What to Expect from Amazon’s ‘Cinderella’

This isn't your classic fairytale.
Amazon Cinderella

Welcome to Great Expectations, a recurring series in which we break down the most essential information about an upcoming movie or show. In this edition, we look at what you can expect from the Amazon adaptation of Cinderella.

The origins of Cinderella go back as early as 7 BC with the tale of Rhodopis. Since then, it has become one of the most adapted and reworked stories in history. In 1697,  French author Charles Perrault repurposed the plot into the revered Cendrillon, and the Brothers Grimm wrote the notoriously violent version Aschenputtel, published in 1812.

The first film version of Cinderella came in 1899, and since then, the classic fairy tale has inspired over fifty screen adaptations — and counting. The latest is an Amazon Original written and directed by Kay Cannon (Blockers), produced by talk show host James Corden, and starring pop singer Camila Cabello in her feature acting debut.

Here’s everything you need to know about Amazon’s Cinderella:

Cinderella Release Date (and Where to Watch)

Columbia Pictures first announced the new twist on Cinderella in early 2019, and the movie was ready to go in February 2021. But, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the release date was pushed back a couple of months. During that time, the rights were bought by Amazon Studios. Now, Amazon will release Cinderella to streaming on Prime on September 3, 2021.

Cinderella Cast

From pop singers to beloved comedians, the Amazon movie of Cinderella has a positively star-studded cast. Ex Fifth Harmony-member Camila Cabello stars as Cinderella. Idina Menzel (Uncut Gems) plays her cruel stepmother, Vivian, and Nicholas Galitzine (Handsome Devil) is the handsome Prince Robert.

Minnie Driver (The Phantom of the Opera) plays Queen Beatrice, Pierce Brosnan (Mamma Mia!) plays King Rowan, Billy Porter (Pose) is Cinderella’s godparent, and Maddie Baillio (Hairspray Live!) and Charlotte Spencer (The Living and the Dead) are the dreaded stepsisters.

The cast of Cinderella also includes comedian James Acaster as a mouse named John, James Corden (Into the Woods) as a mouse named James, comedian Romesh Ranganathan as a mouse named Romesh, and rapper Missy Elliot as the town crier.

The Plot

If you’re looking for a rehash of your classic Cinderella story, you’re in the wrong place by wondering about the Amazon release. In this version, the titular character’s main goal is not to fall in love with a handsome prince. Instead, she wants to start a clothing line. She wants to sell the dresses she has been pouring her heart and soul into. If she meets the man of her dreams, that’s a nice bonus – but her work will always come first.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cannon explained the decision to subvert the classic narrative:

“I just felt like it was a great opportunity to show this loved, iconic character that is Cinderella in a way that’s more relatable to what girls and young women, in particular, are going through, where they can really see themselves…the biggest change is in Cinderella and the Prince, because Cinderella’s like the alpha in this story and our Prince is a beta, and that’s not normally the case — or, he evolves. In this story, everybody around Cinderella learns something from her and changes.”

Watch the Trailer

Based on the trailer, it is clear that Amazon’s Cinderella is going to come with a refreshing, empowering message. Alongside, of course, some killer musical numbers. Previous Cinderellas have jumped at the opportunity to be with their Prince Charming. Cabello’s version says, “I don’t want a life stuck waving from a royal box any more than a life confined to a basement.” And that’s a message we can get behind.

Watch the trailer for the Amazon Cinderella:

Billy Porter on Cinderella’s Gender-Neutral Fairy-Godparent

One of the most revolutionary things about the new Cinderella from Amazon is the reinvention of the Fairy Godmother role. Billy Porter is playing a non-binary fairy godparent called Fab G, and he recently explained on the Today show why the new take on the role is so important:

“Very often our old fairy tales can be slightly problematic for modern-day consumption. This version speaks to that as it is very much about the empowerment of women. As a result of the need and necessity to tell diverse stories that are inclusive.”

He went on to explain how it felt to play the role:

“Kay looked at the Fairy Godmother and said, ‘It’s time to shake it up.’  And I get to benefit and portray a character for today’s generation to look up to and be entertained and inspired by…I want to change the world and encourage people to believe that they can be whoever and whatever they want to be, as long as they stay true to themselves.”

Aurora Amidon: Aurora Amidon spends her days running the Great Expectations column and trying to convince people that Hostel II is one of the best movies of all time. Read her mostly embarrassing tweets here: @aurora_amidon.