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When your target is generation after generation of little children, everything old is new again and again. For the Walt Disney Studios, this means tucking their classics away in the mysterious Disney vault until they are re-released in theaters and on home entertainment platforms with a big to-do. Or remaking the princess tales that millions worldwide know by heart into live-action tent poles with fantastically gorgeous stars. As you can see in the image above, production has begun on Disney’s Cinderella. In this first look, you can see the titular heroine riding—seemingly bareback—a horse in a creamy turquoise gown that is sure to have cosplayers and little girls around the world giddy with anticipation.
While Disney memorably made an animated tale of this iconic story back in 1950, this new film is said to have found more inspiration in the original 1697 tale by Charles Perrault. Downton Abbey’s Lily James stars as Ella, the daughter of a merchant who marries the beautiful but cruel Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) after the death of his wife/Ella’s mother. Despite her best efforts to welcome her new stepmother, and stepsisters Anastasia (The Borgia’s Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Downton Abbey’s Sophie McShera) into her and her father’s home, she is met only with coldness and scorn—especially when her dear father abruptly dies. No matter the maliciousness of her new family, Ella strives to follow in the example of her mother, being kind and loving.
Thankfully, Ella’s miserable little life is changed forever after she happens to stumble across a dashing young man called Kit (Game of Thrones’s Richard Madden) in the woods. The two form an instant connection, but unbeknownst to him, this gentleman she assumes works for the palace is actually its prince. When a royal ball is announced, Ella is eager to attend in hopes of seeing Kit again. But her hopes are dashed when her callous stepmother destroys her dress for the event. All seems lost, when an old beggar woman (Helena Bonham Carter) offers a solution. All she needs are a pumpkin, a handful of mice and a little bit of magic.
Thor helmer Kenneth Branagh is directing the sweeping romantic tale at Pinewood Studios in London, and has said of Cinderella:
“It is impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney and the timeless images we’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.”
Cinderella will open on March 13, 2015. In the meantime, let’s visit with the classic version of the sweet servant girl turned princess with this sing-along: