Gowns steal the show in new 'Cinderella' movie, actresses say

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 13, 2015 1:32 PM

By Michael Roddy

BERLIN (Reuters) - The gowns almost steal the show in the new Disney live-action version of "Cinderella", actresses Lily James and Helena Bonham-Carter said on Friday at the film's world premiere, but neither would recommend their dresses for street wear.

James, in the title role, wears a gorgeous blue confection by British designer Sandy Powell for the ball where she and the prince, played by Richard Madden, sweep each other off their feet -- but the British actress said the ball gown and other outfits she wore were very constricting.

"They kind of do pretty much all the acting sometimes for you," she told journalists at the Berlin International Film Festival where Disney's animated version of the fairytale also made its debut 65 years ago.

"They're so magical and you put them on and you suddenly stand different and you feel different and then it's all part of that magic -- but they were quite painful, they fit so tight."

Bonham-Carter, who plays the loopy fairy godmother, electrifies the screen in a silver-white number that glows in the dark -- courtesy of 4,000 LED lights powered by a 15-pound (7 kg) battery pack she said was attached to her posterior.

"I was a walking lamp," Bonham-Carter said, adding it had not crossed her mind that she would be acting at night for the scene where she turns a pumpkin into a coach, mice into horses and fits Cinderella out with the gown and glass slippers.

"There was a lovely young man, Belgian, who came all the way from Belgium, from (electronics company) Philips and he'd come and turn me on ... before we'd start shooting," Bonham-Carter said, to laughter.

"But it was an extraordinary dress ... It was a magnificent creation."

Designer Powell said she had had a lot of fun making the gowns.

"I think for me the biggest challenge was to live up to the expectations of Cinderella and not disappoint every six-year-old with something that didn't work," she said.

"The story is a costume-designer's dream. You get to do the good, kind princess and the handsome prince and then the baddies and the baddies really are the best fun," she said.

Cate Blanchett, dolled up like a high-society courtesan, plays the evil stepmother, while Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger, in pastel and polka-dot horrors, play the stepsisters.

The film, directed by Kenneth Branagh, opens next month.

(Editing by Liisa Tuhkanen and Gareth Jones)