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'Cinderella': Disney offers first look at its live-action heroine

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   Sept. 23, 2013 at 8:54 PM
You already know "Cinderella's" story, but Disney is hoping to update its animated classic with a more modern take on its titular character. The iconic studio has released a first look at its upcoming live-action "Cinderella," which will star "Downton Abbey's" Lily James and debut in 2015.

"It is impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney and the timeless images we've all grown up watching. And those classic moments are irresistible to a filmmaker," director Kenneth Branaugh said in a statement. "With Lily James we have found our perfect Cinderella. She combines knockout beauty with intelligence, wit, fun and physical grace.

Disney also released a photo of Collins astride a horse while wearing a low-cut blue dress. She'll play Ella, whose cruel stepfamily makes her a servant when her father passes away. She soon meets "Kit," a prince pretending to be a palace employee.

Branaugh also praised their choice of the prince, Richard Madden, already familiar to "Game of Thrones" fans still reeling from last season's cataclysmic "Red Wedding."

Cate Blanchett plays her step-mother, while Helena Bonham Carter plays her fairy godmother.

He's described as "a young actor with incredible power and charisma. He is funny, smart and sexy and a great match for Cinderella."

"Cinderella" hits theaters March 13, 2015.

You can read the full synopsis below:

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.
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