Lily James Lily James: A Few Surprising Things… By Charlotte Duck 06 Mar 2015 The actress is having her Cinderella moment and we're completely spellbound First off, Lily James isn’t actually Lily’s real name. The actress was born Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson but changed her name in tribute to her actor father, James Thomson, who died of cancer in 2008. http://220km.com.ua www.www.kamod.net.ua http://happykids.kiev.ua Lily was born in Surrey and has two brothers – one older, one younger. Her grandmother was the late American-born actress Helen Horton, who voiced “Mother”, the ship’s computer, in Alien. Lily may be young but she’s got plenty of experience behind her: her first professional role was as Ethel Brown in the 2010 TV production of Just William, and, as well as Downton, she’s appeared in Secret Diary Of A Call Girl and Fast Girls, a film about two professional British female sprinters. Did you know that Lily originally auditioned to play the part of an ugly sister in Cinderella? No, we can’t see it either! It wasn’t an easy gig getting the role of Ella – Lily had to beat off competition from the likes of Imogen Poots, Bella Heathcote and Margot Robbie. Talking about why he cast Lily, Kenneth Branagh said: "I remember [the casting director had] sent me a tape, and I was going to grab something, and I heard her. It was literally the voice to start with, because it's that warmth, those colours, that we needed." Unsurprisingly, the actress’ favourite part of being Ella was wearing the big, blue ball gown. Lily’s blonde tresses might be part of her trademark English Rose look but she’s naturally a brunette. Lily is set to reunite with Prince Charming – aka Richard Madden – as they take on the roles of less-fortunate lovers, Romeo and Juliet, in a West End production in October. Cinderella director Kenneth Branagh is also set to direct the Shakespearean tragedy. Lily is set to put on more corsets as she stars as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, alongside real-life boyfriend Matt Smith, who’s Mr Collins. The period roles just seen to keep coming for Lily. She’s set to appear as the impulsive Natasha in a BBC adaptation of War & Peace. “I am very excited and privileged to be playing Natasha, in this co-production between BBC and The Weinstein Company, of Tolstoy’s classic War And Peace. It is amazing to be part of such a prestigious cast and to appear in such a beautiful and rich adaptation by Andrew Davies,” Lily said of the production. The actress might be enjoying the Hollywood high life but she’s 100 down-to-Earth – she lives in hip Hackney and is BFF with fellow thesp Freddie Fox.