With a CV that includes Blockers, Pitch Perfect, and 30 Rock, Kay Cannon might not seem like the obvious choice when you’re looking for a director to take on a fairy tale adaption. And yet, Cannon’s new take on Cinderella for Amazon Prime Video somehow manages to pull from all those elements, creating something funnier, more diverse, and chock-full of popular music than the boring old Cinderella projects we’ve all seen before.
For Cannon, crafting a new story was always important. As Cannon told us for the video interview below, “At every turn I was like, “Okay, how can I modernize it? How can I make it different? How can I make it worth people’s money?’” Part of that twisting and turning the original tale came from recasting some of the traditional story’s roles, including the fairy godmother, who’s played on Cannon’s version by Pose star Billy Porter. “When it came to the fairy godmother I was like, ‘gosh, so many amazing women have played this role,” Cannon says. “I think I need to make this a man. I need to make this a gay man. I need to make this Billy Porter.”
Cannon says she also considered diversifying the cast in other ways, like adding a little color to the Prince’s royal family. “There was something I wanted to try to say,” she says, about how “they were the most traditional and they had to make the biggest turn.” She continues, “It made more sense story-wise to make that a white family and, again, to make it a gender issue with that family as opposed to a race issue so that we could really show that this more traditional way of thinking could be changed.”
There’s more from Cannon in the interview above, including which of Cinderella’s musical numbers she found the most challenging to shoot.
Cinderella is in theaters and streaming now. You can read our review of it right here.