[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.
It is the name that most little girls know from a young age. I learned of Cinderella from a grand story book my Mother used to read to me when I was young. I still have the book. It is faded, the gold rubbed from the page edges. There are scuff marks on the binder and it is a little worse for wear but I love it. Almost as much as I love the story.
The first time I saw the animated movie from Disney I was enchanted, probably far more than I should have been. I wanted to be Cinderella. I wanted to have a beautiful carriage, mice for horses, and a beautiful dress. I wanted to wear the glass slippers and I most definitely wanted the Prince Charming. Not a prince but just someone who would love me as much as he loved Cinderella.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”15371″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]When I found out that Disney was doing a live action of Cinderella it was a “heart flop” moment. I was so excited because even though Cinderella has been done a 1000 times in a 1000 different ways, I knew no one could really bring the magic like Disney. So you can only imagine my excitement when I got to travel to LA for the Red Carpet Premiere and see the movie before everyone else. Yeah, I am still surprised I didn’t have a heart attack or something.
I will admit that when I sat down in the movie theater and waited for the movie I was nervous. Would it be everything I hoped? Would the magic still be alive? Would the actors chosen to be Cinderella and Prince Charming be everything I hoped? Would I hate the film? I worry a little to much sometimes. Just a little.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_single_image image=”15372″ alignment=”center” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]The movie opened with a narration of Cinderella’s life at a young age. She had a handsome father, a beautiful mother, and a loving home. Of course all that changed when her mother died. Before passing on she left Cinderella with some advice. The biggest part being, have courage and be kind. I think the world could use a whole lot of kindness right now.
The film is gorgeous. Kenneth Branagh did an amazing job bringing Cinderella to life. The thing that amazed me most was the warmth of the movie. From the beginning scene with the golden grass to the carraige and everything in between, you just felt a golden warmth. Not to sound corny but the movie almost hugged you with it’s warmth.
Cinderella (Lily James) was as beautiful as she was kind. But she wasn’t sugar sweet like I expected. She had a fire, a courage, and a strength that I think all young girls can aspire to have. While she ended up with the prince you found in a couple of the last scenes that she knew she would be okay if she didn’t end up with him. I find it sad that a lot of people wanted a more “modern” Cinderella. Cinderella in this movie is definitely not waiting around for some man to save her but she still embodies all of the courageousness, kindness, and goodness we need. In fact one her courageous moments was to give him up and protect him from the evil stepmother.
Speaking of the evil stepmother, Cate Blanchett was spot on. She was evil, mean-spirited, and everything you would imagine a true evil stepmother to be. But toward the end, when she answers Cinderella’s question on why she was so cruel, you didn’t know whether to hate her or feel sorry for her. Being an older woman who has had a lot of rough times I can understand how you could become cruel and bitter. Even though I understood I still wanted to slap her. Hard.
The evil stepsisters (Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera) were spot on as well. They were ditzy, crazy, and kind of dumb. They were as mean as the stepmother but not over the top. I think their character could be summed up in one quote from them in the movie “Who cares what he is like, he is a prince.”
And a prince he is. Richard Madden is truly a Prince Charming. Omg, those eyes, those manners, and that voice. He is the kind of prince you want to fall for. Witty, humorous, and just dashing. When they meet in the woods you are almost as enchanted by him as Cinderella was. Even though he kind of fibbed to her their first meeting. Cinderella has no problem standing up to him about something she believes is wrong and that he should not be doing. When it told her it is what is done she said “Just because it’s what’s done doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.” You can tell he is completely captivated by her and the chemistry between the two is undeniable. So much so that you are left feeling that these two would get together even without the help of the Fairy Godmother.
Oh the Fairy Godmother. Helena Bonham-Carter did an amazing job. I will admit I had second thoughts about this casting. Helena plays some over the top characters and as a certain Depp-ish feel to her. But wow, she sold it and sold it well. She was understated, graceful, sweet, and everything you would want for your fairy godmother. There was no bibbidibobbidiboo here folks. She was a tad bit scatter-brained but in the end she made a Cinderella we all dreamed of. If I could have a fairy godmother I would want her, hands down. I would definitely be the bell of the ball!
The ball was what every little girls dreams are made of. It was romantic, beautiful, and wow, just stunning. From the moment he placed his hand on the small of her back until the time they ran out of the ballroom together you were in love. It was so easy to forget I was in a movie theater. As silly as it sounds I found myself in the movie, watching every detail and dreaming a little bit. It was worth waiting for and warning, you may shed some tears. That’s okay, you won’t be the only one.
As promised, at midnight everything went back to the way it was. But don’t worry, just as Cinderella says “Midnight, that is more than enough time.” Enough time to fall in love with the magic, beauty, and what is Cinderella.
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Cinderella opens in theaters today!!! March 13th 2015!
[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]
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