OnlyOnAOL: Lily Collins on taking risks, loving her brows, and calling Warren Beatty
By: Donna Freydkin
"It's been a wild ride so far," says Lily Collins.
No kidding. The actress headlines Warren Beatty's first film in nearly 20 years, "Rules Don't Apply," playing a wide-eyed ingenue seduced by Howard Hughes (Beatty). So let's talk about that boozy moment, which goes on to define the rest of her life.
"The good thing about that scene in general is, he wanted there to be humor there. It was in good nature and in good fun. To be directed by him is a huge honor," says Collins. "He would direct in character so it never took you out of the moment."
In the film, Collins' Marla Mabrey comes to Hollywood in 1958 to be a star, and becomes one of Hughes' bevy of starlets who live strictly monitored lives, waiting for their moment in the sun.
"He's very meticulous and detail-oriented. He doesn't settle for anything less than what he wants," says Collins of Beatty. "He has the utmost respect for and belief in us."
Marla has the biggest arc in the film, going from wide-eyed innocent to self-sufficient feminist.
"I loved how determined and passionate she was. I was very much that way growing up. My mom and I were really close," says Collins. "There came a time when I wanted to step out on my own. The idea that she stood up for herself and she realized you could bend rules and make things work for you -- it's a sign of strength to ask for help. I realized that growing up as well."
She got to know Beatty really well during the course of filming, and would talk to him on the phone constantly; they met at his house and Collins befriended his wife, Annette Bening, and their kids. And he gave her acting advice that she took to heart.
"I learned that I need to let go a lot more. Warren would always say, 'Let go. Don't think so much,'" says Collins. "He, by the way, will tell you, 'Just call me Warren.' He calls you on your cell phone. He's so personable."
That's not the only lesson she's picked up over the years. Another one: leave her impressive and expressive brows alone.
"I actually (plucked them) one point by myself and my mom gave me so much crap for it. They looked horrendous. Now I barely touch them," says Collins.