“And me? Would you like to kiss me?” she whispered almost inaudibly, glancing up at him from under her brows, smiling, and almost crying from excitement.
War and Peace, page 72
We first meet Natsha as a frisky 13 year old ball of energy who charms everyone she meets. On the brink of womanhood, Natasha is absolutely besotted with Boris Dubretskoy (Aneurin Barnard), but as a young girl she still carries a doll that she uses as an extension of herself. The actress has to travel an arc that spans over a dozen years; clearly in these early scenes the costume designer—Edward K. Gibbon—has given James clothing to emphasize her youth and de-emphasize her bustline. Cut high on the bodice, with overly puffy sleeves, the simple floral cotton frock falls stiffly away from her body and a world away from the silky elegant fabrics that an older woman would wear. Unlike many of the older women, she doesn’t wear evening gloves or glittery jewels. Her hair, by makeup and hair designer Jacqueline Fowler, is down and natural looking, a far cry from the more elaborate coiffures we see on the sophisticated ladies at the soiree.
‘I wanted her to feel really young at the start
to accentuate her journey.
I wanted to capture that spirit of youth,
of excitement and openness
where everything is going to be okay.’
Lily James on playing Natasha
Lily James as Natasha, all grown up
‘I didn’t watch Audrey Hepburn’s performance
as then I would have been doomed from the start,’
Lily said. ‘I love her and she’s the greatest so
I felt it would be counter productive
to have her version of Natasha in my head.’
Lily James on Audrey Hepburn as Natasha
I’m going to try to get to all the key characters over the course of the next couple of weeks, in time for the program’s debut here in the states on Lifetime on January 18th, but sadly not in time for the series’ January 3rd air date on the BBC in the UK. Check back tomorrow to see which character is coming to life on screen from Tolstoy’s printed page.