Hollywood loves fairy tale adaptations right now, and it doesn’t seem as though the box office failure of Jack the Giant Slayer earlier this year has done anything to curb that enthusiasm. In addition to the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman sequel that has both Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth set to return as the titular characters, there are also quite a few other stories about princes, princesses, fairies and magic in the pipeline at other studios.
The first name that people think of when fairy tale movies get mentioned is almost always Disney, the company behind the classic animated adaptations of stories like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Cinderella. It’s the latter film that is about to get a revisit, however, as Kenneth Branagh is currently preparing to direct a live-action version of Cinderella from a script written by Chris Weitz (About a Boy) and Aline Brosh McKenna (27 Dresses).
As principal photography on Cinderella gets underway at Pinewood Studios, Disney has released the first promotional still from the film, which shows its young protagonist enjoying a slice of the outdoors.
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Riding the horse as Cinderella is Lily James, who played a highly competitive athlete in last year’s release Fast Girls and also starred in the most recent season of period drama Downton Abbey as Lady Rose MacClare. She seems to be wearing a variant of Cinderella’s iconic blue ballgown from the animated film, though it’s slightly less formal and looks like… well, it looks like perfect gear for someone who wants bareback horse-riding through a meadow with flowers in their hair. Perhaps the pumpkin broke down.
James is a solid choice for the lead, but the supporting cast is also pretty great, with Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) getting a slight demotion from King of the North to Prince Charming as Cinderella’s love interest; Cate Blanchett plays the unlucky orphan’s cruel stepmother, with Holliday Grainger (Anna Karenina) and Sophie McShera (Downton Abbey) as her stepsisters; Helena Bonham-Carter will play Cinderella’s fairy godmother; and finally, Stellan Skarsgård (Thor) and Nonso Anozie (The Grey) will play the Arch Grand Duke and his loyal Captain, with Derek Jacobi (Gladiator) as the King.
Cinderella isn’t the only live-action movie based on a successful Disney animation to be filmed in London recently. In the upcoming Sleeping Beauty prequel Maleficent, Angelina Jolie will play one of the most frightening Disney villains to date in her early years, before she finally became the shape-shifting, kidnapping sorceress that we all know and love to hate.
Tell us in the comments if you think Branagh can bring something new to the table in his version of this very old story, or if you’re growing tired of the fairy tale craze.
Cinderella is out in theaters on March 13, 2015.