Young star genesis of own creation
Lily Collins’ famous name didn’t help her fame, writes
HAVING a famous parent can get you a long way in Hollywood, but Lily Collins says her father hasn’t helped at all.
The pint-sized, British-born 24-yearold means that in the nicest way.
The fact she has worked with Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock and is the star of the new action-adventurefantasy film franchise The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones came down to her hard work and drive, not any connections her father, Phil Collins, a seven-time Grammy winner with more than 150 million album sales, may have had in Tinseltown.
‘‘At the end of the day, no one has ever made a phone call to get me in a door for an audition,’’ Collins says.
She was born in Surrey, England, but has spent most of her life in Los Angeles with her mother, Jill Tavelman, who divorced Phil Collins in 1996 after 12 years of marriage.
The UK tabloids claimed that he announced the split via a fax – something he denies.
Lily went to one of LA’s most prestigious schools, Harvard-Westlake, and hangs with Hollywood’s new Brat Pack, with former Disney star Selena Gomez one of her best friends.
She was set for a media career after studying broadcast journalism at the University of California and writing for teen magazines Elle Girl, Seventeen and Teen Vogue, plus hosting Kids Pick the President, a show on US TV network Nickelodeon in the lead-up to the 2008 US presidential election. But Hollywood drew her in. In 2009 Collins was cast as the daughter of Bullock’s character in The Blind Side and in 2011 as Snow White alongside Julia Roberts in the fairytale reboot Mirror Mirror.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the first in what could be many films based on the popular young adult books written by US author Cassandra Clare.
Set in New York in an underworld of vampires, werewolves, warlocks, demons and angels, it has, not surprisingly, been compared to the Twilight and Harry Potter franchises.
Collins plays Clary Fray, a Brooklyn teenager who discovers she is not who she thinks she is after witnessing a brutal murder at a gothic nightclub.
Her mother (Lena Heady) goes missing and she begins a quest in the underworld to find her.
Collins, a fan of the books long before she was cast, says she related to Fray’s relationship with her mother.
‘‘I’m really close with my mum,’’ she says.
She also liked Fray’s strength and although there is romance, ‘‘she’s not defined by the men in the story’’.
Clare came up with the idea for the Mortal Instruments books in 2001 and had the first published in 2007.
She was involved in the casting for the film and gave the thumbs-up to Collins.
‘‘Lily has a really great blend of vulnerability and strength and like Clary, who is our protagonist, she is tiny,’’ Clare says.
‘‘Clary is very, very, very petite. I write about her as a small girl and it is unexpected she is such a good fighter, and Lily is both of those things.’’
The role involves plenty of action sequences for Collins and she spent months preparing for them. But when she arrived on set, she discovered one alarming thing.
Her costume for many of the action scenes involved wearing thigh-high boots with high heels.
‘‘We had rehearsed all of the stunts for months, but never in costume,’’ Collins says with a laugh.
Collins has been in a relationship with her Mortal Instruments cast mate, English actor Jamie Campbell Bower, but the two are rumoured to have broken up.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones opens today.
Lena Headey (left) and Lily Collins in