The Blunt Reason Cinderella Isn't A Musical

In Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, there are many elements immediately reminiscent of the Walt Disney Animation film from 1950 – but there is one interesting difference between the two movies’ genres: the live-action adaptation isn’t a musical. While there is some singing in the feature, audiences won’t be treated to new versions of "Bippity Boppity Boo" or "The Work Song (Cinderelly, Cinderelly)." And while there are certainly fans that are going to miss these songs, there’s a fairly simple explanation for why they’re not in the movie: screenwriter Chris Weitz simply couldn’t work them into the aesthetic the production was going for.

Having recently had the chance to sit down and talk with Weitz about his work on the new Cinderella movie, I took the opportunity to ask if there was any thought at any point about making the film as a musical, and he bluntly explained that it was never really under consideration. He even went as far as to say that he was actually relieved by this direction for the project, as it wasn’t something that he was comfortable with or felt would fit with the film he wrote. Said Weitz,

I don’t know how to write that kind of thing really, and I think that that’s something that for me, it’s much easier to do that with an animated film. That’s why many of the Disney animated films are musicals. With live action, sort of getting into and out of those moments of song is really super tricky.

In fact, Chris Weitz added that the brief "musical stuff" that is included in the final cut of Cinderella wasn’t actually included until very late in the production process, and he further confirmed that they started working on the project without the notion of making the movie with multiple song and dance numbers. He added,

We were certainly referring to the 1950 version all of the time in terms of little elements and ideas and thoughts, but somehow I just couldn’t get away with "Bippity Boppity Boo." If I could have, I would have. It’s cool. I’ve got nothing against it. It just didn’t happen.

I can imagine that there will be certain sects of Disney fans who are sad that they won’t be hearing some of the classic songs they grew up loving, but there are two silver linings here. The first is that Helena Bonham Carter’s Fairy Godmother does at the very least make reference to "Bippity Boppity Boo." The other good news is that just because Cinderella isn’t a musical doesn’t mean that the other upcoming live-action adaptations of classic Disney animated movies aren’t going to be. Jon Favreau has suggested that his version of The Jungle Book will at least have Bill Murray’s Baloo singing "Bare Necessities;" and Emma Watson has hinted that she will be belting out a few choice numbers in Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast.

And for those of you who are still desperate to hear Cinderella sing, you can always watch Anna Kendrick’s version in Into The Woods, which will be out on Blu-ray and DVD on March 24th.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.