First Look: Lily James as 'Cinderella' in Kenneth Branagh's live-action movie
"Cinderella" is going to the ball once again.
Disney's live-action adaptation of the classic fairytale has started principal photography in London, and as a tease for fans the studio has released the very first image of Lily James ("Wrath of the Titans," "Downton Abbey") as the title character:
Directed by Kenneth Branagh ("Thor," "Hamlet"), the film also stars Richard Madden as the Prince, Cate Blanchett as Cinderella's wicked stepmother Lady Tremaine, Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother, Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera as Cinderella's stepsisters Anastasia and Drisella (respectively), Stellan Skarsgard as the Arch Grand Duke, Nonso Anozie as the Prince's loyal friend the Captain, and Derek Jacobi as the King.
“It is impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney and the timeless images we’ve all grown up watching," said Branagh in a statement. "And those classic moments are irresistible to a filmmaker. 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.”
Production on the film, which was penned by Chris Weitz ("About a Boy," "The Golden Compass"), will take place at London's Pinewood Studios and other locations around England.
"Cinderella" is slated to hit theaters on March 13, 2015.
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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.
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