Lily James learns from co-stars in handling failure, success
‘As an actor, you have to have thick skin when it comes to dealing with failure or success, or just what it means to be an actor outside of actually doing your job.’

Lily James learns from co-stars in handling failure, success

Charmie Joy Pagulong (The Philippine Star) - January 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MACAU — For a well-established actress like Lily James, dealing with failure or success did not come easy.

The British celebrity revealed during an event how her co-stars helped her cope during tough times in her acting career when she experienced anxiety and panic attacks.

“As an actor, you have to have thick skin when it comes to dealing with failure or success, or just what it means to be an actor outside of actually doing your job,” shared Lily during the Masterclass session hosted by film critic Fionnuala Halligan at the International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM) recently.

The 30-year-old star also disclosed how the people close to her gave pieces of advice on her struggles. “I remember when I first left school, I could not quite get a job,” she shared.

“My agent took me out for lunch and she gave me a list of all her favorite books and movies. She just told me to lose myself in that, rather than worry and panic about not getting it right.”

“It was sort of lose yourself into imagination again. So, I think I kept doing that all throughout. And when you get a rejection, letting it hurt for a couple of hours and then just try to let it go. It wasn’t meant to be,” she added.

Her Downtown Abbey co-star and Academy Award winner Dame Maggie Smith encouraged her to believe in herself.

When Lily asked for advice, Maggie told her “you’re doing it.”

Lily was thankful for playing the role of Lady Rose MacClare for three seasons of Downton Abbey. “I will always be grateful for that job on so many levels. Like the friendships I made, the opportunities that definitely opened so many doors for me.”

In 2015, she landed the title role in Disney’s blockbuster Cinderella along with Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Richard Madden.

Helena, who played the quirky fairy godmother in the movie, once said to her, “It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to have a breakdown. It’s okay to cry because it lets people know that you are not a robot. We are human.”

Lily continued, “That helped because sometimes it can be so difficult, especially with the relentless filming every day… it’s okay to struggle, I find that useful.”

Her passion for music and dance started during her younger years. “I like singing, dancing, really being annoying and like being center of attention when I was younger,” she said.

“When I was 12, I was in an academic school that focuses on performing arts, singing and dancing. I did start young. But I did not focus on acting, it was more on singing and dancing and stuff. And then I went to Guild, that just blew my mind. The training there was incredible.”

Lily graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London in 2010. 

“I love pretending, I love make believe. Being in my imagination and the social element of dance classes,” she said.

The acclaimed UK talent also shared how passionate she is with musicals. “I feel emotional when I sing… You have to be more open and relax. Your voice comes from your heart.”

Last year, she starred in global smash Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again as the young Meryl Streep.

She also appeared in films such as Baby Driver, Darkest Hour, The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society and in the epic War And Peace miniseries.

She has recently completed Rebecca for director Ben Wheatley in which she plays the title role opposite Armie Hammer and Kristin Scott Thomas, and The Dig for director Simon Stone opposite Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan.

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