From Lady to Princess, Lily James Dons ‘Cinderella’ Role
(l-r) Lily James is Cinderella and Cate Blanchett is the Stepmother in Disney's live-action feature CINDERELLA. ©Disney Enterprises. CR: Jonathan Olley.

(l-r) Lily James is Cinderella and Cate Blanchett is the Stepmother in Disney’s live-action feature CINDERELLA. ©Disney Enterprises. CR: Jonathan Olley.

By ANGELA DAWSON

Front Row Features

HOLLYWOOD—Lily James knows a little something about playing beautiful, elegant characters from a bygone era. After all, she stars in the smash hit Julian Fellowes-penned TV series “Downton Abbey,” as Lady Rose MacClare Aldridge. She now sets forth into the fantasy world of Disney’s live-action “Cinderella” in the title role.

The 25-year-old Brit recently spoke about the role, in which she plays Ella, the orphaned daughter of a farmer, whose widowed second wife (a frightening Cate Blanchett) treats her like a servant. While out in the forest one day, she meets a handsome horsebacked fellow who calls himself Kit, with whom she has an instant connection. She doesn’t realize, of course, that Kit is the prince of the kingdom.

Later, she wants to attend a fancy ball hosted by the prince (Richard Madden), who is determined to find the mysterious girl he met in the forest, but thanks to her mean stepmother she doesn’t have anything appropriate to wear. Voila! Her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) shows up and not only dresses Cinderella to the nines in a drop-dead gorgeous blue gown (created by Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell), but also finds her transportation to the grand soiree at the palace. Dancing ensues. A glass slipper is left behind. And an exhaustive search to find the owner commences.

The blond, brown-eyed actress recently spoke here about taking on the classic fairy tale princess role, becoming a Disney princess and what’s ahead for the now married Lady Rose on “Downton Abbey.” Dressed in a Spring-like black and white short-sleeved sweater top and skirt ensemble, James is very much as elegant and poised as the characters she often portrays on the screen.

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