Thesp’s reps couldn’t work out a deal with Disney for her to star in the studio’s live action retelling of the fairy tale that Kenneth Branagh will direct, Variety has learned. Cate Blanchett will play the wicked stepmother. Specific reasons were not disclosed.
Watson still has another fantasy role waiting in the wings in Guillermo del Toro’s “Beauty and the Beast,” at Warner Bros., in which she’ll play Belle. However, that project is still in development at the studio and does not yet have a production start date or berth on the release calendar. It will not go before the cameras this year, freeing Watson up for other roles. Denise Di Novi (“Edward Scissorhands,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas”) is co-producing “Beauty and the Beast,” which was announced early last year.
“Cinderella” is the latest fairy tale the Mouse House is getting into the megaplex after Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” Sam Raimi’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” and Angelina Jolie vehicle “Maleficent,” based on “Sleeping Beauty’s” villainess. Studio also is developing its own live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” with “Trance”-scribe Joe Ahearne writing the script.
Mark Romanek was once attached to helm “Cinderella,” based on a script by Chris Weitz and a pitch by Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada”). Studio hopes to begin production sometime this fall and release the film in 2014.
Allison Shearmur (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) and David Barron (“Jack Ryan”) are producing with Simon Kinberg.
Disney would not comment on the discussions with Watson. It also considered Gabriella Wilde (“The Three Musketeers”), Saoirse Ronan and Alicia Vikander (“Anna Karenina”), but couldn’t lock down deals with those thesps due to scheduling and other considerations.
Watson has been busy since the “Harry Potter” franchise finished its run at the megaplex.
After recently starring in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” Watson will next appear in Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah,” the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg comedy “This is the End,” and “The Bling Ring.” She also had signed onto the drama “Your Voice in My Head,” but left the project shortly after “Harry Potter”-franchise director David Yates decided not to make the Warner Bros. film.
The Disney version wasn’t the first time Watson has circled the Cinderella role.
In 2009, she considered starring in a musical about the character that Marilyn Manson was planning to write and direct.
Watson is repped by WME.