Lily Collins as Fantine Image Credit: Supplied

It’s not easy being born with the mantle of fame. Just ask Lily Collins, daughter of rock star superstar Phil and his second wife, Jill Travelman.

She had struggled with eating disorder issues as a teenager, a period she addressed in her autobiography ‘Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me’. And she’s an ardent campaigner against bullying in any form.

Gulf News tabloid! caught up with the star in central London recently as she sat to discuss her role in the BBC adaption of Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’.

Collins, who turns 30 in March, plays Fantine, a character whose decline perhaps best personifies the fall and demise of so many in the classic work.

“Fantine’s transition throughout ‘Les Miserables’ is the most tragic,” she says. Her fall from grace includes falling into prostitution and having to sell her teeth for money.

“Fantine is quite naive in her imagery of love and she thinks she finds the man of her dreams in this man named Felix,” she says. “He is a wealthy young man who tricks her into believing that he will provide her with a life. However, unfortunately she has to create a life that she wasn’t planning on.”

She found the adaptation by Andrew Davis compelling and true to the original work.

“Andrew Davies’ scripts are always so multi-layered and colourful,” she says. “There are just as many details in the stage direction as in the actual dialogue. It really paints a vivid picture and goes back to Victor Hugo’s writing.”

For Collins, the essence of ‘Les Miserables’ is compelling in itself.

“‘Les Miserables’ follows a handful of characters that are spread out throughout the different social class systems in that time,” she said. “It’s a story that many of us know. However, in this rendition, we get to delve deeper into different characters that we maybe didn’t get to see before.”

And she says director Tom Shankland also really related to the original story.

“There are redeeming qualities in every single character and also qualities that the viewer can question,” she says.

“This series has so many moving parts: an incredible cast that I feel really fortunate to work opposite, working with Tom Shankland, and the most incredible hair, make-up and costume departments. Everyone gave 110 per cent to this. Adding on top, Andrew Davies’ writing, it’s like magic.”


Don’t miss it!

‘Les Miserables’ premieres on January 13 at 9pm in the UAE on BBC First available on OSN.