Since making her screen debut in The Blind Side opposite Oscar winner Sandra Bullock, Lily Collins has appeared in Priest with Paul Bettany and Abduction with Taylor Lautner.
In her new movie Mirror Mirror she portrays the iconic role of Snow White, opposite Julia Roberts as the wicked Queen and Armie Hammer as Prince Charming. She even gets to sing a song at the end of the movie, ‘mirroring’ her famous father, Phil Collins.
How did you feel when you were asked to play the role of Snow White?
When I first got the phone call it was on April 1st last year, April Fool’s Day, and it was too good of a joke to think that it wasn’t a joke. At first I was shocked and I thought it really was the best April Fool’s joke ever, but then I broke down crying, laughing and just screaming.
The original Snow White fairy tale is from an ancient tradition. How do you make a movie little girls will love but avoid the traps that women might find offensive nowadays?
I think visually being in those costumes, the little girl inside of me would just be in awe the whole time watching the film. But the way that we modernize Snow White was making her this modern day girl that can save the prince just as easily as the prince can save her.
She becomes a fighter physically and emotionally, and goes from this young wide-eyed innocent princess, that everyone grew up knowing, to a young woman who finds it within herself to fight for what she believes in.
She gives the prince a run for his money, while wearing these gorgeous outfits. So it proves you can still be that princess, but you can also have a lot of fight and feistiness within yourself.
Were there any physical challenges in doing the movie?
I had so many bumps and bruises. The overall environment of that forest had a lot of hills and a lot of places to trip and fall, and I’m the kind of person that falls going upstairs, so for me it was [more of] a challenge than having the big dresses and the corsets and the swords in my hand to maneuver around a space.
Could you talk about working with Julia?
[It was interesting] to be in a scene with someone that you grew up admiring so much, having a moment where you’re looking at somebody and they’re being so mean to you and all you want to do is smile and giggle because you’re so happy, but your job is to stay petrified.
It taught me a lot about having a poker face, which I never really had before.
It was an absolute honor and most of the things I learned from Julia were just by watching, and first and foremost she’s a mother, and I thought that was the most beautiful thing.
To go along with that, the fact that no matter whether you were in Craft Services, you were a grip, you were the DP, you were Tarsem, myself or Armie, she treated everyone the same and it was all about the team and how they functioned as a team to create this amazing project.
I would only hope to be able to be the same person that I am now if I get to be someone like Julia.
What kind of leader would you be?
I’m all about everyone voicing their own opinions and talking through things, so if I was going to be a leader of minions (she laughs) I would want to be one that they would be open to talking to and have fun with and at the same time take me seriously. I’d like to think I’d be a good leader, I’d like to get things done.
What was Armie like to work and fight with?
In real life he’s very much the same, that mixture of being goofy and funny and at the same time such a gentleman, almost regal in the way that he stands and makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the room.
Yet, you can start talking about anything and he knows something about what you’re talking about. It’s almost scary how smart he is.
We went through all this training together and he is a strong man. When it came to the sword fighting I’d ask him to tone it down a little because he was practicing with the stunt guys and we didn’t actually do the sequence together until the day before, so I’d have to remind him that I was a little smaller than [the person] he was practicing with.
Can you describe what your Prince Charming would be like, quality-wise?
A Prince Charming is someone that can make you laugh no matter what, someone that’s open to spontaneity and not closed-minded, someone that just by the thought of them makes you smile and that makes you feel like being you is enough.
With the last scene during the credits you’re singing, did you enjoy that part?
That was the most fun for me. I’ll never forget being in the sound booth with Tarsem just telling me to go for it and sing my heart out.
I didn’t have a voice the next day, but it was so worth it because I watched that back and I sang and danced in front of about 400 extras, didn’t care about anything else in the world but being there at that moment and everything I was saying and singing I truly felt within my whole being.
I can’t remember being happier than at that moment. It was the embodiment of everything I’d hoped to experience.