Lily James, born on April 5, 1989, is an English actress. She studied acting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and soon began her acting career in the British television series Just William. Take a look below for 25 more interesting and fascinating facts about Lily James.
1. Following a supporting role in the period drama series Downtown Abbey, James had her film breakthrough by playing the eponymous role in the fantasy movie Cinderella.
2. She played Natasha Rostova in the television series War & Peace.
3. In 2017, she starred in two critically and commercially successful movies, the action movie Baby Driver and the war drama Darkest Hour.
4. She was born in Esher, Surrey, the daughter of Ninette, an actress, and James “Jamie” Thomson, a musician.
5. Her grandmother, Helen Horton, was an American actress.
6. She attended Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.
7. She has Scottish, English, French and more distant German, ancestry. Lily’s paternal grandmother was American actress Helen Horton, who lived in England with Lily’s British grandfather, Hamish Thomson. Lily’s maternal grandmother was of French origin.
8. She has the same birthday as her on-screen mother in Cinderella, Hayley Atwell.
9. She is the sixth cousin of U.S. President George Bush, through her American grandmother. Lily’s four time great-grandfather, Stephen Horton, was the brother of the president’s four times great-grandmother, Sarah Horton. Therefore, Lily is a sixth cousin, once removed, of the President’s sons, President George W. Bush and Governor Jeb Bush.
10. After learning that another actress in the Actors’ Equity Association had the name “Lily Thomson,” she chose the stage surname of “James” to honor the memory of her father, who had passed away a few years prior.
11. Her television credits include Ethel Brown in the 2010 BBC production of Richmal Crompton’s Just William, Poppy in the fourth series of ITV’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl, and the rebellious Lady Rose in the last episode of series three of Downtown Abbey.
12. In 2011, James played Taylor at the Young Vic Theater in Tanya Ronder’s stage adaption of the novel Vernon God Little directed by Rufus Norris.
13. She played Nina in Russell Bolam’s modern adaption of The Seagull at Southwark Playhouse.
14. James played Desdemona in Daniel Evans’ production of Othello at the Crucible Theater, Sheffield, alongside Dominic West and Clarke Peters.
15. In 2012, James played the role of Katrina in Play House and Marijka in Definitely the Bahamas in a double-bill written and directed by Martin Crimp at the Orange Tree Theater in Richmond, London, as part of the theater’s fortieth anniversary.
16. James played the role of Korrina in the Warner Brothers movie Wrath of the Titans.
17. She starred in Fast Girls, written by Noel Clarke, which centers around a group of young female athletes competing in the World Championships.
18. She played the titular character in the 2015 live action Disney movie Cinderella.
19. James was photographed by Annie Leibovitz as Cinderella, in the blue gown her character wears to the ball, for the December 2014 issue of Vogue.
20. She made her singing debut in Cinderella’s end credits, covering “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from the 1950 animated movie.
21. In 2016, she returned to television in the 2016 BBC historical drama series War & Peace, playing the character of Natasha Rostova.
22. In 2016, James starred in her second major movie, playing the role of Elizabeth Bennet in the action horror movie Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a parody of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
23. James played the role of Juliet in the Garrick Theater’s production of Romeo and Juliet, which was directed by Rob Ashford and actor-director Kenneth Branagh in 2016.
24. James’ father died from cancer in 2008. She has said that filming the father and daughter scenes in Cinderella were very emotional for her because of that.
25. James dated actor Matt Smith.