The 21-year-old actress Lily Collins (yep, her father is Phil Collins) made her big-screen debut in “The Blind Side” as Sandra Bullock’s daughter. On May 13 you can see her in the sci-fi thriller “Priest,” opposite Stephen Moyer, Paul Bettany and Cam Gigandet. When she’s not on set, she spends her free time traveling the globe with her mother, Jill Tavelman Collins. For her, it’s a great way to sharpen her acting chops: “Going all around the world is the best way to pick up traits,” she says. “It’s a kind of crazy people-watching.”
Q. Let’s talk about your next project, the mystery-thriller “Mortal Instruments.” You’re back with the director Scott Charles Stewart, whom you worked with on “Priest.”
A.“Mortal Instruments” is so different than other things that I’ve done, and I’m a huge fan of the novelist Cassandra Clare’s books, I’ve read all of them. It’s very different to be able to read the books, and put myself in Clary Fray’s shoes. It’s very strange to be reading it and go, ‘Wow, I’m going to get to do that, and that’s going to be me.’ It’s a great mix of dark, gritty, kind of gothic, as well as, you know, the sunny teenage years.
Where are you filming?
It is one of the very rare occasions that we’ll be shooting in L.A., which for me is home. My mom is in L.A., she and I are very, very, very close.
You left England for L.A. at a very young age. Do you miss it?
I do, I love England. I moved to L.A. before I turned 6, and I try to go back for Christmas and in the summer. I grew up in the countryside out there, which is very different than city life in L.A., and when I go back I start to pick up my accent again a little bit. I sound very American and very L.A., but I am very, very British.
And you have a very European look, but you have those California locks, too.
I definitely have the pale skin. For “Priest,” it’s funny, because I actually dyed my hair red and that is the hardest color to maintain. I was completely red and pale, and people were like, “Are you Irish?”
You travel a lot?
Yes, actually. My mom and I, that’s kind of our favorite thing to do. It was obviously very different when I was in school and had a school schedule — you had spring break and you had Christmas break — and now it’s different ’cause it’s more, “When am I not working?” I would study something in school, and she would say, “Oh, you’re studying African civilization. Do you want to go to Africa for spring break?” And so we would. We went on an African safari, went to Brazil, Egypt, India, Japan, just to experience all the different cultures and really immerse ourselves in it. Traveling is really great people-watching. The best way to pick up traits and analyze what someone other than yourself would do in a situation is by watching other people. So being able to travel all around the world and see that is — I feel very fortunate that I can participate in that kind of crazy people-watching.
Source: NY Times Blog