Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away Sir Kenneth Branagh directed a new, live-action version of Cinderella. Well, technically, he made it in London last year. But this fresh, Disney-backed take on the beloved tale—which is released on March 13 next year —does have what sounds like a fairytale cast, with Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother Lady Tremaine, Helena Bonham-Carter as the Fairy Godmother, Game of Thrones star Richard Madden as the Prince, Derek Jacobi as the King, Stellan Skarsgård as the King’s scheming adviser (is there really any other kind?), and Downton Abbey actress Lily James as Ella.
Walt Disney himself was, of course, ultimately responsible for bringing us the classic 1950 animated version of Cinderella and Branagh reveals that, in plot terms, this new film does not stray far from the standard version of this oft-told tale. “I believe that there are expectations of a Disney Cinderella, which demand you use the tenets of the story,” says the actor-filmmaker, whose previous credits include 1993’s Much Ado About Nothing, 1994’s Robert De Niro-starring Frankenstein, and 2011’s Thor. “So, of course, we give people a pumpkin. Of course, we give them a carriage. Of course the mice are going to transform into the horses. Everything that you might expect is there.”
But? “In the past, [some versions of] the story had set Cinderella as a victim,” continues Branagh. “From the inside out, we see a girl who does not see herself as a victim. She’s her own gal and she’s good company. She redefines goodness, I think, in the performance and she makes it sexy, and cool, and playful.”
You can check out the brand new trailer for Cinderella below.