[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”15414″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]Sandy Powell is a bundle of creative energy. I was super excited to see the person responsible for all of the AMAZING costumes used in Cinderella. I am not going to ruin it for those that have not seen the movie so I will just say that some of the costumes for, lets say animal friends are beyond creative.
How does one come up with such amazing frocks? It boggles my mind that someone can be that creative. I will admit I am a little envious of all that talent. What an awesome way to spend the day, creating costumes for some of the most iconic characters in fairytale history.
A group of bloggers and I sat down to chat with Sandy and it was all about the costumes. She was a wealth of information and if I posted the whole interview you would be here an hour reading. So I listed the most interesting facts below.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”15417″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]About the colors she chose for the film. I kind of chose all the color palettes for each of the characters. And I work closely with the people who design the sets. And the set dressing, so that we make sure that nothing clashes with the curtains and all the furnishings. I don’t intellectualize it that much. I pick colors because they feel right.
Her favorite costume in the film. The ball gown took the longest. I spent the longest developing it. It might not have worked but it came out exactly how I hoped. I’m proud of that one but there are other that I love also. It’s like they’re my children, you don’t have a favorite. I like the men’s costumes as well as the women’s. I like them all.
How long they took to create. I was actually working on this for over a year, from start to finish. Till the very last day of the shoot. Actually one of the last things we shot was the wedding scene, and the wedding dress was actually the last thing I designed. And that was really right towards the end of filming. So at least a year from start to finish.
Creating the costume that turned a lizard into a man. It was an interesting process. It actually started with the costume. I had to do a costume that looked like a man and then make that lizard-like. I used the texture of the fabric and it was a fabric we dyed by hand. It was dyed first of all like the greens and the yellows. Over top of that was a lace, like a silver lace that gave it a scaly effect. It was like a tail coat but where the tail’s a little bit more exaggerated. And then the gloves were green and they were dyed with the yellow too. So it was actually all clothes. And then that gave the visual effects department something to build on. Then they designed their lizard, but based on my costume in a way. It was interesting and the first time I got to do something like that.
About the Fairy Godmother’s Costume. It was an idea I had that was rather ambitious and to be honest, we didn’t have enough time to, to really develop it. It could have gone a lot further, and been a lot more success—not to say it wasn’t successful. I think the costume as a whole works in the film. But I had this mad idea that she actually literally twinkled, and all over. But the lights took longer than we thought they would. We couldn’t really construct the costume till we had the lights done. So we were waiting and waiting, waiting for the lights to be finished. We knew the shape of the costume. So that costume actually ended up being really rather thrown together at the last minute. In a way, I think it’s quite funny that it looks like it’s been thrown together. It looks like she’s made it, you know, [LAUGHS] thrown it together.
Making the costumes camera-ready. Sometimes you choose a color that looks great to the eye. And then when it gets on, on screen, on camera, depending on how they fit it or how they treat the film after, it completely changes. And then that’s really annoying. ‘Cause you think, that’s not what I intended it to be. So quite often if you’re lucky at the beginning of them, you do camera tests. You actually test different things and different textures. So that you can see how it’s going to work with a kind of lighting that they’re doing. It doesn’t always follow through that you get it right. sometimes things look worse than you’d hoped. And sometimes things look better. But the end product is what you see on the screen.
Advice for young designers. I’d advise anybody who wants to do costumes, to learn how to sew. And learn how to make them. ‘Cause you’d be surprised, there’s an awful lot of costume designers who don’t know how to do it. And I really don’t know how you can design and how you can talk to somebody else who’s making something, unless you know how to do it yourself. You have to start at the bottom, and be a maker. bottom, you have to start at the bottom and be a maker. And actually learn how to construct and sew. So you understand the construction and the engineering, which is what it is.
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”15344″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]A lot of you may not know but I struggle a lot with interview posts. When I do these posts I have an “OMG, it has to be perfect so I will get another one.” I really want to be able to make them fancy or more of an article, but I guess my brain doesn’t work that way.
I was telling a friend this and she said “I like your interview posts. You let them tell the story.” That one phrase “You let them tell the story.” struck me. Not because of it making me feel good but because that is exactly what Kenneth Branagh did with with Cinderella. He let Cinderella tell the story. Her actions, her words, and most of all her gentle kindness told the story. I know the screen writers wrote the movie but the way it was directed let Cinderella fill the screen and tell the story. Her story.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”About Kenneth Branagh” title_align=”separator_align_center” align=”align_center” color=”grey” style=”double” border_width=”4″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”15345″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]
Full Name- Kenneth Charles Branagh
Birthdate- December 10, 1960
Birth Place- Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
In 1983 Kenneth joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and starred in “Henry V” and Romeo and Juliet. After leaving the RSC he founded his own theater company, the Renaissance Theatre company. He directed and starred in the film “Henry V” which costarred his then wife, Emma Thompson. Over the years he has acted in a variety of films including- Victor Frankenstein, The Gingerbread Man, My Week with Marilyn, Valkyrie and also in the TV Series, Wallander as Kurt Wallander. He has also directed several films including Hamlet, A Midwinter’s Tale, Sleuth, Thor, and Jack Ryan.
He is married to Lindsay Brunnock.
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]I had an idea of how Cinderella should be. In my experience, it was gonna be like I made a film, Thor, which took a long time to find the beautiful and sexy Chris Hemsworth, now officially the sexiest man in the world. So, I thought, well, I have good taste then clearly. No, no. We knew that it would take a while and that you had to really feel that the– the character– the actor would, in this case, you just want to be with them. You know, you want to be in their company. She had to be likeable. You needed to want to spend those 90 minutes with her. Because of the way we were slightly reimagining the character’s personaliyt, she needed to have a good sense of humor, kind what we are calling a kind of an approachable beauty, kindnes, passion, and strength. Someone that cound stand up in a scene with Ms. Blanchett or Miss Bonham-Carter. Who also just had a kind of simplicity without being sappy. She had to tick a lot of boxes. So it was going to take a long time. I heard Lily James’ voice first. I thought “God, what a beautiful voice.” Then, well she was a beautiful girl. She was patient across a lot of auditions and things. Eventually it just became clear that she was the one.[/ebs_well]
What was the most difficult scene to direct?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]I think probably the ballroom sequence because you know that there would be so much expectation on it. You knew that practically speaking you were going to have 500 people, half of whom were going to be in corsets. That would be a bit tricky. You know, you’re going to have 500 people to the loo ( editor’s note- loo=bathroom) as we well during the course of the day and then get them back to the set before wasting to much time. Getting a sense of the staging, glamour, and flamboyance was important. I wanted to take people to the ball but I also knew that for me the scene was just as much about his hand on the small of her back in the beginning of that dance. So it was trying to keep that big large-scale ambitions with just wanting the human dynamic of the boy meets girl moment.[/ebs_well]
What brought you to this project?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]I think it was the surprise of being asked. I hadn’t long ago done thor and I did a film called Jack Ryan. So a couple of quite boy-sy films and being asked to do a girl’s film, if that’s not a stupid way of putting it. Doing a fairytale and such a famous one. I remembered a couple of things from Cinderella. I loved the chase back from the palace at midnight. I really remember in the original animated filme the stepmother coming out of the dark with two blazing gree eyes, when she is lying in bed and Cinderella brings her tea. So I remember it being a bit scary but very exciting and fin. I was very aware also if you do a Disney film then you have a big responsibility. There’s gonna be a lot of kids seeing it for the first time. And they all know the story as well. I’ve never made a film where the lights go down and you realize that everybody from five to 95 knows what’s gonna happen next. So it’s not about what happens next. It’s about how you do what happens next. So, that was very exciting.[/ebs_well]
Were there sound bites from the original animation?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]Well you know what we did? It sounds a bit daft but we scripted the entire mice story throughout the movie. Chris Weitz and I sat down, and we wrote words, dialogue for all four of the mice in every scene in which they appeared. Then we recorded them with actors a couple of different ways. then we recorded them with actors a couple of different ways. Sometimes we made the actors say it very, very, very slowly so that when we then speeded it up to be in sort of mice squeak mode, you could just get a half a hint of what they were trying to say.[/ebs_well]
It was refreshing to see Nonso Anozie in the movie.
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]Nonso is an actor who I worked with about 12 years ago in the theatre. He’d just come out of drama school. He’s a man mountain. He’s actually enormous, but a darling bloke. He is also a wonderful actor and was in my last film Jack Ryan. I knew he would play the kind of oak tree of a guy with a real twinkle in his eye. Also, there’s very few people who can stand up to Cate Blanchett and say, I’ll tell you what to do or I forbid it. Cate Blanchett actually turns around and looks rather scared. So I knew that Nonso would be able to do that. He’s a big, good-hearted guy.[/ebs_well]
How did you choose the locations?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”] I’ve done a few pictures with palaces in them and I have my contacts as it were. The forest where the prince and Cinderella meet is in the Windsor Great Park, which is essentially the Queen’s back garden. She lives in Windsor Castle part of the them, so part of that park involves that group of oak trees. They are over 600 years old. So it was very nice to say to Lily and Richard you’re going to do this magical scene in a magical place because those oak trees were here when Shakespeare was alive. [/ebs_well]
Can you talk about Cinderella’s proactivity?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]I think that we start with her in a family that’s functioning, loving, and supportive. We see where it begins, the death of her mother. I think the passing on of a kind of generous outlook is important. I think a question anybody asks of a modern Cinderella, why doesn’t she leave? Well, she may leave there. And she certainly has a passionate response to it and a passionate response to the prince that she encounters. But as she talks about later on, she stays there partly because she honors her mother and father. That’s a positive and proactive decision I think to stay there. But the challege was to try and keep her there, find the way to express a strength that made us believe as we did going into it that this was Cinderella who ultimately believed would be fine if a prince didn’t come along and save her. [/ebs_well]
What was your favorite iconic image?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]We felt quite a pressure with the slippers because, you know, you’ve got ruby slippers. You also have other slippers in film history. It was going to be a big moment. Cinderella at the top of the stairs coming into the ball was a favorite moment of mine. Or actually even just walking from the coach up the steps and into the palace I think the sort of moment where she comes into her own.[/ebs_well]
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]It specifically came my way and for me the surprise was being asked to do this specific one. Partly I think people feel an incredible ownership of the story. I think it’s very personal to a lot of people. I think that there’s a relationship to the underdog, or the outsider, however we chose to categorize her that seems to represent us, our hopes, dreams, and aspirations. There was a chanceto do that but sort of recalibrate them. So in the scene between the sisters and Cinderella says “What about the prince. What do you think he will be like” and they say “It doesn’t matter, he’s a prince.” The idea of working out whether it’s possible to, you know, present the Cinderella who may feel differently about that I think was important.[/ebs_well]
What brought you to cast Richard?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]I thought that he had , apart from the very blue eyes, intellgience and wit. Also, he relished the idea of how you might sort of play a gentleman. He wasn’t striving hard to be a certain modern kind of cool. I think both of these actors were prepared to be uncynical in the film and I loved that idea. The just sort of respond directly to each other and that gallantry, courtship, the desire to woo, to serve, to listen were things that he felt could be played very positively. There is a very touching and wonderful chemistry between Lily and Richard. He was somebody I felt could do this thing we needed to do of having a man who earned Cinderella’s respect and love. He didn’t get it just because he had a big car.[/ebs_well]
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Cinderella: The Movie Information” title_align=”separator_align_center” align=”align_center” color=”grey” style=”double” border_width=”4″][vc_column_text]
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”15304″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]Sometimes in Hollywood they cast a person so perfect for a role that you have a hard time believing they are a real person. That is Lily James as Cinderella. When she walks into a room she lights it up with her grace, kind demeanor, and her humor. This girl is very funny and loves to laugh. But most importantly, she is truly like Cinderella. I honestly could not fathom another young woman playing the part. Kenneth Branagh made the best decision ever casting Lily James.
The thing that really struck me during these interviews was how passionate they were about their roles. Lily is known best for Lady Rose on Downton Abbey and Richard Madden is known for Rob Stark on Game of Thrones but listening to them during their interviews you would never believe that already had famous parts. It is like they lived to play Cinderella and Prince Charming. I loved that because seeing them excited and passionate about their characters made me more excited about the movie than I already was. If that was possible.
[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”15306″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”About Lily James” title_align=”separator_align_center” align=”align_center” color=”grey” style=”double” border_width=”4″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”15292″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]She was born April 5th 1989 and was christened Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson. But she is better known for her stage name, Lily James. Her father, James Thomson was an actor/musician that passed away in 2008 and she is granddaughter to American actress Helen Horton.
She studied acting at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and graduated in 2010.
She is best known for her roles in Clash of the Titans, Fast Girls, and playing Lady Rose in Downton Abbey. In addition to Cinderella she is also playing the lead role ( Elizabeth Bennett) in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. No release date has been set but the movie is in post-preduction. We will also be seeing her in 2016 as Natasha Rostova in the TV Mini-series, War and Peace.
She is currently dating actor Matt Smith.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Exclusive Interview With Lily James” title_align=”separator_align_center” align=”align_center” color=”grey” style=”double” border_width=”4″][vc_single_image image=”15323″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]What was your initial reaction when you found out you got the role of Cinderella?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]Ken rang me himself and I screamed so loudly I’m sure I burst his eardrum. And he said “I want you to be my Cinderella.” And I just, my heart, I was on set and I, and I screamed. And Laura and Michelle came running over and, and they knew I’d been doing this torturous audition process and they’re like, ‘what is it, what is it?’ And then Ken was like, ‘you’re not allowed to tell anyone.’ So, I was like, ‘oh, nothing, nothing.’ And then, later that day Hugh Bonneville announced it at the Downton dining room table. It was really sweet. [/ebs_well]
How did you prepare yourself, leading up to the beginning of filming to be Cinderella?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]First of all I started horse riding lessons ‘cause I’d never ridden before. When I first met Ken early on after he cast me he was like, ‘so, how do you feel about horse riding?’ and I was like, ‘[GASP]great.’ So I start–, and I had to bare back as well so I was going, every time, every second I wasn’t filming Downton, I was at this farm learning to ride. Then I did yoga, to sort of try and feel in my body and be graceful and breathe properly. That was physically, and then I was just working on the script and the back-story. When I met with Ken as well, he was like, ‘I want to know, does Ella sleep with the blinds open or closed, what does she dream about, you know, what’s her favorite food.’ He wanted to know, for me to know all those details so that I could sort of just exist on set being her, you know.[/ebs_well]
What would you tell young girls today that your character Cinderella, how is it relevant to them? What is the message that Cinderella has for them today? ‘Cause it is a bit of an old fashioned, some would say, out of date message.
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]With our film, was being really faithful to the fairytale. This is a girl that’s not sitting around waiting for a prince to come and save her. That she’s got this unbelievable strength and it doesn’t come from fighting or from what happens to her, it comes from within. And the strength is her courage and her kindness and that, if she has that, she can, in a way, deal with, as best she can what life throws at her.
By being this person that, you know she’s being the best version of herself. And with such an open heart when she does meet the prince not knowing who he is, he falls for her because she’s a strong, powerful, you know, beautiful from within woman. That’s the idea.[/ebs_well]
Can you tell us about, like your experience with the dress? I’m obsessed with the dress. Can you tell us about, you know, how you felt when you first saw it, you tried it on, what it was like?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]The dress is insane. When I first put it on, There’s a scene from Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts where she puts this dress on and she looks in the mirror and, I think Richard Gere is looking really handsome somewhere and she just goes like swoosh, swoosh. She makes this sound and I put it on and I felt like Julia Roberts, it was just the best feeling ever. I was so nervous about this bit of the movie ‘cause it’s the bit where she’s the princess. It’s like the moment, you know, and, and I think, ‘how can anyone live up to that?’
Really, you know, it’s this fairy tale, it’s this sort of thing that’s very far removed from me. And then I put on that gown and I just felt transformed and it felt like a suit of honor. It was really hard to wear and it was incredibly tight and incredibly, it had a life of its own basically. [/ebs_well]
Was the dress heavy?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”] Yeah, it was really heavy. It was like crazy heavy and it pulled down on my waist and it took about twenty minutes to get in and twenty minutes to get out. It was like, it was kind of cool because it was almost like a ritual every morning. I’d have my dress I would, we’d start from the very bottom and slowly it would take a bit of time, we’d have some music on. But, the only thing was if I needed to toilet. You’re always so rushed when you’re filming so it would be like a forty minute break, so the crew would be like, ‘god, where’s Lily?’ [/ebs_well]
So, next to the dress you think about the glass slipper. How was that? Were they comfortable? Were they really made out of glass?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]They were really made out of Swarovski crystals, so, even more amazing. They’re so beautiful but, sadly, I hate saying this, but, they don’t fit any human foot. So, I’m glad it’s no foot, just not mine, if it was just my foot it didn’t fit I’d feel really un-Cinderella-y. But um, yes, the prince is still looking for his princess. [/ebs_well]
How did you feel during the dancing? Did it feel like you were really at a ball?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”] Yeah, it, the dance switched from being the most, sort of beautiful, romantic moment of my life, actually and to being one of the most stressful and hardest. Because the dress was so heavy and there was all these, and it, it ripped by basically if Richard looked at it, it ripped, it was so delicate. We learned the dance we were getting really smart, we’d been doing it for months at Pinewood studios in London with this incredible choreographer. Then suddenly they were like, ‘okay, the dress’ and I just, like, almost fainted, I thought, ‘the dress, of course, how are we gonna do this in the dress?’
And, Ken didn’t say it but he let it run right ‘til the end of the whole, like where we run out of the ballroom. Because we didn’t know who was gonna stop or not, and it was these big wides, and we just, and then we did it, and then we didn’t do it wrong. And everyone was watching, Cate Blanchett was there, it was like, my heart, it just, it was, me and Richard were just giggling ‘cause we were feeling so. It was really, it was lovely, it was such a special moment, And then, these like big burly guys in the crew would like come over with tears in their eyes and we were like, ‘guys, come on stop.’[/ebs_well]
What was the most emotionally difficult scene to shoot?
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”] The stuff at the start was hard and even the stuff watching with the younger me. And last night, one of the little girls came up to me at the end and she was like, ‘it’s so sad, both your parents died.’ And I was like, ‘I’ve got the mice and the prince.’ Those scenes were really hard, and the scene where the farmer comes and tells me the news, it was. And there was a bit in shooting when I felt like I was crying all the time. [/ebs_well]
And the dress that you were in the wedding dress, in the end, was amazing.
[ebs_well type=”well-lg”]That was Sandy Powell. It’s all Sandy Powell. She’s amazing and I felt so sad that it was only in the film for like thirty seconds. I was like, ‘Ken, you’ve gotta shoot it from the back, you’ve gotta shoot it from the back.’ ‘Cause the flowers were hand painted and, you know, the detail that goes into these dresses.
We did the hair like how Cinderella in the animation wears it at the ball, so that was a kind of like little echo. I was doing a sort of photo shoot in it one day when we were so busy and I rushed in and we did the photos. I rushed in, I was so cold and I was walking past this heater and my skirt caught on fire. And I didn’t care about myself I was like, ‘the skirt!’ and it was all hand painted flowers and they had to redo, like a whole section of the skirt.