The Real 'Cinderella' Story Is A Lot More Grimm Than The Movie Will Be

Uh, this is dark.

At this point, the world is waiting in breathless anticipation for Kenneth Branagh's big-screen adaptation of "Cinderella." In the film, Lily James takes on the titular role, while "Game of Thrones" alum Richard Madden plays her prince, Helena Bonham Carter her fairy godmother, and a gaggle of CG animals, her friends.

However, this big-screen version of "Cinderella" won't be telling us the whole story -- or at least it won't be telling us the darker version of Cindy's story, as laid out in the Brothers Grimm's "Aschenputtel." Instead, the movie looks to be sticking with Charles Perrault's much lighter, fairy-fueled version of the tale, just like the 1950 animated film that made the story famous.

... But we still love the Grimms' (and, to a lesser extent, Basile's) much more wicked "Cinderella," so here's what the film would have to include if it wanted to get things right AKA make us happy:

  1. Cinderella would need to wear wooden shoes.

    "They took her pretty clothes away from her, put an old grey bedgown on her, and gave her wooden shoes," the (translated into English) "Aschenputtel" story reads. As you'll see momentarily, foot crime is a major recurring theme with the Grimms bros., but something tells us James won't be clunking around wearing wood.

  2. There'd be a whole lot more tree.

    In this version of Cinderella, the magic all comes from the Fairy Godmother -- but the F.G. was an invention of Perrault's, and the rest of the (admittedly less popular) Cindy story finds magic in trees. In the Grimm version, when Cinderella's dad goes on a work trip or whatever, his step-daughters ask for lavish gifts -- but Cinderella only wants the first branch that knocks over his hat on the way home. (Love how she specifies that it has to be on the way home. Wouldn't work the same if he got it on the way there.)

    The branch ends up being from a hazel bush, and when Cinderella sticks it in her mom's grave and cries on it, it becomes a magic tree.

    And in Basile's version of the story, the fairy grows from the (date) tree itself -- which Cinderella is told to plant by a maiden from the Grotto of the Fairies in Sardinia.

  3. She would cry -- a lot.

    "Aschenputtel" is only 2635 words in English, which isn't an awful lot -- think three pages. However, Cinderella weeps a total of five times. Three times at her mom's grave, once because she can't go to the ball, and then one more time because she gets her hopes up that she will get to go after the birds peck the lentils out of the ashes, but her stepmom just laughs in her face and says "no." (Why did you fall for that, Cinderella?!)

  4. There would be three dresses.

    Fans of awesome onscreen makeovers should hope that this detail from the Grimm and Basile versions sticks around. Unlike in "Into the Woods," Cinderella should get three separate outfits to wear to three separate bells. In fact, in the Basile version, Cindy gets an entire glam squad of so-called "damsels" to help nail her look.

  5. There would be severe foot mutilation.

    This is where the differences become truly extreme. In the Grimm version of Cinderella, they added a cute little twist where Cinderella's step-sisters tried to play the prince for a fool. The first one -- at her mother's behest -- cut off her own big toe to fit the golden slipper, but the prince was alerted to the deception by some singing birds (and the bloody shoe). The second sister then cut off her own heel (!!), thereby mutilating herself -- but not for the last time.

  6. Cinderella's father would be a major POS.

    In most versions of "Cinderella" that we see nowadays, her father is either completely blinded by his new wife or absent altogether. But in both the Basile and Grimm versions of the tale, he's an abusive monster who calls her a "stunted kitchen-wench" (in Grimm) and openly neglects her, referring to her as his first wife's daughter instead of his own (in both).

  7. Justice would be blind.

    Oh, sorry Grimm stepsisters, was losing a significant part of your foot enough pain for you? Tough.

    In Perrault's version of the story Cinderella forgives her stepsisters, and in Basile's they simply fade away... but in Grimm's version, well:

    "When the betrothed couple went to church, the elder was at the right side and the younger at the left, and the pigeons pecked out one eye from each of them. Afterwards as they came back the elder was at the left, and the younger at the right, and then the pigeons pecked out the other eye from each. And thus, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness all their days."