A Minute With: Lily Collins on fantasy, fans and first kisses

Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:53pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Once an aspiring reporter, actress Lily Collins has swapped journalism for Hollywood, as she prepares to step into the spotlight with her biggest role to date: playing a heroine in a young adult franchise.

Collins, 24, the daughter of British singer Phil Collins, studied journalism at the University of Southern California but has been displaying her acting chops with films such as 2009's "The Blind Side" and 2012's "Mirror Mirror."

The actress takes a leading role as Clary Fray in the film adaptation of "City of Bones," in theaters on Wednesday, the first book in Cassandra Clare's "The Mortal Instruments" young adult series. The film is set in present day Brooklyn, where Clary discovers a hidden fantasy world that changes her life.

Collins talked to Reuters about the pressure of being part of a young adult film series, the demands of an on-screen first kiss and being compared to Jennifer Lawrence.

Q: How much pressure did you feel portraying Clary in a film adaptation of a book series with such a large fan base?

A: I didn't realize how big the fandom was when I was cast because I wasn't social-network savvy, so when the news broke that I was cast, it felt like everything blew up ... I feel lucky to have had the experience of playing a character like Snow White (in "Mirror Mirror") where everyone had an opinion, and I was able to learn how to separate myself from public opinion.

Q: Clary has her entire world turned upside down in "City of Bones" as she finds out secrets about her mother and her life. Was it a challenge for you to convey her confusion?

A: As an actor that was what scared me the most, because in reality, identity crisis at that age is normal. Every young girl is going through this 'who am I' thing, and we're also hormonally crazy at that age, so you can react emotionally because you're angry, sad, frustrated, annoyed, upset. There are so many ways emotions can come out and different reasoning, so I had to make sure I didn't act it with one note, or at least I hope I didn't act it one note and make her a victim. She's not a victim, but she is vulnerable and confused.   Continued...

Cast member Lily Collins poses for a portrait while promoting her upcoming movie "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" in Los Angeles, California August 9, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni