Last we heard, newly-minted blockbuster director Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Jack Ryan) was only in early talks to direct Disney's new Cinderella. Variety now report that he's firmly ensconced behind the camera, and he may just have found the actress to fill the glass slipper: Emma Watson is being courted by the studio to play Cinders.
This Cinderella is the version once under the aegis of Mark Romanek, until creative differences with Disney saw him take a pumpkin carriage outta there. It's been in development for a couple of years, with screenplay drafts completed by Aline Brosh McKenna and Twilight: New Moon's Chris Weitz. The film is part of a cycle of new Disney live-action fairytales and traditional stories, alongside Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great And Powerful, and Robert Stromberg's upcoming Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie as Sleeping Beauty's wannabe nemesis.
Since Hermione Granger, Watson has been steering clear of the kids' fantasies, stretching her acting chops with the likes of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. But if Cinderella seems like a step back for the promising actress in terms of genre, it absolutely fits her clear strategy of choosing to work with strong directors: she's recently turned out for Sofia Coppola (The Bling Ring) and Darren Aronofsky (Noah). Cinderella is also a crack at a solo starring role for Watson, who has so far stuck to ensembles.
The film is currently in pre-production, with an eye on a 2014 release.