updated 04/03/2011 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/02/2011 AT 9:30 AM ET
For Lily Collins, snagging the role of Snow White is the fairy tale ending to a childhood dream.
“Snow White was my favorite fairy tale [growing up], and when I first read about the project, I was like, ‘I have to get in on this,’” Collins, 22, tells PEOPLE at WonderCon in San Francisco. “It’s such an iconic character.”
She’ll star alongside Julia Roberts, who was cast to play the Evil Queen, in Tarsem Singh’s 3-D The Brothers Grimm: Snow White. And the two leading ladies have a little competition: there’s another Snow White movie in the works, Snow White and the Huntsman, which stars Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen and Kristen Stewart as the beloved princess with “skin white as snow.”
But Collins, who made her film debut in The Blind Side, isn’t focusing on the race to the big screen. Fresh off the casting news – she found out she scored the lead role this week – she insists she’s just “so excited” to get to work.
And although Collins may be relatively new to the industry, she has a few A-list advisers to turn to: Her father is musician Phil Collins – “He’s just a proud dad,” she says – and her (rumored) boyfriend is Twilight top dog Taylor Lautner, alongside whom she stars in Abduction, a thriller that hits theaters in September.
“I’m going to keep the private life private,” she says of the rumored romance. “I’m in this for the craft; I’m in it for the passion.”
Perhaps this passion is something Singh noticed when casting her – that and something else.
“I saw her eyebrows, and I said, ‘You’re it,’ ” the director tells PEOPLE, joking. “When I first saw her [for Snow White], I think she was trying for the part, but when I saw her I just said, ‘She doesn’t even have to try at all.’ “