'Downton Abbey' Star Lily James is Disney's Live-Action 'Cinderella'
by Ethan Anderton
April 30, 2013
After Harry Potter franchise star Emma Watson didn't close a deal to star in Disney's live-action take on Cinderella, the search was still on for someone to take the iconic princess lead. Previous names like Saoirse Ronan (Hanna), Gabriella Wilde (The Three Musketeers) and Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair) had also tested for the role, but instead a different name has surfaced as the winner. Disney has announced in a press release that Lily James, best known for her work in the TV series "Downton Abbey," has landed the potential breakthrough role alongside Cate Blanchett who is still attached to play the wicked stepmother.
Chris Weitz wrote the script and Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Hamlet) is directing after Mark Romanek clashed with the studio over creative differences, largely due to the filmmaker's darker approach. We're anticipating a much more gritty, less fantastical approach to the material, but nothing too stark since it's from Disney after all. The question is just what kind of tale the studio is hoping to tell. Though the most well-known version of the tale came from the House of Mouse in their animated 1950 film, there have been countless versions of the story that have existed for centuries. Expect more news on Cinderella in the coming weeks.