When we heard that Disney was going to remake one of the oldest fairy tales in the world, honestly, we scrambled to watch it. If the trailer (released back in November 2014) was anything to go by, then you can bet that we had high expectations for the movie. Besides, how does anyone say no to something that made you endlessly dream of someday becoming a Disney princess, powder blue gown and all?
But before you run off to catch it in the cinemas, we’ve rounded up some fun facts about Cinderella as well as the production of the film. If you’ve never schooled yourself on the history of this beloved Disney princess, then there’s no better time to start than now.
1. The version that Disney chose
There are many versions of the Cinderella tale in European folklore, but Disney chose the one made familiar by French author Charles Perrault in 1697. He’s the author who introduced to the tale the key elements of the fairy godmother, the pumpkin-turned-coach, and the glass slippers. In his version, along with the small creatures turned into Cinderella’s driver and horses, there’s a group of lizards transformed into footmen. Alas, the Disney cartoon leaves the reptiles out – but the new, live-action version does not!
2. Cinderella is not Cinderella’s real name
The title of the original French story was “Cendrillon”, otherwise known as “little ash girl”. It comes from her character being covered by ashes and cinders because as you would know, she did have the messy job of cleaning up after her entire family. Of course, Cinderella would later go on to marry a certain Prince Charming, and become the first Disney princess to marry into a royal family instead of inheriting the throne.
3. Taking “Cinderella” back to the old school
As the biggest hit Disney had enjoyed in 13 years, since “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Cinderella” generated enough cash flow not only to save the studio, but to allow it to create its own distribution company, finance several live-action and animated films, enter the world of television production, and build the Disneyland theme park. The 1950 film was nominated for 3 Academy Awards: “Best Sound”, “Best Original Score”, and “Best Original Song” (“Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo”).
Disney re-released “Cinderella” in theatres 6 times: in 1957, 1965, 1973, 1981, 1987, and 2013. In recent years, Disney has released 2 direct-to-video sequels: “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True” (2002) and “Cinderella III: A Twist in Time” (2007).
4. “If the shoe fits..”
Believe it or not, Cinderella’s shoe size is a petite 4½ according to the third instalment of her movie franchise titled, “Cinderella III: A Twist in Time”. So maybe that’s why no one else can fit into her precious glass shoes except her! Also, we suppose being light as a feather is the reason they don’t break.
Emma Watson Everyone else vs Lily James
Did you know that for Disney’s live-action remake of “Cinderella”, Lily James almost didn’t get to play the lead role? That’s because Emma Watson was actually the first choice, but she turned down the role, After Emma, the production team considered:
- Saoirse Ronan (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
- Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina)
- Gabriella Wilde (Carrie)
- Imogen Poots (Need for Speed)
- Bella Heathcote (The Rewrite)
- Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street)
But they ultimately decided on Lily James. Could be the best decision they’ve ever made though! 😉
Meanwhile, Emma Watson will play Belle in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”.
6. “Lily James” is not Lily James’ real name
Like Cinderella, 25-year-old actress Lily James spent a large chunk of her life being called something else. Born in Esher, Surrey, her real name is Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson. She took her stage name in honour of her father – British actor and musician James Thompson – who died in 2008 after a cancer diagnosis. And while we’re on the topic of family, her grandmother is the late American-born actress Helen Horton, who is the voice of Mother, the ship computer in Ridley Scott’s “Alien”.
7. The man responsible for the live-action film
Mark Romanek was originally tapped to direct the film, but dropped out due to creative differences. Romanek, who directed “Never Let Me Go” and “One Hour Photo”, also does commercials and music videos – most recently Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”.
In the end, the film was helmed by 5-time Oscar-nominated director Kenneth Branagh. His most recent directing credits include “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” and “Thor”, to say the least. In fact, Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter (who plays the Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella”) were reunited for this film on a strictly professional working relationship level. The 2 had an affair and a short-live relationship in the 90s that led to an amicable split.
8. Lily James’ exceptionally tiny waist – was it CGI-ed/photoshopped?
when the first images from the movie were released, they spurred controversy and set off a firestorm of speculations that Disney used special effects to make Lily appear slimmer. But as previously discussed, Lily worked hard and even went on a liquid diet to transform her figure in order to suit that of the Disney princess. On top of that, the dress created the perfect illusion because the skirt is quite big and therefore, the proportions made it look smaller than it is. Also, the naturally small-waisted Lily James also revealed that she wore a corset that “pulls” her in during the filming of “Cinderella”.
When we say “pulls” her in, we mean that the corset part of the gown slimmed her down to a 17-inch waist.
9. Oscar red carpet-worthy dresses by Sandy Powell
The 1940s-inspired mixed-period costumes are the work of Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell. Expect sparkly ball gowns and day dresses to steal scenes! Helena Bonham Carter even told the Berlin “Cinderella” press conference of her LED Fairy Godmother dress:
The logistics of going to the ladies… well, you couldn’t locate the toilet. I was a walking lamp with 4,000 LED lights inside my dress so I had to have a 15 pound battery back in my bum and there was a lovely Belgian man who worked for Phillips who had to come and turn me on every night.
Cinderella’s signature slipper, meanwhile, is made of crystal, designed in collaboration with Swarovski, and based upon a shoe from the 1890s that Sandy Powell found in a museum in Northampton.
10. “Cinderella” was supposed to be the first live-action remake trilogy of Disney
The film was announced in May 2010 as the first film of the live-action remake trilogy but was delayed for various reasons. “The Jungle Book” and “Maleficent” are the other two. Due to the movie being pushed from a late 2014 release to the current 13th March 2015 release, Maleficent ultimately ended up being released first.
Well, not that we’re complaining. After all, good things come to those who wait!
Watch the trailer:
Don’t forget to check out our review of Disney’s live-action “Cinderella” here.
Disney’s “Cinderella” will be released in a cinema near you on 13th March 2015.