First Look: Lily James in Kenneth Branagh's Live-Action 'Cinderella'
by Ethan Anderton
September 23, 2013
Production on Walt Disney Pictures first live-action adaptation of the fairytale Cinderella is now in production across the pond in London, and a first look photos has come along with the press release announcing principal photography. The photo features Lily James in the title role as she rides a horse across an open field. Director Kenneth Branagh (Thor) says, "With Lily James we have found our perfect Cinderella. She combines knockout beauty with intelligence, wit, fun and physical grace." He also adds, "Her Prince is being played by Richard Madden, a young actor with incredible power and charisma." Look!
Here's the first photo from Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, sent to us by Disney:
And here's the official plot synopsis straight from the studio's press release:
The story of “Cinderella” 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 Ella’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 mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” 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 Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming “Kit.” 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 Cinderella’s life forever.
Disney also confirms the rest of the cast including Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother Lady Tremaine, and Holliday Grainger (Anna Karenina) and Sophie McShera ("Downton Abbey") as the tormenting stepsisters Anastasia and Drisella. Helena Bonham Carter (Les Miserables) plays Ella's fairy godmother, and Stellan Skarsgård (Thor) and Nonso Anozie ("Game of Thrones") play the Arch Grand Duke and the Prince’s loyal friend, respectively. Finally, Derek Jacobi plays the king of the land. Chris Weitz (About a Boy) wrote the screenplay and Disney sends this live-action Cinderella to theaters on March 13th, 2015.