Lily Collins Interview For Tarsem Singh’s ‘Mirror Mirror’
‘Mirror Mirror’ is a re-imagining of the classic “Snow White” fairy tale starring Oscar winner Julia Roberts as the Queen, Lily Collins (The Blind Side) as Snow White, Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as Prince Alcott, Sean Bean (The Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) as the King, and Nathan Lane (The Lion King, The Birdcage) as the Queen’s hapless and bungling servant, Brighton. An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright in a spirited adventure comedy filled with jealousy, romance and betrayal.
Director Tarsem Singh (Immortals) rewrites fairy tale history as a wicked enchantress (Julia Roberts) schemes and scrambles for control of a spirited orphan’s (Lily Collins) throne and the attention of a charming prince (Armie Hammer). When Snow White’s beauty wins the heart of the prince that she desperately pursues, the Queen banishes her to the forest, where a ravening man-eating beast hungrily awaits. Rescued by a band of diminutive highway robbers, Snow White grows into an indomitable young woman determined to take back her realm from the treacherous Queen. ‘Mirror Mirror’ is out now in the US while it’s set for release April 2nd in the UK.
What do think it is about Snow White, this classic fairy tale, that has created this enduring popularity?
Lily Collins: The biggest part of Snow White that intrigued me to the story, and what I grew up loving, was that I think every little girl has a little bit of Snow White in them. That wide eyed, innocent, wanting to explore the unknown as well as finding yourself – that’s a big part of growing up in general. Snow White goes through the course of starting out as this innocent girl to growing into a young woman. She finds herself through her friends she meets along the way. Also, by empowering herself just by experiencing life, going out into the wilderness, fighting battles, meeting the dwarves. I think that there’s so much colour in this story as well, physically there’s a lot of bright colours, but also there’s colour to the story, you know? There’s so many different journeys she goes on emotionally and physically. It’s a bright story in so many ways, I really believe a lot of young girls can relate to her.
‘Mirror Mirror’ has its own twist on the story as well?
Lily Collins: Yeah, ‘Mirror Mirror,’ our Snow White, it’s about a young girl who has been locked away in the castle by her wicked stepmother – played by the awesome Julia Roberts (laughs). She starts out as the fairy tale Princess everyone grew up loving and knowing. She’s very innocent, not knowing anything bad or negative going on in the kingdom. Her fairy tale Godmother-esq figure, Baker Margaret, she enlightens her and tells her that everything is not as it seems and she really needs to regain her kingdom. She tells her to go and experience things because she’s been locked away. So, she goes out on this adventure, sees this village, sees what it has been turned into – because of the wicked stepmother taking over. She realises she needs to take control. Through her journeys of meeting the seven dwarves, who really turn out to be mentors of hers, they teach her about empowering herself, believing in oneself. She really fights for her kingdom to gain it back, in turn while turning into a young woman. She turns into a fighter, which is in some ways different to the original fairy tale, she takes on many battles (laughs), sword fights. She’s modernised in a way, in this story the Princess almost saves the Prince, instead of the Prince saving the Princess. In that sense I think it’s a fun way to play it.
When Snow White is told Prince Alcott is marrying Queen Clementianna, that throws Snow White for a loop, but the dwarves are there to help her get determined…..
Lily Collins: Yeah, when Snow White‘s told that the Queen is getting married, she automatically thinks it’s The Baron because he’s been trying to marry the Queen for a while. But then they tell her it’s the Prince. Snow White’s automatically effected by feelings she doesn’t necessarily understand, because she’s never been in love before. But I know that there’s something wrong with this situation and I’ve lost him to the Queen in my eyes. The dwarves see that there’s love there and they wont give up. They encourage me to join them in stealing Prince Alcott back from the Queen’s wedding and it turns out he is in fact under a spell. You can imagine the seven dwarves and I coming into the wedding and breaking it up, causing mayhem (laughs), and stealing Armie Hammer away under a spell. Then you have the dwarves and I trying to break the spell in all kinds of funny ways – I’m sure Armie loved shooting that (laughs).
The costumes are spectacular in ‘Mirror Mirror.’ Also, your costumes seem to be symbolic of her different stages?
Lily Collins: The costumes are out of this world. I’ve always wanted to do a period piece, and these costumes, they’re couture. It’s like wearing art. I have four costumes in the movie, but those four are so different, so beautiful. I get a workout wearing them everyday, they took about 20 minutes to get on (laughs). I was sown up the back everyday, I was corseted. But the colours, the feeling of them, so amazing. And yeah, they also represent the different stages of Snow White in ‘Mirror Mirror,’ how she goes from being the young Princess, to having the white ball gown which goes through stages of being dirtier from the costume ball to the dwarves house. The my fighter outfit, which is what Napoleon decks me out in. Then I’d have to say my favourite is probably the final dress, just because of the colour and the iconic nature of the overall look.
After four months of wearing corsets and ball gowns, sword fighting in these crazy forests, I promised myself I’d never complain about wearing high heels again (laughs). They became really a second skin, and they became the process of me turning into Snow White every morning. They truly were pieces of art and a privilege to get to wear. And they really, really had started to become part of the maneuvering around the set in the way that Snow would, not necessarily how I would. They were intricate and so so beautiful.
How did you like the musical dance scene?
Lily Collins: That was the most fun for me. I remember, 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 watch that back and I think I really sang and danced in front of about 400 extras, didn’t care about anything else in the world but being there in that moment. And everything I was saying and singing I truly felt within my whole being. I watch it back and I can’t remember being happier than at that moment in a long time. It truly was the embodiment of everything I’d hoped to experience.
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