Helena Bonham Carter cast as fairy godmother in Disney’s ‘Cinderella’

June 20, 2013 | 6:09 p.m.
Actress Helena Bonham-Carter, right, has been cast as the fairy godmother in Disney's upcoming live-action "Cinderella" film. (Disney; Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Helena Bonham-Carter has been cast as the fairy godmother in Disney’s upcoming live-action “Cinderella” film. (Disney; Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Helena Bonham Carter will be bringing the bibbidi-bobbidi-boo to “Cinderella.”

The quirky actress has been cast as the fairy godmother in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of the classic fairy tale, the studio announced Thursday.

“Cinderella,” slated for a 2014 release, is set to star “Downton Abbey” actress Lily James as the titular plebe-to-princess heroine and “Game of Thrones” star Richard Madden as her charming prince. Cate Blanchett plays Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s evil stepmother.

Kenneth Branagh is directing, and the screenplay was penned by Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada”).

Though the fairy godmother in the 1950 animated feature was a grandmotherly dumpling, Bonham Carter’s casting would suggest that the updated “Cinderella” might be embracing a darker tone; the actress is known for playing offbeat, exaggerated roles, including the villainous Bellatrix Lestrange in the “Harry Potter” films, the twisted Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd” and clownish thief Madame Thénardier in “Les Misérables.”

She’s also no stranger to working with Disney, having played the Red Queen in her partner Tim Burton’s 2010 live-action remake “Alice in Wonderland.” She’s also appearing in Disney’s “The Lone Ranger,” out next month, as Red, a brothel owner with an ivory peg-leg-slash-shotgun.

It’s too early to say whether the film will follow in the whimsical, color-saturated footsteps of “Alice in Wonderland,” or whether it will take a more classic approach, but producers have said they want the film to feel “modern.”

“We were thinking of titles and characters that we hadn’t really seen done in a modern, live-action way, and we were kind of stunned that Cinderella hasn’t really been done that way, as a traditional, loyal telling of the story,” producer Simon Kinberg told Hero Complex.

Kinberg and McKenna together hatched the plan for a live-action update, hoping that Cinderella’s status as an “iconic character” would help the film.

“It’s a funny thing ’cause her name, a little bit like Sherlock Holmes or Star Wars or these other franchises, it’s one of those names that people all around the world know the name and intrinsically know the story,” said Kinberg. “It’s just an identifiable, very rootable underdog story.”

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark


"Doctor Who" star Jenna-Louise Coleman, right, and her boyfriend Richard Madden, who plays Robb Stark in "Game of Thrones," attend the HBO show's Season 3 premiere in Hollywood in March 2013. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)‘Game of Thrones’ star Richard Madden to play ‘Cinderella’ prince

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3 Responses to Helena Bonham Carter cast as fairy godmother in Disney’s ‘Cinderella’

  1. Samantha says:

    Helena Bonham Carter as the Fair Godmother… there's no better match! As for the wicked stepmother, the best one that I have seen would have to be Bernadette Peters in the Cinderella Brandy version in 1997. She was perfectly marvelous in that role as I am sure Helena will be as The Godmother.

    • Barry says:

      I was thinking Carter would be great, too. She loves these characters. She would be great as the wicked stepmother, too.

  2. vanity says:

    apparently im the only screaming no no no to carter being the godmother. i see her playing quirky characters. thats what she does best. the godmother isn't a quirky character, she's loving, kind, funny, GENTLE! carter is too in your face with her acting and makeup to become a grandmother-like figure.

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