Lily James is one of Hollywood’s “It”-Girls. The 29-year-old British actress is currently headlines musical sequel/prequel “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”, playing the younger version of Donna Sheridan (portrayed by Meryl Streep in the original). James shines during a number of performances, including “When I Kissed the Teacher”, “Why Did it Have to Be Me?”, “Andante, Andante”, “Waterloo” and, of course, “Mamma Mia!”
She rose to fame in 2012 with her role on “Downton Abbey” (earning two Screen Actors Guild Best Ensemble awards), but her breakthrough and real introduction to American audiences was as Cinderella in Disney and director Kenneth Branagh’s sophisticated and elegant 2015 version.
James followed that up with roles in two box office flops: Bradley Cooper’s chef film “Burnt” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” before returning to TV with the A&E miniseries “War & Peace” in 2016.
Last year was a big screen bounce-back for James, with noteworthy performances in “Baby Driver” and as Winston Churchill’s assistant in “Darkest Hour”. (And she can also be heard as the “white voice” of Tessa Thompson’s “Detroit” in the acclaimed sci-fi comedy “Sorry to Bother You”).
As I wrote in my “Here We Go Again” review, this “Mamma Mia!” follow-up officially puts James into “Star” status. Co-story developer Richard Curtis (the man behind “Love, Actually”) wrote the script for the next big film we’ll see James in. It’s untitled musical rom-com directed by Danny Boyle – set for release in September 2019.