Disney’s first live action feature – an adaptation of Cinderella, starring Downton Abbey star Lily James has been attracting buzz for several months. Today, the studio announced the start of principle photography on the film, which is directed by Award-nominee Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan, Thor) and will also feature a star-studded cast in the supporting roles. Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (The Aviator) and Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) have both signed on to play the stepmother Lady Tremaine and the Prince, respectively. Helena Bonham Carter, playing against type this time, will portray the Fairy Godmother.

Cinderella, Girl on Gray Horse Image
The film will be a reimagining of the classic Disney animation.

It seems that Disney are throwing all their resources behind their first live-action feature effort and have enlisted Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class, Elysium), Allison Shearmur (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), David Barron (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Jack Ryan) to produce the film, based on a screenplay by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Golden Compass).

While the story itself dates back to Charles Perrrault’s XVII century fairytale, Disney’s 1950 animated feature has remained a part of pop culture for the last half of the XX century. A recent statement by director Kenneth Branagh implies that the production team intends to preserve the spirit of the animated fairytale, a childhood staple for several generations.

Lily James, Armani Summer Garden
The stunning Lily James has been selected as Disney's Cinderella.

“It is impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney and the timeless images we’ve all grown up watching,” he said. “And those classic moments are irresistible to a filmmaker. With Lily James we have found our perfect Cinderella. She combines knockout beauty with intelligence, wit, fun and physical grace. Her Prince is being played by Richard Madden, a young actor with incredible power and charisma. He is funny, smart and sexy and a great match for Cinderella.”

While “sexy” isn’t really a word anyone would use to describe the fairytale, it seems that, like most things Disney these days, Cinderella is growing up too. The story, as summarised in a press release from the studio, seems to have undergone some changes as well. At the very least, however, the movie is set to feature some gorgeous locations, as it’s set to be filmed at Pinewood studios and on location across England. The final product will be released through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures sometime in 2015.

Richard Madden, Game of Thrones Premiere
Game of Thrones fans will know Madden as the King in the North, but he'll be playing a different kind of royalty this time.