First Peek: Disney Starts Production on Live-Action Cinderella

Cinderella
Lily James is taking on the title character in the live-action version of Cinderella. Image: Disney.

Cinderelly, Cinderelly, you’re getting a live-action remake, Cinderelly!

Yes, Disney is planning to deliver a live-action version of Cinderella. The House of Mouse just kicked off principal photography at Pinewood Studios in London, with Kenneth Branagh (Thor) in the director’s chair.

Lily James (Downton Abbey) is taking on the title character, with Game of Thrones star Richard Madden playing the prince. The film also stars Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera, Stellan Skarsgård, and Derek Jacobi.

Possibly the most interesting piece of casting news is that Cate Blanchett is portraying stepmother Lady Tremaine, with Helena Bonham Carter adding a little sparkle to our favorite fairy godmother. Now, doesn’t it seem like those roles are reversed? I’m sure that Blanchett can be as mean as a snake if she wants. That said, after her turn in Les Misérables, I could really see Carter bringing a bit of comedic creepiness to that iconic role.

There’s no word on whether the film will include any of the same songs from the 1950 animated film. That said, the theme is pretty much the same. Here is Disney’s official summary:

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.

Chris Weitz (About a Boy) penned the script.

Don’t rev up those pumpkins quite yet, people. Cinderella won’t hit theaters until March 13, 2015.

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