The story begins much the same way as other adaptations, following a young girl named Ella (played by "Downton Abbey"'s Lily James) whose mother dies and father remarries, only to suddenly die himself. Ella is saddled with "a jealous and cruel new family," per the official press release, and "relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella."
Despite her troubles, Ella remains an optimistic girl, whose hopes are buoyed further after bumping into a "dashing stranger" in the woods one day, who turns out to be the prince (Richard Madden) in disguise. Of course, her evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett) immediately intervenes, dashing Ella's hopes of attending a ball where she hopes to run into the man again.
But then Ella, who never met a stranger she didn't like, apparently, is approached by "a kindly beggar woman ... armed with a pumpkin and a few mice" who may or may not have magical powers (Helena Bonham Carter). Before you can say "bibbidi-bobbidi-boo," we've got ourselves a fairytale.
Director Kenneth Branagh called the "classic moments" from Disney's 1950 animated classic "irresistible to a filmmaker." Branagh added that James is the "perfect Cinderella. She combines knockout beauty with intelligence, wit, fun and physical grace." Madden, meanwhile, has "incredible power and charisma," Branagh said, and "is funny, smart, and sexy and a great match for Cinderella."
Production is shooting on location in England. "Cinderella" is expected to hit theaters March 13, 2015.