Whether you’re a fairy tale enthusiast at heart, a sucker for gorgeous locales and stunning costumes, or you just want to reconnect with your Disney-loving inner child, the newest version of the classic tale has something for everyone. But underneath it all, the one thing that brings all of us in, time after time, is everyone’s favorite princess, Cinderella herself.
In honor of kindness once again trumping over cruelty and people living happily ever after, we’ve rounded up some fascinating facts about Miss Ella — facts that might surprise even the most devoted Disney fans. After all, a fairy tale is only as good as its princess, and there’s a reason that Cinderella is the most popular one of all. Have courage, be kind, and learn a bit more about the girl in the glass slippers:
1. The version of Cinderella that we all know and love is based on Charles Perrault’s story Cendrillon, from the 1600s. A few centuries later, however, the story was retold by the Brothers Grimm — and retitled Ashenputtel — although it is much darker and more gruesome than Disney’s take.
2. Though the 1950 Disney film doesn’t reveal the fate of the evil stepsisters, in Perrault’s fairy tale, Cinderella forgives them for their cruelty, and they are married to noblemen in the kingdom.
3. Though it’s hard to imagine her in anything other than her signature blue, Cinderella’s ball gown is actually white in the animated feature. However, in order to keep it from being confused with a wedding dress, it was recolored for all of the merchandise to that iconic bright blue.
4. There was also a great deal of controversy over the color of Cinderella’s hair; in the 1950 film, it appears orange-ish, but in pictures, it’s yellow. It has since been confirmed that our girl is, and always has been, a blonde bombshell.
5. Losing her shoe is kind of Cinderella’s trademark. In addition to leaving her glass slipper behind at the ball, Cinderella loses it two other times in the 1950 film: once when serving her family breakfast, and once at her wedding.
6. The scene where the Fairy Godmother transforms Cinderella’s torn dress into her stunning ball gown is said to have been Walt Disney’s favorite sequence of animation. Cinderella is also believed to have been his favorite Disney film of all time.
7. In the early years of Disney animation, the film was shot in live-action before the animators even started drawing the first frames. Cinderella’s model was Helene Stanley, who was also the muse for Aurora from Sleeping Beauty and Anita in 101 Dalmatians.
8. Emma Watson was actually the first choice to step into the glass slippers for the 2015 version. However, once she turned down the role, it ultimately went to Lily James… allowing Watson to become another Disney princess next year.
9. According to the third film, Cinderella’s shoe size is a 4 1/2. No wonder she’s the only person in the world who can fit into them!
10. The princess also has an exceptionally tiny waist (which courted some controversy when the poster was first released). In order for James to re-create that unusual figure, she had to wear an incredibly uncomfortable corset under her ball gown.
11. The butterflies on James’ gown were an invention of costume designer Sandy Powell, who wanted to pay homage to Cinderella’s close relationship with nature and animals. It’s also a play on the idea of the creatures helping her create her dream dress, like the mice do in the 1950 film.
Cinderella is in theaters now.
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