Kenneth Branagh: how we created Cinderella’s fairytale setting

The director' of Disney's live action remake explains why he filmed in England, and reveals where the magical land from the movie was created

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Fifty years after the original fairytale was released, the new Cinderella remake starring Cate Blanchett, Lily James and Richard Madden has topped the US box office. But little do some Americans know, the magical world in the movie was not filmed in Hollywood ­– it was shot in the south of England.

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Director Kenneth Branagh explains that Blighty was the perfect choice for his film: “We were trying to create a magical world… the great thing about England is that magical places are available in a short distance and a short time.”

Cinderella was shot at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, plus rural pastures and heritage sites including Black Park in Oxfordshire, which doubles for the exterior of Cinderella’s house, and the grand Blenheim Palace, where Cinderella’s carriage crosses bridges in the palace grounds.

Blenheim’s exterior also acts as the prince’s royal palace, while Lee Abbey in Exmoor was used for beautiful coastal scenes and Windsor Great Park in Berkshire is where Cinderella meets the prince on horseback in the ancient forest.

“There’s such a range of landscapes, from the wild coast of Devon to the magical palace of Blenheim,” explains Branagh. “The UK competes wonderfully well with Hollywood. As well as the visuals this great land can provide, we have an incredible level of talent and craftsmanship.”

This is great news for inbound tourism, explains Kaye Elliot, the head of production services for Creative England – the company that sources locations for big budget movies like Cinderella: “International screen tourists can bring up to £140 million per year to the economy, so it is essential that we continue to attract more film crews to the country. The success of Cinderella is a great example of how England’s incredible locations and talented crews can come together to produce something magnificent, and contribute to our economy too.”

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See below for Creative England’s full behind-the-scenes Cinderella video: