A total of ten thousand Swarovski crystals were placed one-by-one on the blue dress, and in Lily James' hair as well.
In the ballroom dance, many of the dresses designs are based on the dresses of various Disney Princesses. Those of Belle from (Beauty and the Beast (1991)), Tiana (The Princess and the Frog (2009)), Aurora (Sleeping Beauty (1959)), Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)), Mulan (Mulan (1998)), and Ariel (The Little Mermaid (1989)) can be spotted.
The iconic blue dress in this movie had a total of eight versions made, all used depending on what Lily James was doing in the scene in which the dress was worn. For example, one dress was four inches off the ground for her running scene from the ball to the carriage, and another dragged on the ground slightly for her entrance at the ball.
Lily James originally auditioned for the role of Anastasia Tremaine before being cast as Cinderella.
The final dancing scene was entirely improvised. Director Sir Kenneth Branagh decided to keep it in the final cut.
It's a common misconception that Disney's Cinderella (1950), and subsequently this movie, cut some of the more violent and disturbing elements of the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale (such as the stepsisters cutting off their heels and toes to make the slipper fit, and birds pecking out their eyes) in order to make this movie more family-friendly. In truth, Disney did not base the original movie on the Brothers Grimm's "Aschenputtel" (nineteenth century) but rather on Charles Perrault's 1697 Cinderella. Perrault's version includes the fairy godmother and the pumpkin coach that are absent from the Grimm version, and does not include some of the more sinister elements. Both movies credit the movie as based on the Perrault story.
For the blue dress, there was a total of two hundred seventy yards of fabric used, and up to two miles of hem.
Lily James admitted in an interview with FOX that the carriage's transformation back to a pumpkin was one of her favorite scenes to shoot. For the scene, they rigged her in a giant foam pumpkin complete with a trampoline with several harnesses. There was even a scene that was cut which had Lily inside the pumpkin running around with her arms and legs sticking out.
In an interview, Lily James (Cinderella) said that the iconic glass slipper used in this movie really doesn't fit on her foot. Instead, the slippers were added into the movie later via CGI.
Cinderella's ball gown is made up of several layers of very fine fabrics, each with a different shade of blue and purple which gives the dress that watercolor effect. Sandy Powell wanted the gown to look as if it were "a watercolor in motion".
When in costume as Prince Kit, the tight pants made Richard Madden's bulge stick out. As this movie is supposed to be family friendly, several methods were used to try and hide his genitalia such as having Richard try on several jock straps so that nothing could be seen through the trousers. One of the straps was apparently so tight that Richard actually teared up in pain.
There was much controversy over whether the waist of Lily James was photoshopped, or if CGI was used, since it seemed to be impossibly thin. In later interviews, Lily James, Director Sir Kenneth Branagh, and other cast members revealed that James' waist had already been naturally smaller (around twenty-four inches) and that for every dress she had to wear a corset, even during the dance. With her thin waist, corsets, and the poof from the blue dress, the perspective makes her waist look unnaturally thin.
According to Costume Designer Sandy Powell, she didn't want Ella's main outfit to be rags or a patchwork dress. Instead, Cinderella wears a dress that gradually deteriorates and fades in color, but looked like something she would have worn in happier days when her father was still alive. The dress is made of aqua cotton voile and has small pale pink flowers almost hidden in the material.
Helena Bonham Carter's fairy godmother gown has tiny LED lights interwoven within the fabric of the dress and would light up every time she would cast a spell.
Over the end credits, Lily James sings her version of "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" and Helena Bonham Carter sings her version of the magic words "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo". Both songs were made popular in the animated Cinderella (1950).
While doing press for this movie, Cate Blanchett revealed a moment in which she didn't feel in character as Lady Tremaine. It was the ballroom scene, of which she said, "When Richard Madden and Lily James began to dance, it made me just want to weep. You just don't see that. You don't see those grand, romantic moments where you say, 'Yes!' There's a couple of beautiful, really difficult lifts. Everyone just erupted into applause, naturally, when it happened because it was so beautiful and because I think you're really, genuinely rooting for her."
HIDDEN MICKEY: In the glass panels of the front door of Cinderella's house, several "Hidden Mickeys" are seen. When Cinderella is forbidden from going to the ball and is sobbing, a hidden Mickey within the glasswork in the door windows can be seen.
Cinderella's house in this movie has the same architecture, on a smaller scale, as Cinderella's castle in Walt Disney World.
Emma Watson was in talks to star as the title character, but a deal could not be worked out with Disney. She was cast as Belle in Beauty and the Beast (2017).
While approaching the project with a deep understanding of the fairy tale's history, Sir Kenneth Branagh said: "It is impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney, and the timeless images we've all grown up watching, and those classic moments are irresistible to a filmmaker."
The Prince's costumes that Richard Madden wore in this movie were often accented with shades of blue to accentuate his natural blue eyes.
There's a scene at the back of their house where Cinderella is feeding the animals while she's humming the song "Sing, Sweet Nightingale". The song is also sung by Cinderella while doing her chores in Cinderella (1950).
To give the chemistry that real-life sisters had, Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger were asked to improvise their lines on-set during their first day of shooting.
It took a few months for Lily James and Richard Madden to practice the choreography for the ball dance. It was especially difficult for Madden, as he had to be able to carry the weight of the ball gown and James. According to him, during the first few days of practice, the dancing was so bad, that the dress was tattered and torn apart.
Helena Bonham Carter (Fairy Godmother) also played the Red Queen in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010). Verna Felton, the original voice actress of the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella (1950) also provided the voice of the Queen of Hearts in Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1951) (Tim Burton's movie is not really a remake of the 1951 movie though).
Director Sir Kenneth Branagh believes the essence of Cinderella as a character can be seen as she enters the ball. "She lit up from within. She didn't trade one personality at the door. She brought her real self into this real place and found a way to be at ease."
Lily James (Cinderella) and Sophie McShera (Drizella) appeared on Downton Abbey (2010).
The fairytale was often criticized for plot elements that were seen as inconsistencies, why her stepfamily didn't recognize Cinderella at the ball and why the slipper didn't fit anyone else during the search, as it is still likely someone had her shoe size. This adaptation attempted to address these issues with the Fairy Godmother using a spell to hide her identity so that she isn't noticed, and when the narrator explains that the glass shoe was a magical creation and would only fit Ella's foot.
Lily James' favorite part about playing Cinderella was wearing the big blue ballgown.
The famous Rococo painting "The Swing", which contains a woman losing her shoe as she swings in a garden (and is pictured in Frozen (2013) as Anna dances around the castle) is re-created in the scene where Cinderella is in the secret garden with Prince Kit.
While the exterior shots of the royal palace in the movie are CGI, it apparently is based on the "Zwinger" in Dresden, Germany, an eighteenth century palace complex. The Disney version is, however, greatly expanded in size.
During filming, Lily James (Cinderella) and Helena Bonham Carter (who plays her Fairy Godmother and wears an equally huge gown) had to get used to it taking a tedious amount of time to be dressed. While it initially took about an hour to get into costume, in the end, the process was brought down to twenty minutes.
The glass slipper in the film was created by the Austrian crystal company Swarovski who developed a special piece of machinery to create it. There were eight copies that were made but none of which were worn in the film. Most of them were used as props.
In the scene leading up to Cinderella trying on the glass slipper, as she walks into the room towards Kit, there is a painting of Snow White behind her.
Lily James always went to use the restroom before being stitched into the blue gown, for the sake of convenience, but if nature called again, a mini camping portable toilet was slipped under her dress.
To prepare for his role as Prince Kit, Richard Madden had to have his hair chemically straightened and wear extensions since his hair was relatively short before production.
In the painting room, there are few paintings that are real-life monarchs, in the beginning there is a young Queen Victoria with her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and during the ball scene. Two of the portraits are King Philip II of Spain and Catherine the Great of Russia with her husband, Czar Peter III of Russia.
Lily James (Cinderella) and Hayley Atwell (Cinderella's mother) share a birthday, seven years apart.
Director Sir Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter (Fairy Godmother) had an affair and dated in the 1990s, while Branagh was still married to Emma Thompson. Branagh, Carter, and Thompson appeared in the Harry Potter film franchise, though none of the three share a scene with the other two. Branagh played Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Carter played Bellatrix Lestrange in the later movies beginning with the fifth installment, and Thompson was in the third, fifth, and eighth movies.
This movie marks Sir Kenneth Branagh's first collaboration with Walt Disney Pictures. Branagh also directed Thor (2011), which was distributed by Paramount Pictures, but was subsequently re-branded as a Disney movie.
Kit introduces himself as an apprentice, learning his craft. King In Training = KIT.
Lily James (Cinderella) is the girlfriend of Matt Smith in real-life. Richard Madden (Prince Kit) is the boyfriend of Jenna Coleman, who was Smith's co-star in Doctor Who (2005).
Cate Blanchett and Stellan Skarsgård are the only non-British actors in this movie. Cate is Australian, Stellan is Swedish.
When it came down to designing the blue gown for Cinderella, it took a team of twenty people and around four thousand hours to create eight versions of this special gown.
Imogen Poots, Bella Heathcote, Margot Robbie, and Lily James screentested for the lead role.
This movie marks the reunion of Director Sir Kenneth Branagh with Stellan Skarsgård (Thor (2011)), Helena Bonham Carter (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)), and Sir Derek Jacobi (Henry V (1989), Dead Again (1991), and Hamlet (1996)).
Mark Romanek was hired as the director, but he eventually dropped out due to creative differences.
The short sequel to Frozen (2013), Frozen Fever (2015), was shown before this movie. It contained an original song written by the creators of Frozen (2013).
The top layer of the blue gown is silk crepeline, a very lightweight, fine silk. The layers underneath are made up of a synthetic called "yumissima", an incredibly light (and very expensive, about one hundred fifty pounds sterling per meter) material which floats when thrown in the air. The material needed to be light so that Lily James could comfortably carry the dress.
Nonso Anozie (Captain) and Richard Madden (Prince) appeared on Game of Thrones (2011).
Saoirse Ronan, Alicia Vikander, and Gabriella Wilde were all considered to play Cinderella.
The song to which Ella and Kit dance for the first time shares a similarity with "Once Upon A Dream" from Sleeping Beauty (1959). The first few notes of each refrain match nearly exactly.
In this movie, Richard Madden played a slightly similar character with his character on Game of Thrones (2011). An heir to a throne, torn between marrying a woman for power and another one for love.
The traditional song "Lavender's Blue" features prominently in this movie. An earlier Disney movie, So Dear to My Heart (1948) also featured the same song, and it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song (for its rendition by Burl Ives).
This version of the movie shares several similarities with the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of the same name, which was televised as Cinderella (1957). They include the plot of the advisor working with Lady Tremaine, the fairy godmother's use of the phrase "fiddle faddle", and Cinderella's decision to forgive her stepmother.
In the French dub of this movie, the second language that Ella's father has taught her to speak fluently is Italian. So when Anastasia insists that Drisella translate for her, Drisella says in French, "I speak Italian, not Spanish!"
For her performance, Cate Blanchett drew inspiration for her character Tremaine primarily on Joyce Carey's performance in Brief Encounter (1945).
The original runtime of this movie was one hour and fifty-five minutes to two hours, with ten to fifteen minutes cut out during post-production.
The painting known as "The Swing" being used during the ball was also used in The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella (1976).
The painting shown at the end of the movie of Kit's mother is a modified version of a portrait of Princess Zinaida Yusupov, the mother of Felix Yusupov (who helped kill Rasputin). The original was painted by François Flameng in 1894 and hangs in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Though this version of Cinderella is not based on the Brothers Grimm's telling, the stepsisters have a brief argument where Drizella threatens to scratch Anastasia's eyes out, which echoes the Brothers Grimm's version where the stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by birds.
At the last minute, the actor that was due to be the Doctor could not fulfill his role. Instead Jimmy Yuill, the performance consultant on the movie stepped in. He is not credited for the role. Jimmy Yuill regularly works with Sir Kenneth Branagh and was a performance consultant on Murder on the Orient Express (2017) as well.
Helena Bonham Carter is the second actress appearing as an antagonistic witch in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) to portray a Disney fairy godmother. The first was Imelda Staunton in Maleficent (2014).
This movie was theatrically released merely three months after the theatrical release of the musical Into the Woods (2014) which featured a Cinderella segment with Anna Kendrick as said character.
The designer and her team are sworn to silence about the cost of Cinderella's gown, although some estimates have put it at about eleven thousand pounds sterling per dress. It is possible to buy a similar design on the High Street though for one hundred pounds sterling, about one hundred times less.
When Drizella is singing and playing the piano poorly, she is singing the Celtic ballad "It was a lover and his lass",which is quoted by Shakespeare in As You Like It (Act V, Scene 3). Willy Wonka also sings this song in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), when riding a bicycle to mix ingredients.
The second footman in the transformation sequence and running away from the guards after the ball never shows his face.
In one scene, Cinderella is swinging on a swing in a rose garden and loses her slipper. This imitates the French painting "The Swing" by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella (1976), a live-action British-made version created the same homage. The painting can also be seen in Frozen (2013) when Anna dances through the cooridors of the castle.
When the Fairy Godmother introduces herself to Cinderella, she says: "I'm your Hairy Dogfather... Oh! I mean, your Fairy Godmother". Helena Bonham Carter played Gary Oldman's character Sirius Black's cousin Bellatrix in the Harry Potter film franchise and Sirius Black was a godfather who could turn into a dog.
The scene where Ella and Kit are walking and talking in the garden is similar to the scene of A Cinderella Story (2004) where Sam and Austin (the counterpart characters) were also walking and talking in a garden. The runaway scene is also similar, running though the garden, into the crowd with both saying they have to go before being able to say their true identities, then losing an object before being able to run away completely.
Lily James' brother was on the set at that time, and was one of the extras for this movie.
Stellan Skarsgård (Grand Duke) and Lily James (Cinderella) appeared in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018).
Director Sir Kenneth Branagh and Nonso Anozie collaborated on Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) and Artemis Fowl (2019).
The Prince (Richard Madden) is referred to as "Kit". Madden's co star on Game of Thrones (2011), playing his character's half-brother, is Kit Harington.
Before Lily James was cast as Cinderella, Lily Collins, Imogen Poots, Bella Heathcote, Margot Robbie, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Alicia Vikander, and Gabriella Wilde were possibilities.
In Disney's Cinderella (1950), Anastasia is the sister with red hair and Drizella is the sister with brown hair. In this version, it's the other way around.
This is the second movie Sir Kenneth Branagh made with an actor who played the role of Cinderella's Prince. The first was when he directed Chris Pine, who played the role in Into the Woods (2014), in the title role of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014).
Hayley Atwell starred in The Pillars of the Earth (2010). Ben Chaplin starred in the sequel, World Without End (2012).
In the mid 2010s, Disney began releasing live-action adaptations of their classic animated movies. This movie is usually described as the first live-action remake of an animated Disney movie, though many fans and critics argue that Maleficent (2014), a remake of Sleeping Beauty (1959) from the villain's point of view, deserves this distinction. Because 101 Dalmations (1996) was released nearly two decades before either of these movies, people often forget that this movie, in fact, is truly the first true live-action adaptation of an animated Disney movie.
Director Sir Kenneth Branagh previously directed Stellan Skarsgård in Thor (2011), originally a Paramount Picture that became part of Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe. Interestingly, Cate Blanchett also played a part in Thor: Ragnarök (2017), though neither Branagh nor Skarsgård are part of that installment.
Richard Madden and Holliday Grainger starred together in Lady Chatterley's lover (2015).
There are three members of the cast that have appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies: Cate Blanchett was in Thor: Ragnarök (2017), Stellan Skarsgård was in multiple "Thor" and "Avengers" movies. Hayley Atwell was in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Ant-Man (2015), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), as well as the Marvel television series Agent Carter (2015) and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013).