Meanwhile in … Themyscira: Lilly Aspell’s racing background helps for Wonder Woman role

Horse Racing Lilly Aspell Wonder Woman
Lilly Aspell as young Diana in Wonder Woman. Photo: Warner Bros.

Jockeys’ daughter stars as young Diana in latest Hollywood superhero blockbuster

Paradise Island: It is no wonder Lilly Aspell was very much at home inside the arena used for the Amazonian Games – the opening scene for the latest superhero blockbuster Wonder Woman 1984.

For the 13-year-old actress is the daughter of jockey Paddy Aspell, who tasted success in jump racing’s foremost arena as a Cheltenham Festival-winning rider.

It was keen showjumper Lilly’s riding prowess and resemblance to the Wonder Woman lead actor Gal Gadot that earned her the chance to play the young Diana in the DC franchise.

She had a small part in flashbacks in the 2017 Wonder Woman film, which took $822 million worldwide at the box office, and has a bigger role in its sequel, which is out this month.

Lilly’s mother Donna (Caldwell) was also a professional jockey and uncle Leighton won the Grand National twice. She was picked out by chance by talent spotters while on a shopping trip to London from her home in Scotland.

“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.”

Lilly underwent six months of training, learning archery as well as honing her riding skills so that she could perform as many of the physical stunts as possible.

She stars as the young Diana in the action-packed opening sequence on Themiscyra, the home of the Amazons formerly known as Paradise Island in the DC Comics universe. Her sequences were filmed on the Canary Islands.

Lilly told BBC Breakfast she would like to go to the Olympics, win a BAFTA and an Oscar. There is a precedent there too as dad Paddy’s Festival-winning mount was Chief Dan George, named after the Oscar-nominated actor.

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