Lily Collins Reveals the Best Advice She Received From Warren Beatty on ‘Rules Don’t Apply’

Joshua Terry
Variety

Born in England and raised in Southern California, Lily Collins, daughter of singer/songwriter Phil Collins, started acting at a young age, with credits that include “The Blind Side” and “Mirror Mirror.” She stars with Alden Ehrenreich in Warren Beatty’s “Rules Don’t Apply,” with Beatty as Howard Hughes. The film bows at the AFI Festival before its big-screen launch Nov. 23.

What was it like being on set with Warren Beatty?

He wore so many hats, as director, producer, writer, actor. He’s so lovely and so mentorish to me. You always hope someone will take you under their wing and teach you — when it’s Warren Beatty, it’s like, “Oh my god, how is this real?”

What was the best advice he gave you?

Allow yourself to surprise yourself. And, the instant you give it up to the moment and are present, something happens. But it only happens when you trust the people around you. I trusted him, Alden, and the rest of the cast and crew.

Describe your character.

Marla is an extremely optimistic, passionate young woman who comes to Hollywood thinking she knows it all. She thinks she has a certain set of rules to be successful. Through her trials and tribulations here, she realizes it isn’t all what it seems.

Can you relate to her?

Completely. I think she’s very open in her turmoil in the beginning — she’s very vocal about it. Maybe some of the other characters I’ve played have been more closed off, and not been as honest about how they feel, emotionally.”

What was the most interesting thing you learned about Howard Hughes?

I knew basics. I knew who he was, and I knew his influence in film and some in aviation. But I didn’t know he was so forward-thinking — or how political he was, or how vast his influence was. He’s an enigma, but at the same time he was so present in many facets of different industries.

Has that inspired you?

I’ve always been a firm believer that you don’t have to close one door in order to open another. Howard Hughes had his hand in a lot of different things. And I do other things, like journalism. I’m passionate about speaking out against bullying, and speaking up for self-awareness with young people, and body-image issues and self-esteem issues. Bystander Revolution [an anti-bullying website] is an amazing outlet for me to be able to express those things and be active.

Are you still writing?

I wrote a journal every day on the set of this movie. I love to write down things I notice about people or things I’ve overheard people saying that are interesting. I love people watching and I love taking the time to notice the small things. I will write down even if it’s text messages or emails that I’ve received that I want to remember forever, I always write those things down whether it’s to tell my kids or my grandkids or to tell myself in a week when I’m feeling horrible — they’re things you want to remember. Journalism comes in many shapes, sizes and forms whether it’s photography, writing, or just kind of asking people questions.

What you didn’t know about Lily Collins
AGE: 27; TV HABITS: Binge-watching; FAVORITE SHOWS: “Game of Thrones,” “Scandal”; FAVORITE DRINK: Earl Grey tea; FAVORITE FAST FOOD: In-N-Out Burger; BEST HALLOWEEN COSTUME: At age 13, a member of the “fashion police,” giving citations to violators

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