiful inside as she is out.  Take a peek at the interview:


How did you prepare yourself, leading up to the beginning of filming to be Cinderella?


First of all I started horse riding lessons because I’d never ridden before.  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.”  So, I started and I had to ride bare back as well.  I was going every second I wasn’t filming Downton, I was at this farm learning to ride.  Then I did yoga, to sort of try and feel in my body and, you know, graceful and breathe properly.


Photo- Disney
That was physically.  Then I was just working on the script, on the back-story.  When I met with Ken as well, he was like, “I want to know, does Ella sleep with the blinds open or closed, what does she dream about, you know, what’s her favorite food.”  He wanted to know, for me to know all those details so that I could sort of just exist on set being her. 
What is the message that Cinderella has for young girls today?
Our film, was being really faithful to the fairytale.  This is a girl that’s not sitting around waiting for a prince to come and save her.  She’s got this unbelievable strength and it doesn’t come from fighting or from what happens, it comes from within.   
She’s being the best version of herself and with such an open heart.  She does meet the prince not knowing who he is, he falls for her because she’s a strong, powerful, you know, beautiful from within.  That’s the idea. 


Photo- Disney
Can you tell us about your experience with the dress?


The dress is insane.  When I first put it on, there’s a scene from Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts where she puts this dress on and she looks in the mirror 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.  I was so nervous about this bit of the movie because it’s the bit where she’s the princess.  It’s the moment, you know, and I think, ‘How can anyone live up to that?’
It’s this fairy tale, it’s this sort of thing that’s very far removed from me.  Then I put on that gown and I just felt transformed and it felt like a suit of honor.  It was really hard to wear and it was incredibly tight, it had a life of it’s own basically. 
It was like crazy heavy and it pulled down on my waist and it took about twenty minutes to get in and twenty minutes to get out.  It was almost like a ritual every morning.  The only thing was if I needed to toilet.  You know, you’re always so rushed when you’re filming so it would be like a forty minute break, the crew would be like, ‘god, where’s Lily?’  Me and Helena had same problem so in the end, we had these like port-a-loo’s that we’d like put under us.  It was like the most unglamorous thing ever. 


Photo- Disney
Next to the dress, you think about the Glass Slippers.  Were they comfortable?  Were they really made out of glass?


They were really made out of Swarovski crystals, so, even more amazing.  And they’re so beautiful but, sadly, I hate saying this, but they don’t fit any human foot.  So, I’m glad it’s no foot, just not mine.  If it was just my foot that didn’t fit, I’d feel really un-Cinderella-y.  So, the prince is still looking for his princess.


How did it feel during the dance?  Did it feel like you were really at a ball?


The dance switched from being the most, sort of beautiful, romantic moment of my life, to being one of the most stressful and hardest.  The dress was so heavy and it ripped by basically if Richard looked at it; it was so delicate.  We learned the dance, we’d been doing it for months at Pinewood studios in London with this incredible choreographer.  Then suddenly they were like, ‘okay, the dress’ and I almost fainted, I thought, ‘the dress, of course, how are we gonna do this in the dress?’


Photo- Disney
I had a complete nervous breakdown. Richard had to like ice skate so he didn’t step on it.  He had to like slide his feet.  And five minutes later, the skirt would catch up.  There was a few takes where we ran it like real time.  I would start outside the doors, I’d knock on the doors, I came in, I walked down the steps, the music started, I walked towards Richard and we danced.


Photo- Louise Manning Bishop of
Cinderella is theaters March 13, 2015.
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