Cate Blachett enjoys being wicked stepmother in “Cinderella”

Cate Blanchett and Lily James walked along a red carpet adorned with chandeliers at the Los Angeles premiere of the live-action fairy tale “Cinderella,” on Sunday (March 1) afternoon.

“Cinderella” is a modern re-telling of the classic Disney animated film released in 1950. Ella, played by James, is left to live with her stepmother, played by Blanchett, and stepsisters, played by Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger, after the unexpected death of her father. Ella, re-named Cinderella by her cruel family, is forced to become their servant, living at the mercy of her wicked stepmother. The film remains faithful to the original animation, featuring a fairy Godmother, played by Helena Bonham Carter, and actor Richard Madden as Prince Charming.

Blanchett is no stranger to embodying villains and says this role was just as fun.

“You know, right from when we come out of the room we’re told to be kind and good and nice and sweet and generous and empathetic, all those things Cinderella is and the stepmother isn’t and so it’s really fun when you get to do all of those things bound up in one character. And also, you know, when you’re costumed by Sandy Powell, when you’ve got a cat called Lucifer, a big hat, you’re dressed in green, the color of envy then you can play against that and be sweetness and light. So, hopefully the stepmother, oh my God, has a bit of a journey in there but it was an enormous amount of fun.”

Lily James, who is best known for her role as Lady Rose in the award winning period-series “Donwton Abbey,” said the opportunity to play Cinderella gave her an opportunity to learn from her costars.

“Oh my God, so much, just to be around people like Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter, they teach you, I think, not only to be a better actress but really great women and I’m so inspired. And then to have Ken Branagh as my director and I’m working with him again soon so it’s all really great.”

Academy Award winning costume designer Sandy Powell shared what it took to create Cinderella’s ball gown.

“The ball gown has, apparently, 270 yards (246 meters) of fabric in one gown, ten thousand swarovski crystals and four miles (six kilometers) of thread. There are your statistics. And it takes 20 people, 500 hours to make one dress.”

“Cinderella” is directed by Academy Award nominated director Kenneth Branagh and opens in North American theaters on Friday, March 13.