There aren’t exactly a lack of Cinderella adaptations. From the musical versions to Disney’s animated take, even the live-action Drew Barrymore re-telling, everyone has their favorite.
Disney wants to add one more to the slate, and called on Thor director Kenneth Branagh to bring the impoverished, unlucky heroine to the screen once more. Fans attending Disney’s D23 Expo on Saturday got a chance to see a pre-taped segment with Branagh, who teased audiences with his plans for the film and the story and how he plans to honor the beloved animated classic.
Set to hit theaters in March 2015, none of the cast or crew could attend, since they’re about to start production. Sean Bailey, president of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Productions, promised “we will be faithful to the original material,” but added that they hoped to elevate it as well, showing the politics of the royal court while following Cinderella from her time as a young girl to the fateful night when she’s given that dress and those slippers and heads to the ball.
In the pre-taped segment, Branagh showed a screen test with the new Cinderella (Downton Abbey’s Lily James) wearing a makeshift blue gown meant to represent the one she’ll wear to the ball. As the Prince, Richard Madden of Game of Thrones will be a “funny, smart, sexy prince. A great complimentary match for Cinderella,” said Branagh. Cate Blanchett’s wicked stepmother will be at turns wicked, but also witty, and Helena Bonham Carter’s Fairy Godmother will be “warm and tender and funny.” Branagh says she’s the “voice who lets us know that all will be well.”
Branagh is concerned with getting the iconic scenes right — from the transformation of the pumpkin into the elaborate carriage, to Cinderella’s entrance into the ballroom, to the moment when she realizes the slipper does, in fact, fit. If Branagh’s excitement is any indication, this newest take on the girl who loses her slipper might just be a new classic after all.