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Metro Canada: Lily James dishes on her Cinderella moment

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 10.08.31 AMBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

The glass slipper fitting on Cinderella’s foot is at the core of the magic of the fairy tale. It is a plot point that cannot be removed. If you do the whole story falls apart.

Real life is different.

Lily James, star of the new Disney live action remake of the Brothers Grimm tale, says the Swarovski slipper she “wears” in the film didn’t fit.

“That is my English humour,” she says. “It didn’t fit anyone. It wasn’t that they just got the size wrong. It’s Swarovski Crystal so it would have broken. They had to CGI it onto my foot, which was a bit of a shame.”

The Downton Abbey star—she plays the rebellious Lady Rose on the hit show—is about to have her name intrinsically connected with the Disney princess, but at the audition she had her eye on another role.

“When you get the casting call for something they pick what part you’re going to go for and they wanted me for [step-sister] Anastasia,” she says. “I remember I wore this pink tie-dyed jumper that the casting director told me to burn. But I had blonde hair because of Downton and they said I should read for Ella.

“I was kind of up for playing the off centre part; the quirkier, funnier part. I paced the corridor for about twenty minutes and the breakdown of the part that Ken [Branagh] had given me kind of struck me. It said she had a generous spirit and a generous nature and an open heart and I think because I didn’t have time to over think I just went in and just read it. I think I was much better for it.”

Her first day on set she shot one of the film’s key scenes, the “love-at-first-sight” meeting between Cinderella and Prince Charming, played by Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden.

“Ken said, ‘How do you feel about shooting that scene first?’ Richard and I didn’t really know each other and Ken caught that nervous energy, that getting-to-know-you, butterflies-in-your-stomach thing. He caught it on camera and I think that was smart. It kind of sets up the whole movie. It feels in that moment that Ella is very strong.”

So how will Downton Abbey fans react to seeing her familiar face as Cinderella?

“I hope lovingly,” she laughs. “I didn’t think there were many similarities but some people have said they think are. I watched the film and in the first scene I thought, ‘Oh no! I’m playing Rose.’ Then thankfully I shed it.”

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