“For the stepmother’s spoiled daughters, the filmmakes decided to keep the names the Disney artists had invented: Anastasia and Drisella (spelled with an “s” as opposed to a “z” as it had been for the 1950 fillm). But they insisted that the girls, like the stepmother, had to have more depth than traditional versions of the story provided.” Solomon, A Wish Your Heart Makes, p. 128.
“Holliday Grainger, who appeared as Estella in Mike Newell’s adaptation of Charles Dickns’s Great Expectations, was chosen as one stepsister. ‘The Disney fairy stories are such an important part of most kids’s growing up–Beauty and the Beast was always my favorite,’ the actress says. ‘In Cinderella, I play Anastasia, whom I’ve decided is the younger, pretty one to Disella’s not=that=cleve one. They both have such a lack of self-confidence that comes out in jealousy and selfishness. It’s not their fault the’re not that attractive or talented, and that no one wants to marry them.
” ‘Finding backstories is all about finding motivations for your character, what makes them do the things they do,’ Grainger continues. ‘The stepmother and the stepsisters have the feeling of a wolf pack. The stepmother is the head honcho; Anastasia and Drisella look to her for approval. They do the things they do to get approval from the master of the pack.’
“Sophie McMcShera, whom viewers know as Daisy, the ambitious kitchen maid in Downton Abbey, plays Drisella. ‘The name “Cinderella” is a stroke of genius of mine,” she says. ‘[The stepsisters] brainstorm over breakfast for mean names they could call her, and Drisella comes up with Cinderella. I hope we provide a bit of comic relief and aren’t just vile. We are pretty vile, but we look ridiculous, so we can’t help but feel a bit sorry for us somethimes.’
“The two actresses clearly enjoyed playing off each other, and became close friends. Each woman is quick to praise the other’s talent, and speaks fondly of the bond they’ve developed. ‘Soophie’s got such comic timing, she’s funny in everyday life,’ says Grainger. ‘On set, we spend hours together [Solomon, p. 129] getting ready. Ken likes us to do improvisation. As a result, Sophie and I have developed a rapport: we have to overlap our words, finish each other’s sentences, and drag eachother arou;nd, be silly on set.’
” I’ve had so m;uch fun working with Holliday,’ McShera replies. ‘It’s been so nice to bounce off somebody, and she’s really funny and clever. It swould have been weird if I had met my sister and we hadn’t got on, because we’ve spent every hour together. I’m getting separation anxiety , because we’re about to finish, and she’ll go back to Manchester.’ ” Solomon, A Wish Your Heart Makes, pgs. 129, 132.