'Cinderella' Starts Production, Releases First Official Still

Cinderella

The glass slippers have been fitted, the fairies have been godmothered, and the Bibbidi has been Bobbidi-Booed: Disney is officially rolling on its live-action Cinderella, with Kenneth Branagh behind the cameras directing a cast that includes Downton Abbey star Lily James as the titular princess-in-waiting ("Ella" to her friends) and Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother. According to the official synopsis issued by the studio:

"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 is scheduled to take place in England, with Branagh leading his cast and crew through shooting at the venerable Pinewood Studios, in addition to a number of other U.K locations, leading up to a planned March 13, 2015 release date.

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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