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Disney's Cinderella in a glorious live action version
The princess returns
Ah, Disney and their princesses. They sure love them up there in the headquarters of Disney. That's not so weird, since it's one of the first things many people (okay, mostly little girls) think of when they think of Disney. And the princesses are a big part of Disney's business. The classic princess movies (Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty) are still being rereleased and loved by little girls all over the world, while newer princesses like Ariel, Belle, Tiana and of course Ella and Anna from Frozen have stolen many hearts as well.
So it's not a weird thing that Disney likes to ravamp their princesses every now and then. We had the Maleficent movie which was a big success, showing us a different side of the evil witch and thus more or less re-telling the Snow White story. People flocked to theaters to see Angelie Jolie have fun in the role, which urged Disney to do more with princesses and live action. Bring on Cinderella!
Can magic strike again?
It was actually 2011 when Disney green lighted a new live action version of Cinderella, so quite a while before Maleficent became such a hit. It was actually the live action version of Alice in Wonderland which showed Disney that a fresh new look at their princesses could be a success. After all, Tim Burton's version of Alice made Disney over a billion dollars in worldwide box office money, showing that us movie going people are interested in a fresh new take on an old story.
Still, don't expect too much shockingly different about live action Cinderella. An early version of the script was actually scrapped because it was too dark. Disney is really going for the classic Cinderella tale that has captured hearts all over the world. And you know, I think they are right for doing so. Cinderella is one of the classic romantic stories, and the original animated movie is a perfect blueprint for doing something new with.
In the past, we have seen several new looks at Cinderella in movies. None of these was ever a really big hit, as people mostly compare it to the Disney-version, and if they found it to be too different, they would rather stick to just watching that again, instead of changing their memories of the story too much. ABC's Once Upon a Time also had their own take on Cinderella, but it wasn't one of the more popular storylines because they turned it into something much more cruel than what fairy tales are used to.
It's up to movie director Kenneth Branagh to keep the magic alive in the new live action version. He stepped in when the director of the original, darker version, Mark Romanek left the project over 'creative differences'. In case you are wondering if this is really a good project for the director of Thor, then think back to all the classic Shakespeare stories Branagh has brought to film successfully. Personally, I think he is a great choice for this movie. He knows how to handle a classic tale, but is still able to give his own spin to it.
Regarding this, Branagh told Collider: "I wanted it to feel fresh. I wanted it to feel very contemporary. I wanted it to feel very direct, but I also wanted it to have its classical roots, in a world and period that’s some distance from us: enough distance to accept some magic. But, I think this is going to be one where, the essential part of the story is not going to rely on the idea that personal happiness can only be achieved if a man comes along." That's an idea movie goers all over the world can appreciate.
It was no easy feat for Disney to find an actress perfectly suited for the role of Cinderella. Their first choice was Emma Watson, and even though the British Harry Potter star was close to signing, a deal fell through at the last minute. A list of other actresses was considered, but scheduling conflicts and other reasons prevented people like Gabriella Wilde, Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie and Alicia Vikander from stepping into the glass slippers. It was finally announced that Lily James would take the role. She is used to wearing classic dresses, since she shot to fame in the BBC series Downtown Abby. Apart from that, you may have seen her in movies like Wrath of the Titans and Broken. Cinderella is her first starring role in a big event movie.
Another important role in the movie is that of the evil stepmother. This nasty piece of work will be brought to the screen by Cate Blanchett, who was actually the first actress to sign on for the movie. Another big role is that of the fairy godmother, a role that has been substantially enhanced for the movie. Helena Bonham Carter will work her magic and transform pumpkins and mice into coaches and horses. Other cast members are Richard Madden in the role of Prince, Holliday Granger and Sophia McShera as mean girl stepsisters Anastasia and Drisella, Stellan Skarsgard as the Grand Duke and Derek Jacobi as the king.
If you've seen the animated movie, and I'm guessing you have, you will remember it being filled with talking mice and other animals. They're in the movie as well, CG-animated this time, and from the trailer I'm taking it they won't be speaking too much. Still, they, and all the other animals in the movie (apart from the cat, obviously) will go out of their way to help Cinderella out.
The trailer for Disney's new live action Cinderella movie
The trailer for the new Cinderella movie actually shows quite a bit of the story, a lot more than most trailers do, at fear for spoiling too much. Then again. we all know the Cinderella story and since this new version is quite close to the original movie, how much can really be spoiled?
Judging from the trailer, this is going to be a great movie. It all looks gorgeous, Lily James seems to make a perfect princess, and Helena Bonham Carter and Cate Blanchett seem to be having a lot of fun hamming it up in their respective roles of godmother (good) and stepmother (bad). One of the things that stands out in the trailer is the fact that Cinderella and the prince seem to meet up already before the ball, which is something that wasn't in the original fairy tale or in the Disney version. Then again, you cannot leave everything exactly the same. There are bits and bobs that seem to add to the story as well, and they're always welcome. It's a good trailer, whetting the appetite of fans all over the world, and laying rest to fears that this classic Disney movie would be changed too much.