Lily Collins has won the actors lottery. I say this because after starring as Sandra Bullock’s daughter in The Blind Side, Collins jumped into filming director Scott Stewarts Priest alongside Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet, Karl Urban, and Maggie Q. A short time after that, she starred alongside Taylor Lautner in director John Singleton’s Abduction, which gets released this September. While that would be great for almost any actor, in the past two weeks she’s been named the frontrunner to play Stormy Llewellyn in director Stephen Sommers Odd Thomas, and she landed her biggest role to date: Snow White in director Tarsem Singh’s The Brothers Grimm: Snow White. Needless to say, Collins is about to lose her anonymity.
At this past weekend’s WonderCon, I got to sit down with Collins for an extended video interview. We talked about attending her first convention, how she got into acting, her character in Priest, filming Abduction and what it was like to work with Lautner and all his Twilight fans, what’s up with Mortal Instruments (talks about how she is tweeting as her character and the movie is filming in 3D), and we end the interview talking about getting cast as Snow White and what can people expect. She reveals they start filming in June and she will be training for “quite a bit of fighting.” Hit the jump to read or watch the interview.
Here’s the time index. Further down is what she said about Abduction, Mortal Instruments and The Brothers Grimm: Snow White. At the bottom of the page is the video interview.
- Collins was busy shooting Abduction in Pittsburgh while Comic Con was going on, so this is her first convention. If she could walk the convention floor, she would
- 1:10 – She comes from a creative family (her father is Phil Collins), and she has acted since she was 2 years old.
- 2:10 – Talks about her Priest character Lucy, who is not in the graphic novel.
- 3:25 – She visited the Starbucks near the Sony lot in costume as
- 4:00 – Talks about filming Abduction with John Singleton, Taylor Lautner, Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina, Michael Nyqvist, Maria Bello, Jason Isaacs
- 5:25 – Admires Lautner’s dedication to his many fans.
- 6:20 – Collins is a fan of the Mortal Instruments books, so she is very aware of the fan response to her casting.
- 7:05 – Stewart has talked to her about his vision for Mortal Instruments and filming in 3D.
- 7:40 – She is tweeting in character (@LilyAsClaryFray), and there is a Facebook page set up for her to interact with fans.
- 8:30 – She just found out about being cast as Snow White. It’s a “dream come true.”
- 9:15 – Collins discusses the fairy tale trend in movies. They are “Tarsem-ing” Snow White.
- 10:20 – They start filming Snow White this June in Montreal. She will be training for “quite a bit of fighting” that she’ll do in the movie.
Collins: I just finished shooting three months in Pittsburgh for Abduction. And again, completely different genre — action thriller, very Bourne Ultimatum-esque. Working with John Singleton, who is an incredible director, so enthusiastic and engergetic. Action phenomenon. Taylor Lautner, Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina, Michael Nyqvist, Maria Bello, Jason Isaacs — Oscar-nominated actors! To be surrounded by them, to learn from them was amazing. That was working almost everyday, high action, high energy. I was so excited when I heard they had shown the trailer and people loved it. I’m very excited about it.
Of course I have to ask you the question — I’m sure you’re not used to the paparazzi situation surrounding a certain actor that you work with. How was that? Or the fan interest, if you will?
Collins: It was amazing! We would be shooting in a small, small town in Pittsburgh and there was one night 600, literally, 600 people waiting outside our base camp just to say hi to him and get his autograph, or just have him wave. We finished shooting at about 4:35 in the morning. ANd he went out and signed every autograph. Said hi to every single person. For me, it was just watching someone appreciate their fans as much as their fans appreciate them. It really taught me a lot about maintaining that excitement, supporting the people support you, being humble, and embracing that. Yes, it was crazy to see 600 people waiting, but it was really nice to see what he did with them and how he treated them. Right now, I’m not used to that myself. I hope that one day, if I have to deal with that, I do it with the same grace.
THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS
What can you tell people about the movie?
Collins: I’m a huge fan of the series of books by Cassandra Clare, The Mortal Instruments. I’m a fan myself, so to be cast as the lead heroine is completely incredible. The fans reacted very positively to me being cast which, as a Twilight or Harry Potter franchise, when you read a book and you have someone in your mind or you have a vision and then they’re cast in real life, it can go either way. So I was very, very honored and happy that they were excited. I’m working with Scott again. Working with Screen Gems. After having seen footage from Priest and knowing that Scott has this amazing vision of creating an alternate world, I know that he’s going to conquer the world of Mortal Instruments. I’m so excited to be part of the process.
He just told me that he’s planning on filming in 3D. Did you know that?
Collins: I did. I was the first person cast in this just before Christmas. He was telling me all the amazing things he wants to do with it and the vision of it. For Priest, I saw the first footage yesterday in 3D, and to be able to see the way it looks in 3D and fully immerse yourself in that world through the 3D — it is exciting to know that they’ll do the same for Mortal because it is a world that you want to feel like you’re a part of. The 3D enables you to do that.
When you have a very popular book and you have very passionate fans, could you talk about how much you have to straddle the line between pleasing the fans, but also, you gotta make a movie?
Collins: Right. Well, I’m actually — I think Screen Gems is the first to do this — I’m tweeting as the character on Twitter and we have a Facebook page set up where I’m asking the fans questions about who they think would be could for casting, ideas that they have on images that I’m leaking from the studio about different set pieces. So we really want the fans to be as involved as possible while still maintaining the fact that we’re going to be creative. Yes, we’re going to have certain licensing — you know, our own take on things. But we want to make the fans feel just like I do as a fan, as involved as they can be, which I think is a really interesting perspective on it. Because they feel like they’re part of the process as well.
Are you prepared for people to say “Miss White”?
Collins: I know, it’s so weird. I literally found this out yesterday that I was cast as Snow White. I read for and met with Tarsem the day before. It happened within a 24-hour span. I got off the plane in San Francisco here and found out. So I woke up this morning completely still like, “Is that real? Am I really Snow White?” It’s a dream come true. To work with Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer and Tarsem is a complete dream.
There are three Snow White projects being developed, but you guys are the first. What do you think the reason is why everyone is talking about Snow White projects right now?
Collins: I think the big thing is the fairy tale. You know, Alice in Wonderland was the first, and then Red Riding Hood came about. It’s taking old folk fairy tales and retelling them in modern day. We’re still making it a period piece, and it’s not like we’re taking ours and making it edgy. We’re “Tarsem-ing” it. We’re going to create this whole new world based on his vistion. I think it’s just taking you out of everyday life, and everyone loves a good fairy tale. As you know, when one thing hits and it becomes popular, then you continue on. It’s like with the Greek goddesses and gods: that’s like Clash of the Titans and then Immortals. That’s a trend and now it seems to be that fairy tales are. But Snow White has always been one of my favorite fairy tales growing up. To be able to say, “I’m going to be Snow White” — it’s crazy. It’s an honor.
Did you find out already when you’re filming? Because I know you already have a release date.
Collins: I think we start filming in June, I believe. I think we’re shooting Montreal. They shot Immortals there, so [Tarsem] knows the area very well. That’s my next thing. I’m going to start training and go right into it. So it’s all fresh for me.
What does the training consist to get ready for Snow White?
Collins: Well, you’d be surprised. I think she does quite a bit of fighting in this movie. I think she goes from the very feminine version that you know to a very cool, empowered, confident girl who actually has to kick some butt.