Entertainment

Inside Lily James’ incredible transformations from Cinderella to Downton Abbey


After catapulting to fame a decade ago in Downton Abbey, fans were left shocked when Lily James revealed her drastic transformation as Pamela Anderson in Pam & Tommy.

But despite the extreme overhaul, this isn’t the first time that the actress has won fans over with her movie makeovers.

From becoming a real life Disney princess to playing a young Meryl Streep, here’s some of Lily’s incredible transformations…

Downton Abbey beginnings

Rising to prominence in the beloved period drama, Lily took the role of Lady Rose MacClare when she joined the series back in 2012.

Known for breaking the rules, Lady Rose was a rebellious character, though she never intended to cause any harm, causing viewers across the world to fall in love with Lily and Rose alike.



Lily took the role of Lady Rose MacClare when she joined the series
Lily took the role of Lady Rose MacClare when she joined the series

In fact, thanks to her performance, she won two awards at the Screen Actors Guild in 2014 and 2015.

But despite appearing in the show for three years, after her character moved to New York, Lily was unable to join her co-stars in the 2019 Downton Abbey film.

Cinderella success

Becoming one of the most enchanting characters of all time, Lily starred as Cinderella in the 2015 live action film.

With costumes designed by Oscar winner Sandy Powell, Lily wowed fans with her Disney transformation after originally auditioning as one of the stepsisters.

Speaking to The Washington Post , Lily said: “The dress that Sandy Powell created – I mean I think she’s a genius and I’m grateful for that dress – but it was like torture.”



Lily starred as Cinderella in the 2015 live action film
Lily starred as Cinderella in the 2015 live action film

Taking 45 minutes to get in and out of, the gorgeous gown found itself at the centre of controversy as Lily’s waist appeared extremely small, though the actress stated that it was because she was wearing a corset.

Baby Driver departure

Representing a bold departure for the 32 year old, Lily moved away from the world of pretty dresses and makeup to take a leading role in action film Baby Driver.



Lily played a young waitress named Debora in Baby Driver
Lily played a young waitress named Debora in Baby Driver

Starring alongside Ansel Elgort, Lily played a young waitress named Debora who falls in love with criminal getaway driver Baby in 2017.

Set in Atlanta, Lily won viewers over after she swapped the sophisticated vocals of Cinderella and Lady Rose for a twangy Southern accent.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again frenzy

Playing effervescent Oxford graduate Donna Sheridan, Lily had big shoes to fill when she took on the musical blockbuster.



Lily had big shoes to fill when she took on the musical blockbuster
Lily had big shoes to fill when she took on the musical blockbuster

Despite having already sung in Cinderella, Lily admitted that she had her doubts about whether or not she could take on the Abba classics.

“I panicked about the singing and the dancing and the time to prepare. And then I finally decided to bite the bullet,” she told The Independent in 2018.

With her sunkissed curls, dungarees and vibrant outfits, the Esher-born actress had cinemas across the globe singing and dancing with her.

The Pursuit of Love hair makeover

Returning to her Downton roots, Lily starred in BBC One’s period comedy-drama The Pursuit of Love.



Lily was forced to ditch her signature blonde locks
Lily was forced to ditch her signature blonde locks



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Based on Nancy Mitford’s 1945 novel, she took the role of Linda Radlett – an impulsive and fiery character travelling through 20th century Europe.

Unlike her other roles, Lily was forced to ditch her signature blonde locks, opting for a dramatic choppy brunette bob instead.

Her Pam & Tommy radical transformation



You might not believe it, but this is Lily James and not the real Pamela Anderson
You might not believe it, but this is Lily James and not the real Pamela Anderson

When pictures dropped of Lily as Pamela Anderson, social media went into a frenzy.

After undergoing a gruelling four-hour transformation before each day of filming – involving tan, makeup and a breast plate – the star called in a liberating experience.

“I’ve never done anything where I look very different from myself before. And I’d really like to continue in this vein, because I felt there was something very freeing and liberating in it,” she told Porter.




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