It’s not every day you get to meet the fairest of them all, but at an event in Los Angeles, I was fortunate to get to sit down with Lily Collins, a.k.a. Snow White in the upcoming Mirror Mirror that also stars Julia Roberts as the evil queen in theaters March 30. At a round table interview with other mom bloggers, Lily gave the scoop on her close relationship with her own mother, what Julia Roberts is like as a mom, life as an iconic fairy tale princess and, well, the question on many of our minds: her eyebrows.
Did you feel any intimidation about playing such a iconic role as Snow White, because those are kinda big shoes to fill?
It is. I grew up in England in the countryside, and I would run around the yard kind of just making up my own fairytales in my head. And I think when it comes to fairytale characters, every young girl has their own interpretation of what a fairytale princess is and who she should be. Even if it’s the wrong hair color, it’s like, “I’m her, and that’s kind of my way of doing it.”
What was it like when you found out you were going to be Snow White?
When I found out that I got the role, I thought it was an April Fools joke, because it was on April 1st. I was in a hotel in San Francisco, I had auditioned the day before, met [Director] Tarsem that same night, flew to San Francisco to do WonderCon, and I had just got off the plane and I got the phone call. I thought to myself, “this is too fast, too weird. It’s April Fools.”
When I found out it wasn’t a joke, I screamed and I started crying and laughing at the same time. They were horrific tears, laughter, and screaming combined. I couldn’t believe it. It’s definitely bizarre seeing your face on a bus or billboard.
When you read the script, what did you think about it?
When you first hear her talking to a bird in an early scene, it’s very much that of a fairytale princess. But as you go on, Snow ends up evolving as she becomes this fighter, emotionally and physically, into a young woman who is someone that I hoped young girls would say, “That’s a friend of mine.”
And that idea that the prince doesn’t need to save the princess in the end was there from the beginning. And I thought that was cool. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the animated versions of fairytales. As a kid, I’d watch them over and over again. I knew every word, all the songs. I’m the kid that made my parents rewind every night.
So, Snow White goes on this journey and she finds her place in the world. Have you found your place in the world?
It became this life experience for me. This is the biggest film that I’ve done to date. It was the most I’d worked and trained and the most into a project I have immersed myself. And I truly felt that when I left there, I left this new young woman who felt like she had just accomplished something that singing a Bollywood number, sword fighting in these costumes, I never thought I’d be doing that.
And who has helped you [find your place]?
If I was to name a person that has helped me become who I am today, my mom. My mom and I are best friends. And there’s never been a topic that’s too awkward or too weird to talk about. She’s always made me feel really, really comfortable. And we share clothes. We go shopping together. I send her my scripts. We just communicate on pretty much everything.
And her there telling me that it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to try new things or you have the potential to do things above and beyond yourself that you don’t even know, that has truly propelled me kind of forward.
So how was it working with Julia Roberts? She’s an amazing actor. Did you learn anything from her, did it affect your confidence while you were shooting at all?
Yes, definitely. Our scenes together were interesting. The first scene I shot with Julia was where I’m yelling at her throne and she pulls my hair. And the shot that they used, she really did pull my hair. When I leaned in and she pulled, it actually pulled some of my hair out.
But, it was like, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” In my head I’m going, “My first hair pull. It’s okay. It’s Julia Roberts.”
Afterwards the moment they yelled cut, Julia was apologizing and asking, “Are you okay?” She’d be mean to me on camera, in character, and the moment they yelled cut, she’s back to being this mom who is so lovely and able to switch in and out.
Did you get to see her in action as a mom?
Her kids were on set almost all the time with her. And first and foremost on set, she was a mother. And she didn’t want her kids seeing her being mean to me, because she didn’t want that to taint their vision of her. Whatever it was, the most important thing is that she’s a mom. And I really respected that about her, even in a work environment.
What advice would you give to young girls about embracing both inward and outward beauty, and just that inner confidence?
Well, I think physically speaking, and they’ve become such a topic of conversation, my eyebrows. It’s so funny. When I was younger, when I moved from England to LA, it was this beachy look and everyone had thin eyebrows. And it was blond and very different than where I’d come from in the countryside in England.
And so, I felt pretty self-conscious, because kids would comment about my eyebrows. I tried plucking them myself, which was really bad. But, then I started to be think, “You know what? Actually, they’re kind of quirky and they’re different.” And I idolized Audrey Hepburn and all these old movie stars who had that look, a very different look, but it was their own and no one was telling them to change it. I mean, they were classic.
And I thought, “Well, there’s really no point. That’s me.”
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