Disney's 'Cinderella' Reveals First Look at Lily James, Begins Principal Photography

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Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios announced today that principal photography has begun on its live-action adaptation of 'Cinderella,' starring 'Downton Abbey' star Lily James in the title role of Ella, and the first photo has been released.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh ('Jack Ryan,' 'Thor'), 'Cinderella' stars James, 'Game of Thrones' star Richard Madden as Prince Charming, 'Blue Jasmine' star Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother Lady Tremaine, the ever-transforming Helena Bonham Carter as Ella's fairy godmother, Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera as the wicked stepsisters, 'Thor' and 'The Avengers' star Stellan Skarsgård as the Arch Grand Duke, Madden's fellow 'Game of Thrones' actor Nonso Anozie as the Prince's loyal friend, and Tony award-winner Derek Jacobi as the king.

In a press release, Disney revealed the official synopsis:

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.

Simon Kinberg, Allison Shearmur and David Barron are producing the film from a script by Chris Weitz. 'Cinderella' is set for release on March 13, 2015, and production will take place at Pinewood Studios in London and various England locations.

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