First Look Image: Lily James is Cinderella for Kenneth Branagh

First Look Image: Lily James is Cinderella for Kenneth Branagh

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Lily James in Cinderella 220x150 First Look Image: Lily James is Cinderella for Kenneth BranaghProduction has officially got underway here in London on Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, the first live-action take on the classic tale to be made by Disney.

Lily James will be front and centre as the eponymous young heroine, and the studio has released the first image with yesterday’s announcement that principal photography has begun at Pinewood Studios.

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.

James stars alongside a stellar cast, led by Richard Madden as the Prince, Cate Blanchett as stepmother Lady Tremaine, Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother, Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera as Ella’s stepsisters, Stellan Skarsgård as the Arch Grand Duke, and Nonso Anozie as the Prince’s loyal friend, The Captain, with Derek Jacobi starring as the King.

Branagh is directing from a script written by Chris Weitz (About a Boy), with Simon Kinberg, Allison Shearmur, and David Barron producing.

Cinderella is set to be released on March 13th, 2015, which currently sees it opening unopposed, a week after Fox and Josh Trank’s The Fantastic Four reboot.

Lily James in Cinderella 585x385 First Look Image: Lily James is Cinderella for Kenneth Branagh