Cinderella Press Conference

Cinderella Press ConferenceThe Cinderella press conference took place in London last week. Director Kenneth Branagh was joined by producers David Barron and Allison Shearmur, costume designer Sandy Powell, and stars Lily James, Richard Madden, and Holliday Grainger to discuss the latest Disney fairy tale…

On costumes in the film…

Sandy Powell: It was a costume designer’s dream. What really struck me was it was a film about girls. A lot of the main characters were girls, and ok there were male characters too, but it was predominantly women which doesn’t happen that often. It was a dream and I ran with it.

Disney's Cinderella

On adapting the story for a modern audience…

David Barron: When Ken [Branagh] mentioned to me that Disney had been in touch about a live action version of Cinderella, I said: “ooh, interesting”. I thought; how do you do something that is relevant for a contemporary audience, and in its own way faithful to the animated classic. Ken had a very clear vision on how to make this a film for today. This central message of courage and kindness… it just seemed that it would work for today and for a contemporary audience.

On Cinderella‘s influences…

Kenneth Branagh:[To be compared with Powell and Pressburger] is a wonderful compliment, because I revere those guys. A huge personal inspiration, that particular partnership.

Sandy Powell: For me, it was the nineteenth century, all over the nineteenth century, bits of the 1940s and 1950s thrown in for the Stepmother. I was looking at those 1940s actresses like Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, and when they were in films made in the 1940s set in the nineteenth century, and I really liked that look for Cate [Blanchett]. For the sisters I went a decade higher to the 1950s fashions, but keeping the nineteenth century look.

Cinderella Lily James

On the character of Cinderella…

Lily James: [She has] this strength can come from within. This dignified strength and grace… that in doing so she finds such joy and happiness in her life regardless of her situation. Even if it’s just talking to little Gus Gus! When I read the script I was just bowled over by the fact that it was such a faithful retelling of the fairy tale without any tricks or twists. It felt really strong. This was a girl I really wanted to play and felt inspired playing.

On the ballroom scene…

Kenneth Branagh: The kind of films that were wonderful to go and visit [for inspiration], apart from Powell and Pressburger were, well we looked at again The Red Shoes, we looked at Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Visconti’s The Leopard. We also looked Cyrano de Bergerac, the Rappeneau film for some wonderful camera work, particularly the sweeping shots that end up on close-ups of our heroine. The Age of Innocence is a Scorsese film that I love for its immersion into a world that you can feel, see, taste and touch and smell. Certainly we went to the classics.

Cinderella is released in UK cinemas on 27th March 2015.

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