This first trailer for Disney’s live action version of Cinderella just landed, promising a beautiful heroine, a handsome hero, but most importantly, that elusive thing that every girl truly craves, yet despairs of ever finding, a gorgeous and “really comfortable” pair of shoes!
After just one viewing, this two minutes, forty seconds of footage will make you feel like the Grinch standing atop Mt. Crumpet and listening to the town of Whoville on Christmas morning. Any vestige of cynicism will melt away and your heart will grew three sizes. (All of which is complete hyperbole, of course. Anyone who used to be a little girl at some point in their lives was already in. The rest of you will probably be dragged against your will to accompany a girl no matter how old she is.)
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 Drizella 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 since she used to work in the cinders, 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.
That this looks familiar is not just down to the fact that the original fairy-tale is centuries old, but that the film was designed to look a lot like the animated version we grew up with, right down to Ella’s (Lily James, best known for a stint on “Downton Abbey”) blue gown. I will say that Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother doesn’t look much like the cartoon version (who looked and sounded like Maureen Stapleton), but she does look delightful (and I love that the director both gave his ex a juicy role and allowed her to look pretty. Something her current paramour rarely does).
Can we talk about Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother? This is going to be delicious!
Speaking of which, Richard Madden as the charming prince certainly appears to be so. (And it’s a fair bet that he’ll end up wearing the crown so hideously denied him in “Game of Thrones”, am I right?)
The rest of the cast is pure gold as well. Hayley Atwell, whom a lot of you know as Marvel’s Agent Carter, looks ethereal as Ella’s dearly departed mother (and like she could be related to James). And yes, that was Ben Chaplin seen briefly as her father. The stepsisters are played by Holliday Grainger (“The Borgias”) and Sophie McShera (another Downton regular). We also get Stellan Skargård, Nonso Anozie, and Derek Jacobi. (Dead Again reunion! Woot!) I can’t wait!
Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh, from a script by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) and Chris Weitz (About a Boy) opens in the US on March 13 and in the UK on 27th March, 2015.
Can you believe Emma Watson turned this down?