FILMING BEGINS FOR DISNEY’S LIVE-ACTION “CINDERELLA”

Walt Disney Pictures announced recently that principal photography has begun at Pinewood Studios in London, on “Cinderella,” Disney’s first-ever live action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale.

Cinderella-LJames

Image Credit: Giles Keyte

Directed by Academy Award-nominee Kenneth Branagh (“Thor”), the film stars Lily James (TV’s “Downton Abbey,” “Wrath of the Titans”) in the title role, Richard Madden (TV’s “Game of Thrones”) as the Prince, Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett (“The Aviator”) as the infamous stepmother Lady Tremaine, and Academy Award-nominee Helena Bonham Carter (“Alice in Wonderland”) as the Fairy Godmother. Holliday Grainger (“Anna Karenina”) and Sophie McShera (“Downton Abbey”) play Ella’s stepsisters Anastasia and Drisella, respectively. Stellan Skarsgard (“Marvel’s The Avengers”) and Nonso Anozie (“Game of Thrones”) play the Arch Grand Duke and the Prince’s loyal friend, the Captain. Tony-Award-winner Derek Jacobi portrays the King.

“Cinderella” is produced by Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: First Class”), Allison Shearmur (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”), David Barron (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”), from a screenplay by Chris Weitz (“About a Boy”).

The filmmaking team includes three-time Academy Award-winning production designer Dante Ferretti (“Sweeney Todd”), three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell (“Shakespeare in Love”), director of photography Haris Zambarloukos (“Thor”) and Academy Award-winning editor Martin Walsh (“Chicago”).

The timeless story of “Cinderella” dates back to 1697 when first created by Charles Perrault, although it truly came to life for millions all over the world in 1950 with Walt Disney’s celebrated animated feature.

Director Kenneth Branagh says: “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.”

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.

Production on “Cinderella” will take place at Pinewood Studios and locations throughout England.

“Cinderella” will be released through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures starting March 13, 2015.

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