Until she gets a role she can really sink her teeth into, Lily Collins can seem like simply the latest ingénue to come off the Hollywood production line.
But in person Collins is luminous. Her creamy white skin (really) and dark eyes give a vixenish edge to the effervescent energy of a kid barely into her 20s who can’t hide her excitement at making it in the movies.
After losing out on the lead role of this year’s other Snow White film to Kristen (Twilight) Stewart, the daughter of 80s rock legend Phil Collins is humble and gracious, calling Mirror Mirror the film she was ‘destined’ to play. At the recent LA press day we asked her about her other career as a journalist and her future in the movie business.
Tarsem did a lot in camera on the set. How did that affect your experience of the shoot?
It was great because everything was physically there for us. The beast was a team of stunt men the green spandex suits, holding tennis balls and growling at me. It was interesting getting used to it – we all knew the men in the suits really well because they’d trained us. They’d be cracking jokes between takes and then all of a sudden they’re the scariest thing we’ve ever seen, so that was a little bizarre. But that was pretty much the only thing that we had to do that wasn’t there for us.
Did you have a lot of exposure to fairy tales as a girl?
My parents read fairy tales to me every night before bedtime. I grew up in the British countryside so I just ran around the garden pretending there was magic and fairies and I was part of the fairy tale. And Snow White was definitely one of my favourites.
You sing the end track in the film. Does that reveal a deeper ambition?
I did musical theatre and I love writing songs and singing. But doing a Bollywood number wasn’t first time I thought I’d do it properly. My passion is acting so if a role includes or involves singing that’ll be amazing and I’d love to explore it. But an album certainly isn’t my desire right now.
And you still work as a journalist?
I’m a journalist every day. I carry a pad and pen wherever I go and when I look for character traits for a new role I keep the core essence of a journalist. I’m genuinely interested and curious, I ask questions and I love meeting new people. I write a journal everyday as well.
Any desire to write or direct?
I would love to write. I started writing a screenplay recently because I love writing for newspapers and magazines and I always considered that so different to a screenplay but the true essence of a story can be told in so many different forms. So I’d definitely love to write something one day. And I love every angle and part of the business, whether it’s in front of or behind the camera. I’m always asking the crew questions because it’s fascinating to me and I would love to direct.
Any genres you really want to tackle?
I loved the comedic undertone in this film. This is all so new to me but I’d love a sweeping British drama period piece, a dark, disturbing and raw role and a comedy. I mean, it’s all over the place for me. I don’t want to be pigeon holed. I’d like to be able to try all sorts of things and find new bits about myself in the characters.
What makes a Prince Charming?
Someone that makes you laugh and makes you feel like being you is enough and that you’re special and who, when you think of that person you just smile.