Disney has announced the start of production on Kenneth Branagh’s live-action “Cinderella”, starring “Downton Abbey’s” Lily James as Ella (aka Cinderella), along with “Game of Thrones’” Richard Madden as the Prince, Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother Lady Tremaine, and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother.
Production on “Cinderella” will take place at Pinewood Studios and locations throughout England, for a March 13, 2015 release date.
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.
Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera will play evil stepsisters Anastasia and Drisella, respectively, with Stellan Skarsgård, Nonso Anozie, and Derek Jacobi also in the cast.
Branagh is directing from a script by Chris Weitz.