Cinderella – The Actresses That Could Have Been.
With Disney’s Cinderella set to release this week (March 13), we thought it prudent to take a look at what could have been. There was a lot of talk about a certain A-lister that politely declined the role of the Disney princess, and some message board chatter discussing the decision to ultimately select Lily James (“Downton Abbey”) for the role. While the internet will never agree on everything (or anything), some feel that it was a strong selection, but still others feel slighted that the original choice couldn’t fit the shooting into her busy schedule.
What’s done is done, and we’re left to wait and see whether James is able to manifest the timeless Disney character and bring her to life for a whole new generation in this live-action retelling of the classic story.
With the impending release, it’s probably worth mentioning that selecting Lily James wasn’t really an a-to-b decision. The production crew met with several talented young ladies before ultimately handing the role to James.
Let’s talk a bit about them.
Emma is best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series. In addition to Harry Potter, she received widespread critical acclaim for her role as Sam in The Perks of Being a Wallflower as well as starring alongside Russell Crowe in Noah. Another noticeable appearance saw her acting (as herself) alongside James Franco and Seth Rogen in the 2013 comedy This is the End. While she didn’t end up in the role, she will be playing Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast opposite Dan Stevens as the beast and Luke Evans as Gaston.
Gabriella Wilde is an English actress who is probably best known for her role as Sue Snell in the 2013 horror flick Carrie. Additionally, she appeared in The Three Musketeers and on television’s “Dr. Who.”
The daughter of Paul Ronan, an Irish actor, Saoirse Ronan is known for her role as Agatha in The Grand Budapest Hotel. She also played Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones and Rat in Lost River.
This 26-year-old Swede made notable appearances as Katarina in Pure, Caroline Mathilde in A Royal Affair and her best role may have been Kitty in 2012’s Anna Karenina.
Bella Heathcote saw her star rise from her role as Amanda Fowler on the Australian soap opera, “Neighbours.” After making appearances in 8 episodes in 2009, she moved on to the big screen with roles in In Time, and Dark Shadows.
Another Aussie, Robbie also had a recurring role on the Australian soap opera “Neighbours” and spent 3 years and a total of 311 episodes working on the soap. In 2011, she took on the role of Laura Cameron in the short-lived television series “Pan Am,” before ultimately making her move to cinema. 2013 saw her appearing in About Time and The Wolf of Wall Street and she’s been the subject of much hype by landing the role of Harley Quinn in the upcoming (2016) DC film, Suicide Squad.
What makes this more interesting is that Lily James may have been pretty far down this list of candidates, as multiple media sources report “scheduling” and “other” conflicts as reasons why none of the above mentioned ladies were selected for the role.
We can’t answer whether any of the above were better suited in the lead role, but luckily we won’t have to wait long to find out. In the meantime, let’s take a quick look at the leading lady’s body of work.
James is certainly the newcomer of the bunch, but she’s shown to be a quick study as Lady Rose MacClare in “Downton Abbey.” In other television work, she had a recurring role in 2011 as Poppy in “The Secret Diary of a Call Girl” before adding a few films to her resume. 2012 saw her appear in Fast Girls, Broken, and Wrath of the Titans.
Disney’s Cinderella is set to open nationwide in theaters on March 13th.
(Photo Credit: WENN.com)