Irish actress Saoirse Ronan has re-emerged as the front-runner to land the role of Cinderella in a new movie adaptation of the fairytale following Emma Watson's departure from the project.

The Harry Potter star, who had been tipped for the lead role in the Disney film, has backed out of the project, according to Variety.

Ronan was one of the first names mentioned in connection with the film, which will feature Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother.

Kenneth Branagh recently signed on to direct the movie, which will start shooting in London later this year (13).