Be sure to visit the Official Theatre page dedicate to the Kenneth Branagh season where you can book tickets to see the show(s) and find more out about the plays!
WHATSONSTAGE – Kenneth Branagh will direct and star in a year-long season of plays at the Garrick Theatre, opening in October with The Winter’s Tale co-starring Judi Dench.
The season, which marks Branagh’s first return to the West End since his acclaimed performance in Michael Grandage’s revival of Ivanov in 2008, will also feature Harlequinade, The Painkiller (with Rob Brydon), Romeo and Juliet (starring Richard Madden and Lily James) and The Entertainer (with Branagh as Archie Rice).
Branagh told WhatsOnStage that all the productions featured in the season – tickets for which go on sale at 9am on Friday (17 April) – have been “long-standing passions”.
“I felt as though a moment was approaching whereby some of this work could come together,” he said. “Finally, Nica Burns, who I worked with many years ago at the Donmar, suggested the Garrick, where we could do both intimate and epic stuff, and it suddenly became possible.”
It’s followed by Romeo and Juliet (12 May to 13 August 2016), starring, as previously tipped, Richard Madden and Lily James, who Branagh recently directed on screen in Disney’s Cinderella, in the title roles.
Branagh, who directs, said that Madden and James are both “wildly excited” to reunite in the production and have “earned the right to do it”, considering they both have classical experience (James in Othello, Madden in the Globe’s Romeo and Juliet). He added that he hopes the production will attract “new audiences”. (source)
Updated the gallery adding new outtakes from the People Magazine and The Sunday Style Times Magazine photoshoots. Better digital quality scans from the Sunday Times Style Magazine issue featuring Lily, and additional photos from the Cinderella Press Conference and Premiere in Tokyo. Enjoy!
Photoshoots & Portraits > Set 058 [+2]
Magazine Scans & Clippings > 2015 – Sunday Times Style Magazine (March 22) [+3]
Public Appearances > 2015 > April 07: Cinderella Press Conference in Tokyo [+2]
Public Appearances > 2015 > April 08: Cinderella Premiere in Tokyo [+17]
HELLO MAGAZINE – Downton Abbey star Lily James takes the leading role of Ella in the live-action remake of the Disney classic, which topped the UK box office in its week of release. In her moment of need Ella meets her fairy godmother, played by Helena. The actress is disguised as an old beggar before transforming into the iconic character audiences know and love.
Despite admitting that taking on the role was “tricky” because everyone knows what a fairy godmother is, Helena revealed that she had fun with the idea “that she might be not a totally efficient fairy godmother”.
Lily believes that the Harry Potter star is the best choice for the role, and said: “Helena is just wonderful and the perfect fairy godmother.” Meanwhile the film’s director Kenneth Branagh said the character has “a fabulous dottiness”.
“She is amused by how difficult it is or isn’t to make a pumpkin turn into a carriage or a lizard into a coachman, while she’s in the middle of this rush to get Cinderella ready.”
One of the film’s most memorable moments includes Ella’s transformation as she prepares to go to the ball, including stepping into her famous glass slippers.
The iconic scene leads the fairy godmother to proclaim “I’m rather good at shoes”, while Ella expresses her shock at trading her ballet shoes for magical glass slippers. (source)
Digital scans from the April issue of HighEnd Teen Magazine featuring Lily have now been added to the gallery. Enjoy!
Lily attended the Tokyo premiere of Cinderella earlier today (April 8th). She looked as a princess wearing a beautiful pale pink Elie Saab Spring 2015 Couture gown. Several images have been added to the gallery, enjoy!
GET INTO FILM – Into Film Reporter Manasi talks to Kenneth Branagh, Lily James, Richard Madden & Holliday Grainger to discuss release of Disney’s live-action Cinderella.
Lily looked beautiful in a Valentino stars and planets print dress at the Cinderella photocall and press conference earlier today (April 7th) in Tokyo. She was there together with Kenneth Braghan to promote the movie. Several photos from the event have now been added to the gallery, be sure to stay tuned on the site and check twitter @lilyjamesorg for more additions!
Wishing Lily a Happy 26th Birthday!
DAILY MAIL – (by Sandy Powell) I knew the dress that transforms Cinderella into a beautiful princess needed to be big – very big. It had to be a showstopper.
Sadly, there was no real-life fairy godmother to conjure it up. In fact, it took a team of 20 people 4,000 hours to create eight versions of this very special gown.
The result? Rave reviews when the film, directed by Kenneth Branagh, opened in the UK a week ago. Vanity Fair called it ‘genuinely magical’, while fans have said the dress is one of the most spectacular costumes ever.
But how do you go about creating the ultimate fairytale gown – and making it look truly magical on screen? Cinderella – played by Downton Abbey’s Lily James – has to dance and run away into the night, and I wanted the dress to look as light as air, a watercolour in motion.
Costume-maker Jane Law and I achieved that with the choice of fabric and by using many different shades of shimmering blue. Behind the many layers, the gown is a feat of structural engineering. We started with the underwear: the corset and the crinoline (skirt cage), which was made of steel.
Each of the eight versions of the gown is also slightly different. One was 2in shorter and a couple were 4in for the times when Lily had to run; another had holes cut in the sides of the skirt for harness work.
The hems got incredibly dirty as the shoot went on. That proved a headache – these dresses aren’t something you can just throw in the wash.
And it also wasn’t the most practical design. During filming, Lily and Helena Bonham Carter, who plays her fairy godmother and wears an equally huge gown, had to get used to it taking an age to be dressed. In the end, we got it down to a 20 minutes.
The trickiest thing Lily had to do in the gown was dance with her prince, played by Richard Madden. They practised endlessly, but poor Richard kept treading on her hems. Of course, when it came to actually shooting, they were faultless.
While I was delighted with the dress’s reception, I was surprised by the obsession with Lily’s tiny waist. People seemed to think it was setting a bad example to young girls. Some even accused the studio of digitally altering it. Ridiculous.
The reason her waist looks tiny is because the skirt is so huge – it’s an optical illusion – and she’s wearing a corset. The film is set in the 19th Century and every woman in the film is wearing one, even the maids.
I understand people get upset when incredibly skinny models appear on the catwalk or in photos. But Lily is not a super-skinny girl – there’s nothing wrong with her body. Cinderella is a girl known for kindness and courage, so it’s sad people just kept talking about her waist size.
Despite the sniping, the dress was everything I hoped it would be.
AND THE WAIST? IT’S AN ILLUSION!
• Creator Sandy Powell says outrage over Lily’s slender waist was misplaced. It’s actually an optical illusion – her waist looks tiny because the skirt is so huge.
• The top layer of the gown is silk crepeline, a very lightweight, fine silk. The layers underneath are made up of a synthetic called yumissima, an incredibly light (and very expensive, about £150 a metre) material which floats when thrown in the air.
• Lily always went to the loo before being stitched into the outfit… but if nature called again, a mini camping portable loo was slipped under her dress.
• The designer and her team are sworn to silence about the cost, although some estimates have put it at about £11,000 per dress. But you can buy a similar design on the High Street for £100 – about 100 times less.