News

A Warrior Princess

TFK chats with Lily Collins, star of the new film Mirror Mirror

March 30, 2012
Matthew Rolston. © 2011 Relativity Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Snow White (Lily Collins) finds fast friends in the Seven Dwarfs (from left: Jordan Prentice, Joey Gnoffo, Sebastian Saraceno, Martin Klebba, Mark Povinelli, Ronald Lee Clark and Danny Woodburn)

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” That would be Snow White, of course. The classic fairy tale is getting a big-screen retelling with Mirror Mirror, now playing. In the movie, an evil queen (played by Julia Roberts) has seized control of Snow White’s kingdom and, using magic, has stolen the heart of her prince (Armie Hammer) too. But this time, the girl isn’t giving up without a fight!

With seven dwarfs by her side, the spunky princess learns to duel, to think quickly and, most important, to believe in herself. TFK spoke to 23-year-old actress Lily Collins, who plays Snow White, about this new twist on an old favorite.

TFK:

The film gives a modern take on the Snow White story. What do you like most about this updated version?

LILY COLLINS:

I am so incredibly proud of this film. The cliché about the Snow White story is that it’s all about beauty and what’s on the outside. But in our story, Snow White never once looks in the mirror. She’s unaware of her beauty. It’s all about what she finds within herself that propels her forward. I’m really proud of the message that it conveys to young girls.

Julia Roberts plays the evil queen and Snow White's stepmother.
JAN THIJS. © 2011 RELATIVITY MEDIA, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Julia Roberts plays the evil queen and Snow White's stepmother.

TFK:

You’ve said that you believe every girl has a bit of Snow White in her. What aspects of Snow White do you see in yourself?

COLLINS:

I found more similarities than I expected when I was filming. Snow is a really determined young woman. She likes to see the positive in people and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. She’s very feisty in the sense that she’s not going to let some young man think she’s not as strong as him. She fights for what she believes in. I like to think that I’m a very determined and open-minded person as well. I see the good in everybody and have a very positive approach to things.

TFK:

You learned that you got the role on April 1, just a day after you had auditioned for the part. What did you do when you realized it wasn’t a joke?

COLLINS:

I was in San Francisco doing press, and my mom and I were in our hotel room when I got the phone call. I started crying and laughing! I was in shock. We went out for lunch [to celebrate], and then I had to go back to doing press. It was just the biggest thrill and surprise that I’ve ever gotten on a phone call.

TFK:

Were you nervous about taking on such an iconic role?

COLLINS:

I was just excited about the opportunity. I wasn’t concerned necessarily with creating a character that everyone saw as the “right” Snow White. I just wanted to make sure I came up with a girl who was real—someone everyone could relate to on some level.

TFK:

The great Julia Roberts plays a villain in the movie. What was it like to go up against her evil queen?

COLLINS:

It was an absolute thrill. Every time Julia had to be mean to me in a scene, she would apologize and hug me afterward. I was like, “No, it’s OK!” I just couldn’t believe how lucky I was that Julia was doing these scenes with me.

TFK:

You had to do a lot of training in sword fighting and acrobatics for the film. It sounds like some pretty serious stuff!

Snow White (Lily Collins) and Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) channel their wild sides at the queen's costume ball.
JAN THIJS. © 2012 RELATIVITY MEDIA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Snow White (Lily Collins) and Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) channel their wild sides at the queen's costume ball.

COLLINS:

It was really fun. Armie and I trained for four months together on the sword fighting and fencing. I’d never done any choreographed martial arts or fencing or anything like that before. We trained with all of these really amazing, athletic stuntmen. Then, there I was trying to learn the basics! There were bumps and bruises along the way, but no blood was drawn.

TFK:

Of all of the things the seven dwarfs taught Snow White, what would you say was the most important thing she learned from them?

COLLINS:

The most important thing they teach Snow White is to believe. They help her find the passion within herself. This gives her the strength to move forward and to fight for what she believes in.

TFK:

All of the costumes look amazing, and it’s so funny that Napoleon, one of the dwarfs, turns out to be her stylist.

COLLINS:

Right? He’s my fashionista! [Laughs.] The costumes were so detailed, so intricate and so beautiful. They were very heavy, and I wore corsets, so they weren’t the most comfortable. But it’s very hard to complain when you get to wear works of art that make you truly feel like the character. The costumes were characters themselves!

TFK:

If you could take anything from the world of Snow White home with you, what would it be?

COLLINS:

I love the swan head [that Snow wears at the ball]. I thought that was really cool.

TFK:

March is Women’s History Month. Are there any women in history or today that you especially admire or look up to?

COLLINS:

My mom. She and I are best friends, and I think she’s the most beautiful and strong and confident woman, inside and out. She’s taught me so much about being myself and embracing life and living everyday to the fullest. I also admire [actress] Meryl Streep. She takes everyone who watches her onscreen on this journey. And she’s everything you hope she’ll be and more when you meet her. I just recently met her, and I pretty much cried afterward! She’s such an inspiration.


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