The latest “Cinderella,” streaming now on Amazon Prime, isn’t your mother’s fairytale. Kay Cannon, the film’s writer and director, said that this iconic tale is told repeatedly because it’s always for a new generation. “I was thrilled to create a modern retelling that is significantly different from the stories my mother and I grew-up with.”
Cannon is proud of her changes to the musical, which has received criticism from many critics. She said that she gave Ella some career ambition and closed a few logistical loopholes. The ending was also changed by Cannon. “I would be happy to see this Cinderella version if I was a child now. I think a lot people will see themselves in it that they didn’t before.
Here are seven modifications that this Cinderella made to the fairytale.
Ella, in this Cinderella, wants to make and sell dresses as a way of supporting herself. This gives the character, who is usually a damsel in distress, the freedom to pursue her ambitions and be independent. Cannon stated, “Giving Cinderella drive is so that she can get more out of life and be able actively pursue it.”
This solves the problem of the basement. It is no longer a place for punishment, but a place where you can cultivate your creativity. Cannon explained that her stepmother didn’t place her there; she placed herself there to work hard and fulfill her dreams.
Instead of randomly meeting in a square, Ella and Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine), don’t see each other until after he notices them at the changing the guard. It’s difficult not to: Ella climbs onto a statue to have a better view of what is going on. Cannon said that he saw that Ella was different than the rest of them in that moment.
Robert, a reluctant prince who doesn’t want to be king, disguises himself to look like Ella and goes to the village to buy a gown. This is a lofty ambition in a kingdom where women do not own businesses. She tells him, “Us women give birth, run households — surely can we run a business?” He becomes her first customer.
Ella is determined to attend the ball to not only romance a prince but also to possibly sell another gown — a goal that her stepmother, Idina Menzel, hinders. Billy Porter plays the role of the fairy godmother character, the nonbinary Fabulous G” Godmother. The figure doesn’t appear out of nowhere, but from a caterpillar-turned-butterfly Ella rescued from a spider at the beginning of the movie. Ella is told by Fab G, “You saved me,” and “I’m here now to save you.” Do you want to meet rich people who can change your life?
Fab G outfits Ella with a gown based on one her most intricate sketches. But, other than that, it’s pretty close to the exact same look. Cannon said that although she is wearing a beautiful gown, her hair and makeup are only slightly different. “It’s not as if she’s trying to please anyone else.
Fab G gives Ella a pair glass slippers. However, she cannot walk in them without magic. Christian Louboutin famously stated that while he didn’t intend to make painful shoes, it wasn’t his job to make something comfortable. High heels are not my primary focus. However, I do my best to make them as comfortable as possible. They are not wrong, but comfort is not what I am looking for.
Cannon said that the quote “always stuck with me.” The script was written in a way that Cannon described as “it was like, lets just call it out.” The glass shoes would make you uncomfortable. You wouldn’t be comfortable moving in them!” At midnight, Ella shouts, “Dress your feet for Comfort!” and throws one of her shoes at the royal servant who is following her.
Fab G cast a spell to make Ella invisible so no one recognizes her other than the prince. A visiting queen compliments her immediately and asks for more of her work.
She’s finally getting the chance she has been waiting for. Prince Robert asks her to marry him after she meets him on the dance floor. She tells him that she doesn’t want to live in a box and wait for a royal, nor do I want to be confined to a basement. “I have dreams I must chase. If I have to choose, it is mine.
Cannon said, “When you look at it, he is going through the exact same thing as she is, but in an extremely privileged manner: They are both in these boxes, and they both want escape them.” Cannon said, “That’s why they forge such an immediate connection with one another. He doesn’t fault her for refusing to marry him.
Ella’s stepmother Vivian (Idina Menzel) visits her in the basement. She tells Ella that she used to play piano, and that she spent a month in a renowned conservatory. Vivian, who is shedding tears, says, “When I returned to my husband, he believed that real wives didn’t act so frivolously.” “You might think me cruel, however, the true cruelty would be for you to believe you can be anything you don’t.” Vivian spots Ella’s glass slipper, and attempts to convince Ella that Prince Robert can marry Ella as a way to solve their financial problems.
Cannon added the Vivian backstory to avoid any “evil” in the movie. Vivian was a follower of these dreams and her husband disowned her for trying to fulfill them. Then she marries again, but he dies, and she is back at square one with a second daughter.
Cannon said that she was taught that marriage is the only way to improve your life. You will see that she isn’t jealous or spiteful of Ella if you get to know her. She is really coming from an emotional and tragic place.
Vivian laments the lack of options she has in “Dream Girl,” a angst-ridden song co-written and performed by Menzel. It serves as an anthem for women in the kingdom. Menzel said that the song is a universal appeal for the struggle to be recognized and valued for who you really are.
The prince and Ella then reunite and Ella is hired by the visiting queen. Robert then tells his parents (played by Pierce Brosnan, Minnie Driver) that Ella and he are delaying marriage in order to travel. He also announced that he is renouncing his place in the succession order.
Gwen, Robert’s younger sister, is finally the focus of the king’s attention. He names her first in line for the throne. Cannon said that the princess was an original character that he wanted to have. He wrote it with Elizabeth Warren or Hillary Clinton in mind. “Someone who has many ideas and should lead but no one wants them to listen to.”
Cannon said that in the end, Ella was the one who triggered all the change and learning in everyone around her. “Typically, young women are the ones who learn the most in stories. In this movie, Ella is clear about what she wants right from the beginning. Gwen is also able to see that the “happily ever after” part of this movie is that they both achieve what they have always desired.