Belfast Telegraph

Helena praises no-twist Cinderella

Helena Bonham Carter has confessed she feared Kenneth Branagh's retelling of Cinderella was going to be a "boring cliche" because there was no twist to the classic fairytale.

The Bafta-winning actress plays the Fairy Godmother in the Disney live action film, starring Downton Abbey's Lily James in the title role and directed by Branagh.

Bonham Carter, James and Branagh walked a blue carpet at the Odeon Leicester Square for the London premiere, along with Downton Abbey's Sophie McShera and The Borgias' Holliday Grainger, who co-star as the wicked stepsisters, Game Of Thrones hunk Richard Madden, who plays the Prince and Sir Derek Jacobi who is the King.

Bonham Carter said: "I was really scared that it was gong to be such a cliche and really boring . I said, 'What there's no take on it? No twist?'

"Because Cinderella is a story that's been told a hundred times and everyone knows what's going to happen.

"But having seen it I'm amazed and it does work, which is testament to, one - the story is such a classic and was meant to be retold. And also he's very clever Ken. It could have failed on so many levels and been really naff. But I think all the characters work because they're not stereotypes."

There has been some controversy regarding the size of James waist in the corseted dress Cinderella wears to the ball and the example it sets young girls.

But Bonham Carter said for her it was all about making your waist bigger when being fitted with a corset for a long day's filming.

She said: "Lily does have a tiny waist. They didn't make it tinier than it is, she just has.

"But if it's a working corset then you make it work for you. A corset can be very comfy, as long as you don't breathe in when they're fitting it.

"Don't be vain at six o'clock in the morning, be the opposite. Breathe out, and then you'll be fine."

The cast all insisted the story of a young girl who escapes her life of servitude by meeting a wealthy prince was still a relevant one to tell children.

James said: "We tried to make the lead character really strong. Somebody who's got unbelievable kindness, unbelievable strength and that makes her able to deal with life on her own terms and find joy in bleak situations. So I think there's a lot to take from it."

Branagh agreed: "In this version I think the message is very positive. She is empowered, good, thoughtful, strong. She asks questions about why her step family are so cruel. She decides to stay in that house for a reason. She doesn't dismiss the idea of service, thinking it's not a thing to be ashamed off. And she's really mature in the face of this mistreatment.

"She's neither frail nor unsophisticated, and in Lily James' performance she's also funny and beautiful."

Cinderella, which also stars Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother, opens in UK cinemas on March 27.

An exhibition of costumes and props from the film, including the Swarovski crystal glass slippers and the pumpkin carriage, will also be on display in Leicester Square, open to the public from Saturday March 21.

Tickets are free but must be applied for in advance from movies.disney.co.uk/cinderella/exhibition

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