For the past couple of months, casting has been underway to find an actress for the title character in Kenneth Branagh‘s live-action Cinderella. Emma Watson was circling the role, but decided to pass. Earlier this month, we reported that Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows), Lily James (Downton Abbey), and Margot Robbie (Pan Am) were in the running for the part. Today, Disney has announced that the role has gone to James. There’s currently no word on Branagh’s take on the material, and if he’ll try to go the big, colorful, and expensive route of Disney’s recent fairy tale re-imaginings such as Alice in Wonderland and Oz the Great and Powerful.
As for James, I’ll be interested to see what she’ll do with the role. Her part on Downton Abbey is fairly one-dimensional (she represents the roaring 20s in conflict with 19th century aristocracy). She’ll be starring along Cate Blanchett, who will play the evil stepmother. Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) is currently the frontrunner to play the Prince. Filming is expected to begin this fall for a 2014 release.