Walt Disney Pictures announced today that principal photography has begun at Pinewood Studios in London, on â€œÂ Cinderella,â€ Disneyâ€™s first-ever live action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale.
Directed by Academy AwardÂ®-nominee Kenneth Branagh (â€œJack Ryan,â€ â€œThorâ€), the film stars Lily James (â€œDownton Abbey,â€ â€œWrath of the Titansâ€) in the title role, Richard Madden (â€œGame of Thrones,â€ â€œBirdsongâ€) as the Prince, OscarÂ®-winner Cate Blanchett (â€œThe Aviatorâ€) as the infamous stepmother Lady Tremaine, and Academy Award-nominee Helena Bonham Carter (â€œThe Kingâ€™s Speech,â€ â€œAlice in Wonderlandâ€) as the Fairy Godmother. Holliday Grainger (â€œGreat Expectations,â€ â€œAnna Kareninaâ€) and Sophie McShera (â€œDownton Abbey,â€ â€œWaterloo Roadâ€) play Ellaâ€™s stepsisters Anastasia and Drisella, respectively. Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd (â€œThe Avengers,â€ â€œThe Girl with the Dragon Tattooâ€) and Nonso Anozie (â€œGame of Thrones,â€ â€œThe Greyâ€) play the Arch Grand Duke and the Princeâ€™s loyal friend, the Captain. TonyÂ® Award-winner Derek Jacobi portrays the King.
â€œCinderellaâ€ is produced by Simon Kinberg (â€œX-Men: First Class,â€ â€œElysiumâ€), Allison Shearmur (â€œThe Hunger Games: Catching Fireâ€), David Barron (â€œHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,â€ â€œJack Ryanâ€), from a screenplay by Chris Weitz (â€œAbout a Boy,â€ â€œThe Golden Compassâ€).
The filmmaking team includes three-time Academy Award-winning production designer Dante Ferretti (â€œThe Aviator,â€ â€œHugo,â€ â€œSweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Streetâ€), three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell (â€œThe Aviator,â€ â€œThe Young Victoria,â€ â€œShakespeare in Loveâ€), director of photography Haris Zambarloukos (â€œSleuth,â€ â€œThorâ€) and Academy Award-winning editor Martin Walsh (â€œChicago,â€ â€œClash of the Titansâ€).
The timeless story of â€œCinderellaâ€ dates back to 1697 when first created by Charles Perrault, although it truly came to life for millions all over the world in 1950 with Walt Disneyâ€™s celebrated animated feature.
Director Kenneth Branagh says: â€œIt is impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney and the timeless images weâ€™ve all grown up watching. 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.â€
The story of â€œCinderellaâ€ 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 Ellaâ€™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 motherâ€™s dying words and to â€œhave courage and be kind.â€ 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 Ellaâ€™s hopes of once again encountering the charming â€œKit.â€ 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 Cinderellaâ€™s life forever.
Production on â€œCinderellaâ€ will take place at Pinewood Studios and locations throughout England.
â€œCinderellaâ€ will be released through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on March 13, 2015.