Remakes and reboots are at an all-time high, but one story that we’ll always be happy to dive into is Cinderella. Amazon Prime Video has whipped up a modern version of the classic fairytale, starring singer Camila Cabello, Broadway legend Idina Menzel, the beloved Billy Porter and more.
Ahead of the film’s release (it’s out now, BTW!), I jumped on a Zoom call with Camila and Idina to discuss how this rendition goes places no other version has dared to go.
Camila Cabello as the leading lady.
Idina Menzel as the Evil Stepmother.
Cinderella is one of those classic, timeless stories that we’ll never get sick of seeing, but what I love is that each incarnation of this tale has been so different from the last. What is it about this particular version that you love?
Camila: Everything! Everything is so different. There’s so many messages about empathy and compassion and independence and feminism and inclusivity. It’s got all of these messages that have always been so important.
Idina: Yeah, and it’s exciting to be able to take this timeless story and see how it’s faring in time and what kind of updates it needs and little tweaks, and to feel how it’s resonating or it’s not resonating anymore, and be able to rediscover that and play with that.
It’s interesting that you say the story has had updates and tweaks, because I was thinking about how, for example, the ’90s Cinderella with Brandy and Whoopi Goldberg was a great step forward in terms of racial diversity, and now this version has racial diversity but it’s added gender inclusivity as well, ‘cos Billy Porter’s Fairy Godmother is genderless. So I thought that was a really cool aspect to bring to the story that we’ve never seen before!
Camila: Yeah, for sure! And I think right now is a great time to do it, because we’re in a really reflective time where we’re like, ‘Whose voices are we leaving out of the conversation? Who do we need to bring to the table? Who’s under represented?’
And I think that this is the right time to have more of those stories and have more of that representation. And for young people to see somebody like Billy as this genderless fluid being, it’s something that a lot of kids, especially from generations past, didn’t see. And so they grow up thinking that something was wrong with them and that there wasn’t somebody else like them out there.
Billy Porter (left) alongside Camila Cabello (right).
Billy does that in his life in general, and paves the way for people like him. But in this movie, fairytales are like these little messages, especially for young people. So I think it’s really powerful to have that in there.
One of the reasons that I think this is story is so timeless is because the character of Cinderella is someone we can all relate to. You know, being the underdog, putting up with people’s bullshit but persevering and manifesting your dreams. What aspects of the character and the story in general do you guys relate to?
Idina: I relate to Cinderella in many ways. I relate to my character. I relate to to women trying to combat the boundaries and barricades put in their way [by] the patriarchy and what we’ve been conditioned to believe is okay: how loud, how angry, how powerful we’re allowed to be. To be acceptable. To not be off putting. To have our voices heard in the world.
I think our characters both approach that differently in this movie, but what I love is that all of the characters in this film, or that’s what the whole film is really speaking to, is that the standard of what the perfect woman is or should be is different now.
Camila: The part that I think resonates with me the most right now is the trauma-informed part of the story where it’s not so black and white and good and bad and the evil stepmother is not just evil, she’s just had this past that has scarred her.
Idina: None of the characters are broken up into archetypes, you know, they’re not generic. They’re well-rounded.
Camila: Exactly! They’re complex. And I think [it’s important to] make space for that complexity in people, and not judging people so harshly, and knowing that nobody enjoys being mean, or hurting people. It’s usually because they’re hurt themselves.
And I think looking at people from that perspective, just makes us a lot more connected to each other and gives us a lot more empathy and it’s going to help ourselves and a lot of people, because I think that’s the right lens to view people who do bad things.
Absolutely, you’re so right. It’s always divided into good and evil, but you never quite see the reasoning behind the evil and it’s like how they say ‘Hurt people hurt people.’
Idina: That’s so funny that you just said that! Camila always says that.
Camila: [laughs] Yeah!
Cinderella is available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video from today.
Camila Cabello’s brand new single, ‘Don’t Go Yet’ is out now.
Matty Galea is the Senior Entertainment Editor at Pedestrian who also dabbles in woo-woo stuff like astrology and crystals and has been penning horoscopes since the start of his career. He also Tweets about pop culture and astrology and posts spicy content on Instagram.