If there were a term for the exact opposite of a name-dropper, Lily James would be it.
Taking on the role of a young Meryl Streep in the star-studded sequel Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, James worked alongside acting icons Streep, Colin Firth and – drum roll – Cher.
The experience of filming in Croatia with Hollywood royalty sounds so epic, but James is remarkably humble about it. “Without being too overly sentimental, it was a really special time,” she nods, before a pause. “I worry now that I potentially should have focused more and stopped having fun. We just had such a good time that I kind of forgot to … worry.”
Does she realise how crazy that sounds? “I know! It was just mad with all these total legends walking around.”
Were they approachable? “It’s intimidating because these are people you’ve looked up to, idolised; you never expect your paths will cross."
Did Cher give good banter? “Cher?” she laughs, nervously. “Yes is the answer … but no, unfortunately I didn’t have much time with Cher.”
Having crossed ‘work with Cher’ off her bucket list, James, 29, is hoping to tick one more thing off before she turns 30 next year. “I want to go to Berghain [an exclusive nightclub] in Berlin! I think it would be fun to just go there and lose three days of my life.” Most of all, she wants to take some time out and go travelling with her actor boyfriend Matt Smith.
“I haven’t really stopped, and I don’t think that’s a feasible way to work. You never really know where you are. That’s not only with regards to my relationship with Matt, but with my friends and family. There’s so much you miss.”
The new issue of marie claire, starring Lily James, is on sale Thursday.
Mama Mia! Here We Go Again hits cinemas on July 19.