Lily James is showing the world that girls can pretty much do anything in a corset. The British actress visited HuffPost Live on Wednesday, January 27, and talked about preparing for the fight sequences for her latest film, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which hits theaters next month.
“It was really intense [training]. I had just been doing Downton Abbey where you don’t need to exercise at all, you just drink tea and biscuits,” the actress quipped, laughing. “I had an amazing trainer. He had me pushing a car around a car park and doing martial arts and boxing!”
The extreme training for the film didn’t scare the actress, who may be best known for her role in Disney’s 2015 live-action version of Cinderella. “We were in the corsets and looked like we were these gentle girls, James, 26, said of filming PPZ. “Then suddenly when it got to it, we were just so fierce and like a pack of wolves. I think strength is always sexy.”
Although fighting with swords is a new skill for the actress, wearing corsets is something she is quite familiar with. James also starred as Natasha Rostova in the BBC miniseries War & Peace, which set tongues wagging with its explicit love scenes. “I guess if people are expecting a very cozy, period drama that they want to snuggle up in, they don’t want to see scenes like that,” James told HuffPost of all the fuss. “To me it’s very strange because, you know, it’s not like people didn’t have sex back then!”
James had nothing but praise for the BBC’s adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel. “The story is so passionate, Tolstoy is so full of love and passion, so I think Andrew Davis has really wonderfully and sensually captured those moments and relationships,” she said. “[Davis] also made it feel very modern for the modern audience.… I love those bits!”
With the actress’ name becoming more well-known, James had a few people to thank for keeping her grounded. “I think people on Downton Abbey were really good people and they behaved well and had good manners. I think I’ve learned [about] acting and off camera how to be a good person,” James gushed of her experience on the PBS series. “The actors [on Downton Abbey], they work really hard but they also have a great sense of humor. There were a lot of laughs.”
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