Beverly Hills’ Beautiful Montage Hotel was the location for the Live Action Cinderella Press Event. In attendance were Lily James (“Cinderella”) and Richard Madden (“Prince”).
Lily James started out the sessions looking beautiful. Lily talked about the opportunity to play Cinderella being terrifying. She talked about how upon finding out she got the part her emotions went from overwhelming excitement that quickly turned into fear and pressure. She said “everyone has their own picture of what she is like in their own imagination.” In reference to the dress and dance scene Lily shared how she literally had a “nervous breakdown” because although she and Richard Madden had rehearsed the dance for months, once the gown was on it was completely different. With 8 to 12 layers and the fact that it would rip every time Richard touched it, the whole dance scene had to be adjusted. Richard wound up sliding instead of dancing which was hard. Asked if there was a special moment when Lily realized she was Cinderella, to which Lily said it was probably when Ken (Director) called and offered Lily the part, but there were other moments, putting on the gown, on the swing in the garden also come to mind. The use of animals was brought up and Lily explained that at the screen test, Kenneth Branagh actually gave her 3 real live mice which added to the nervousness. In working with Cate Blanchett, Lily raved about how she surpassed every expectation Lily had, in that Cate was alot of fun, and very encouraging. As for what Cate brought to the part of Lady Tremaine, Lily said that it was instrumental in helping her because Cate made it easy by bringing in so much history to the character. The six weeks of the film where Lily worked with Cate and the step sisters was so much fun. The emotional scenes, especially the moment with the branch and Ella’s father were part of the Charles Perrault version. The young Ella scenes were profound and Lily found them very moving. The Q & A had to include a question about the transformation of Ella, to which Lily shared how the fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) had lighting on her dress and both dresses were huge so it was a very funny to just wave to each other from a distance. My question was about the magic of sitting in the carriage. Lily’s excitement could be felt in her response when she talked about how beautiful it was and how exciting it felt to not only get into the carriage but to ride into the passage to the gate. She did mention it crashed during one of the takes. Lily ended the session talking about her first time meeting the prince in the forest. It had a sort of sensual feeling and gave them the connection you see on screen. Lily said how it felt like a very special moment and was fun to film.
Richard Madden (Prince Kit) was next and after a moment of silence as he walked in, he started right in sharing how it was a joy to play the Prince, “it was magical”. Compared to the animation, Richard loved the fact that he was projected as a son and a soldier and someone worthy of her affections. He talked about the old fashioned belief of the prince rescuing the damsel in distress and that doesn’t work as well now so instead, they rescue each other and that makes for a more relevant message. Richard’s version of the meeting between Ella and Prince in the forest, he was concerned he would mess things up and get fired. Full of emotions, and having not worked together yet, it made for a nervous scene. The dance scene was long and hard in that Richard felt he was not a gifted dancer so he just wanted to make sure he focused on the acting and not destroying the dress. Ironically, it was Richard’s least favorite scene and probably will be the fan favorite. On the subject of the relationship between Richard and Derek Jacobi (King) although they had not met, it was inspiring to work with him. Richard said it was terrifying as this was his first big film and playing a character everyone had a preconception about – add a multimillion dollar film and the confidence was not high, but went on to praise Director, Kenneth Branagh. Asked about his connection to Disney movies, Richard said it was very special, because as a kid he and his sisters watched Disney movies and he learned all about love, death and so much from Disney movies. Asked about his next role, Richard shared that he will be back on stage in London in 2016 in “Romeo and Juliet with Lily and Ken”. However he is a “sci-fi geek” and would love to do something on a spaceship. The best experience was waltzing with his mom when they came to the set. My question was how did Richard feel with the costumes. Richard said he talked about wanting something regal but masculine. The sequins and glitter on the jacket was not a hit with him at first sight, but once on it was the perfect look. He feels they were able to maintain the masculinity and keep with the story line. In his final question, Richard is asked about the surprise part when Richard reveals himself to all at Cinderella’s house to which Richard mentioned that the Prince was not a stay at the palace and wait for things he was a going to do everything he could. Richard ended the interview saying he was very lucky this was his job.
Don’t miss my articles about the making of Cinderella with Kenneth Branagh (Director) Chris Weitz (Writer) and Allison Shearmur & David Barron(Producers) and my favorite, Sandy Powell (Costume Designer) on chipandco.com.