Lily James touched down in Melbourne and went straight to a footy match.
“My brother lives here so he took me, it was the Melbourne Demons versus the Carltons,” James sweetly explains while in town promoting her new film Baby Driver.
It was the first MCG experience for the 28-year-old British actress and she wasn’t afraid to get right into the action.
“It was hilarious, the first five minutes of the game all the players were just wrestling each other regardless of whether the ball was near them. It was full on.”
Not nearly as full on as the young starlet’s schedule, which started getting busy soon after her breakout role in the 2015 remake of Cinderella.
James admits it can be tricky to have her image so closely linked with that of a virtuous Disney princess, particularly when tackling roles like Baby Driver‘s Debra – a diner waitress who runs away with an eccentric getaway driver.
“It’s hard for me because it was a very special time in my life,” she says of the role.
“But I sometimes find it confusing especially with little girls – they don’t understand [the difference between me and Cinderella]. I’m like, ‘Sorry, Cinderella likes bad boys’.”
Upon reading the script, which came with a complete scene-by-scene soundtrack, James knew she wanted the role alongside American actor Ansel Elgort.
One audition tape and a quick chat with director Edgar Wright and she had the role locked down – a savvy choice given the deafening buzz Baby Driver has been getting since its premiere.
It’s a departure from her previous roles in period dramas like War and Peace and Downton Abbey, if only because James has traded her signature British lilt for a pitch-perfect Southern drawl.
Still based in London despite her Hollywood breakthrough, James has barely spent any time there over the past six months, jetting between filming an indie flick in Austin, Texas, and promoting Baby Driver around the world.
Still, the sheer number of her British compatriots in Hollywood means James always feels at home.
“It’s really lovely actually, there are loads of us doing really well,” she says, citing good friend Vanessa Kirby, who starred alongside James’ boyfriend Matt Smith in Netflix’s The Crown.
So, do they all hang out and drink tea?
“There is actually a big crew of us that all know each other and hang out, but we drink wine not tea,” James laughs.
While she’s clearly thriving in the US, James is still keen to pursue some more iconic British roles.
Although she’s happy to rule out playing a female Doctor Who (“No”), Kate Middleton (“Not yet”) and Margaret Thatcher (“I don’t want to play a politician”), she wouldn’t say no to Princess Diana.
“I was watching a documentary about her the other night. She will be in the new series of The Crown I would have thought,” James says, hinting at the possibility of starring alongside Kirby, who plays Princess Margaret, and Smith, who plays Prince Philip and has been her off-screen love interest for three years.
“I think that would be amazing,” James admits.
Netflix, the ball is in your court.