If you thought Disney was done spinning live-action films out of its animation catalog after Alice in Wonderland, think again. Director Tim Burton’s $1 billion grossing take on Alice (which unfolds as a sequel to Lewis Carroll’s original novel… sorta) opened the floodgates for even more re-imaginings of famous children’s tales – and one of them is a live-action treatment of the Cinderella fairy tale from the House of Mouse.
Cate Blanchett – who returns as Galadriel in this December’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - is in talks to become the first cast member signed on for the project, which would feature the Oscar-winner in the iconic evil stepmother role (known as Lady Tremaine in Disney’s 1950 hand-drawn adaptation).
The Cinderella re-telling has been developing over at Disney since 2010, based on a pitch from Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses). Back then, Amanda Seyfried was rumored to be playing the famous gal with glass slippers; however, there is no mention of the Mamma Mia! and Les Misérables actress in Deadline‘s scoop about Blanchett being “in deep talks” to join the new production (which should be a more conventional fairy tale re-envisioning that Joe Wright’s Hanna, featuring Blanchett as the ‘wicked stepmom’).
Disney has attached ex-music video director Mark Romanek to Cinderella, where he will draw from a screenplay crafted by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Golden Compass) based on McKenna’s pitch. That might sound like a weird mix of creative talent, seeing how Romanek’s previous feature-length efforts (One Hour Photo, Never Let Me Go) are worlds apart from the fluffy rom-coms and feel-good drama that Weitz and McKenna are known for writing. Then again, Tarsem Singh wasn’t exactly known for kiddie material before he delivered a bright and bubbly rendition of Snow White with Mirror Mirror (which, arguably, is a better riff on the fairy tale than the more-popular Snow White and the Huntsman).
Moreover, Deadline previously described the film as follows:
… The re-imaging of the classic tale where the prince is set for a politically arranged marriage, until the evil plan is threatened when the prince meets Cinderella.
That’s to say, Romanek’s retelling could fall closer to a ‘realistic’ take on the story (a la Drew Barrymore’s Ever After: A Cinderella Story) than Disney’s whimsical and fantastical animated version. Blanchett isn’t exactly known for signing off scripts unless they have the potential to be something special (yes, that includes Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), so something about McKenna and Weitz’ take on the centuries-old story must have been promising enough to secure her commitment.
Perhaps the only significant concern at this point is that Blanchett could steal the show as Cinderella’s very evil (but also very attractive) stepmother – as happened with Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Huntsman. That will largely depend on who ends up playing the lead and how well-written her role is (say what you will about Kristen Stewart’s performance in SWATH, but she didn’t have much to work with).
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.