Disney just sent out an announcement for the start of production on “Cinderella,” the studio’s next play at turning one of their classic animated movies into a modernized live-action blockbuster.
This time, they’re retelling the rag-to-riches story that we all know. Kenneth Branaugh will be directing the fairytale as a follow-up to his last movie — also with Disneey — “Thor.” He will lead an all-star cast that is headed up by “Downton Abbey’s” Lily James and “Game of Thrones” star Richard Madden as the future princess and current prince.
“It is impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney and the timeless images we’ve all grown up watching. And those classic moments are irresistible to a filmmaker,” Branaugh said in the announcement. “With Lily James we have found our perfect Cinderella. She combines knockout beauty with intelligence, wit, fun and physical grace. Her Prince is being played by Richard Madden, a young actor with incredible power and charisma. He is funny, smart and sexy and a great match for Cinderella.”
The cast is rounded out with two of today’s most gifted British actresses, Cate Blanchett will play the evil stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter will be the “kindly beggar woman” that has more to her than appears.
Disney also provided a detailed plot synopsis, which does a good job of demonstrating where the live-action version will different from the animated classic.
The story of “Cinderella” follows the fortunes of young Ella whose merchant father remarries following the tragic death of her mother. Keen to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother Lady Tremaine and her daughters Anastasia and Drisella into the family home. But, when Ella’s father suddenly and unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” She will not give in to despair nor despise those who abuse her. And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an employee at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears as if her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming “Kit.” Alas, her stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand as a kindly beggar woman steps forward and, armed with a pumpkin and a few mice, changes Cinderella’s life forever.
“Cinderella” opens in theaters on March 13, 2015.