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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday December 13, 2019 

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EVER AFTER – NEVER AGAIN THE SAME

Cinderella will never be the same again: this is not the Cinderella your grandmother read about; co-writer and director Andy Tennant has given her – and the other characters in the story – a 90s makeover.  He explains how and why –

"I wanted to tell a very different version of Cinderella because I have two daughters," says director Andy Tennant. "I didn’t want them growing up believing you have to marry a rich guy with a big house in order to live happily ever after." Tennant’s spin on the story is that "Cinderella’s magic comes from within, not from some fairy godmother."

"it's an adventure with a completely unexpected attitude"

Tennant was passionate about delivering a realistic, different Cinderella to the screen. Ever After is not a cartoon or fairytale – it's an adventure with a completely unexpected attitude. He also insisted on giving the tale a sense of logic, that there be specific reasons for certain actions and choices. "This Cinderella isn't a victim," Tennatn states. "She stays on in her father's house after he dies, from choice. There are reasons given for stepmother Rodmilla's appalling behaviour. We also tried to provide some realistic touches to the famous glass slippers and masked ball.

Crucially, Tennant brought together two stars who represent two Hollywood dynasties. Drew Barrymore, the youngest member of the famed acting family (she's the granddaughter of John), plays Danielle, the orphan child who, in Tennant's film, is anything but the passive victim most often depicted in legend. Angelica Huston, daughter of famed filmmaker John Huston and granddaughter of Walter Huston, portrays Rodmilla, Danielle's upwardly mobile stepmother.

"a Cinderella for a new generation"

For Barrymore the role of Danielle offered an irresistible opportunity to play someone she sees as 'a very positive role model for young women, someone classy and fun. She's athletic and protective of people. She's adventurous, very strong and a survivor. She's well read, too, because her father gave her wonderfully eloquent, elaborate literature. In short, she is a Cinderella for a new generation," Barrymore adds.

"It's nice to be wanted," Huston says of Tennant tailoring the role for her. The story's positive values were another enticement. "It's good to be doing this kind of movie at a time when there are so many films being made about tough, evil subjects," she says. "Being involved with something sweet and tender was a delight."

Starring with these two formidable actors is relative newcomer Dougray Scott. The native Scotsman has his biggest role thus far as Prince Henry. But the film had attractions other than the size of his role. Ever After is unashamedly romantic, without being sentimental. The prince is such a famous character, but when I read the script I didn't see him as a fairy tale figure. He's a realistic and flawed character who has a life, a history – and his own agenda."

Legendary actress Jeanne Moreau makes a special appearance as the Grand Dame of France, the only woman who knows the truth behind the Cinderella legend.

"Cinderella's godmother is no fantasy lady"

While the beloved fairy tale has also pictured Cinderella's stepsisters as homely (or downright ugly), in Ever After, they are attractive young women whose beauty, alas, is only skin deep. Megan Dodds, who makes her film debut, plays Marguerite and Melanie Lynskey, who made her film debut in heavenly Creatures, is Jacqueline.

Cinderella's godmother is no fantasy lady, but a flesh and blood Leonardo da Vinci (Patrick Godfrey), thus grafting a whole new element onto the Brothers' Grimm tale. Also co-starring are distinguished British actors Timothy West and Judy Parfitt as the King and Queen of France, and Richard O'Brien (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) as the odious and lascivious Pierre le Pieu.

Yet, for all the changes, the essence of the story is all there: take your grandma and check it out.

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There are approximately 500 versions of the Cinderella story in circulation, making it the most famous tale in the world. The earliest apparently originated in China where the preoccupation with tiny feet found instant rapport with someone who could wear an exquisite, small glass slipper. Over hundreds of years the story has been refined and reworked, whether as the French Cendrillon, or as the Brothers Grimm’s Cinderella. It has however, been a story of a passive young woman waiting for a strong, handsome, (nearly silent) prince to rescue her.
Until now.

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