Lily James: Growing up in a house where tempers rose quickly made me explosive
The actress stars opposite Gillian Anderson in a new stage production of All About Eve.
Former Downton Abbey star Lily James has said growing up in a house “where tempers rose quickly” made her an “explosive” person.
Speaking to Harper’s Bazaar magazine, the British actress admitted that when she gets angry she can “throw things and shout”.
James will star opposite Gillian Anderson on stage in the Ivan van Hove adaptation of All About Eve, which will examine a world of jealousy, ambition and celebrity.
She said: “I don’t always deal with pressure and stress well. I grew up in a house where tempers rose quickly … I think the extremes live quite happily in me.
“I can be really happy and I can also be the opposite – I throw things and shout. I’ve always been quite explosive.”
James, who turns 30 in April, said she was relieved to be leaving her 20s behind.
She said: “It is a real turning point. My 20s have been so chaotic, and I’ve always looked forward to 30 as being an anchor point.
“You stop caring so much about what other people think, and become more secure in your own life.”
She also spoke of shedding the “blonde, sweet” image she gained playing Cinderella in the 2015 version of the Disney film directed by Kenneth Branagh.
James said she was “actively” avoiding characters like the eponymous princess and instead looking for ones that do not “rely on charm”.
She said: “Cinderella was a gift, and I will treasure it for the rest of my life. But I wore a dress for the Mamma Mia! premiere that was blue and white and quite pouffy, and when I got out on the red carpet, all anyone said was ‘Oh, it’s Cinderella!’
“It’s a happy association, but also something that you want to shed at some point.
“The blonde, sweet thing is so not me. I’m actively seeking characters from now on that are different, who don’t rely on charm or the qualities that I think I’ve explored quite a lot.”
– All About Eve will run at the Noel Coward Theatre from February 2 2019 to May 11 2019, with opening night on February 12.
Read the full interview in the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, on sale from February 7.