Lilly Aspell: who is the Scottish teen who plays a young Diana in Wonder Woman 1984 - and what else has she been in?

The young actress was scouted while clothes shopping in London, and had never acted before

It was originally scheduled for a June 2020 cinema release, but the Covid-19 pandemic soon put paid to that, and Wonder Woman 1984 eventually released in UK cinemas (those few that remained open) over the Christmas period.

The sequel to 2017’s critically acclaimed box office smash, director Patty Jenkins brings the world of Wonder Woman to 1980s America, with Gal Gadot returning as the DC superhero up against Maxwell Lord and Cheetah.

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But the standout performance of the film doesn't come from Gadot, but instead from a young actress playing the childhood incarnation of Wonder Woman.

Lilly Aspell plays a young Wonder Woman in the new blockbuster movie (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)Lilly Aspell plays a young Wonder Woman in the new blockbuster movie (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Lilly Aspell plays a young Wonder Woman in the new blockbuster movie (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

As the film becomes available to purchase digitally, here is everything you need to know about Lilly Aspell.

Who is Lilly Aspell?

The job of portraying the young Wonder Woman fell to 13-year old Lilly Aspell, who was only nine years old when the first Wonder Woman film was released.

Born in 2007 to professional jockey parents in a family of equestrians – her uncle Leighton Aspell won the Grand National twice – she was scouted for the film by casting staff as she shopped with her parents on London’s Oxford Street.

"I had never acted in my life," she told BBC Scotland's The Nine. "They really liked that I could ride and was really active so I think that helped."

She even performed her own stunt work in the new film, with director Patty Jenkins favouring practical effects of computer imagery; Lilly had to train in sword training and paddle board flips.

How did she prepare for the role?

"Training took six months,” she said. “Bow and arrow and horse training as well. Kind of just getting my… because I was already quite fit and active, but just muscle as well.”

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Gadot said she was impressed with her understudy’s work, telling The Graham Norton show in December, ”she's the real deal.”

“She works hard, she's super talented. The stunt coordinator came to us and said, "she can stunt herself. We can't find anyone to stunt her.’ Anything you see, she is doing, she is amazing.”

Born in Kilmarnock, Aspell’s real love is in the equestrian world, and as a keen showjumper, told BBC Breakfast it’s her dream to “win Oscars, win BAFTAs and go to the Olympics. I would love to do them [all].”

So far, the only person to have won both an Olympic gold medal and an Oscar is the late Kobe Bryant, who won an Academy Award in 2018 for Dear Basketball, an animated short film on the sport he wrote and narrated.

What else has she been in?

Aspell made her screen debut in the first Wonder Woman film released back in 2017, again playing the young Diana. Aspell appeared in flashback sequences in the first film, but now has her own sequences in the sequel.

She would then go on to appear in Extinction – Netflix’s 2018 science fiction action film – as Megan, before appearing in Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly’s much-derided Arthur Conan Doyle lampoon Holmes, where she was cast as ‘Newschild’.

Following on from Wonder Woman 1984, Aspell is set to appear in the BBC’s adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love, directed by Emily Mortimer and starring Lily James and Emily Beecham.

That series is currently filming at the time of writing.

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