The new Cinderella is a #girlboss. When Camila Cabello’s version of the character goes to the dance in the new Amazon movie, she hopes to show off her dress designs to prospective (rich!) Clients. Although she is often depicted just wanting a night off from housework, Cinderella’s character is often maligned for passively waiting for a prince to take her away. So director and writer Kay Cannon, who by the way created the Netflix comedy Girlboss, designed to give you greater internal motivations.
“It’s a bigger notion that she had dreams,” Cannon tells Polygon. “She has dreams of getting out of the basement, she has dreams of living life the way she wants to live it on her own terms.”
The fashion designer’s angle fits the fit perfectly, considering the prominence of ball gowns in history. But modifying Cinderella’s dreams was only the beginning of Cannon’s dreams of revisiting the classic story; Beyond Cinderella, the filmmaker wanted to expand the rest of the motivations of the characters. Fun-loving Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) now struggles with his father’s expectations and is put in a box, as he discovers what he wants to do with his life. The most romantic parts of his burgeoning relationship with Cinderella come as he helps her achieve her own dreams, gradually realizing his own purpose in the process. And if that means singing a cover of “Somebody to Love” in the process, so much the better.
The clearest difference in this remake is Cannon’s decision to give up on a villain. That may sound incredible to die-hard Cinderella fans – the story’s main drama comes from her hideous stepmother using the young girl as a glorified slave. But Cannon deliberately set out to turn Vivian, the stepmother (Idina Menzel) into a more complex character. Sure, she makes Cinderella do most of the housework and discourages her from pursuing her dreams of being a dressmaker, but she has more specific reasons.
“I wanted to show that all the women in that family, the stepmother and the stepsisters, are going through something. Everyone is oppressed in their own way, ”Cannon explains. “The stepmother has these frustrated dreams. She is a product of that. And she is like making a tough love for her children, knowing that the only way you can improve your lot in life is through marriage. “
In Cannon’s retelling, Cinderella’s main enemy becomes society. Robert is expected to be the ruler, rather than his more capable sister; Cinderella is discouraged from running her own business, because only men do it; And Vivian’s relationship with Cinderella isn’t strained because she’s petty, but because of the way her own life has gone. True, the reveal comes a bit late and the crying story is harsh as a result, but it’s an ambitious revision of a character that often comes down to a personality trait.
“Very specific things happened to her in her life and a lot of heartbreak that made her believe the way she does,” Cannon says. “I wanted to go beyond her being jealous of Cinderella, as if she was jealous of her youth or jealous of her relationship with her father, and make it more evident that she loves Cinderella and believes that tough love is the only way. “
In an unusual move for a Cinderella retelling, and oddly enough, one that lines up with Charles Perrault’s most popular version of the fairy tale, Cinderella and Vivan are reconciled in the end. They do not hug or cry with joy, but Vivian is not expelled or forced to work for the rest of her life. The latest musical number is a joyous celebration, in which Vivian participates.
“She is able to recognize the error of her ways,” Cannon says. “And it felt like everyone was happily ever after.”
Cinderella is available to stream on Amazon Prime.