“As a director, Branagh has made an array of notable films, from the pastoral version of Much Ado About Nothing to the blockbuster action hit Thor, before coming on to Cinderella. All the filmmakers share an enthusiasm for Branagh’s intensity, fleibility, and vision. Supervising art director Gary Freeman says, ‘When Ken came on board, the art department presented him a conext for the film. Fortunately he fell in love with it. He’s a very precise man, very practical. His attitude wasn’t, I’m the king of th ecastle, and this is what I want.’ He worked with us.’
“Grainger is even more enthusiastic in her recocclections: ‘For the audition, we spent about an hour with Ken jsut playing: trying it really theatrical and melodramatic, trying it subtler, trying the comedy. It felt like an acting workshop with Kenneth Branagh. Actors would pay a fortune for that hour! When it came to rehearsals, Ken, Sophie, and I sat down and talked about potential backstories of the characters and tried to find psychological realism for the roles. He’ll often let you bring what you want to a scene, but then his notes are really specific. He’s always interested in adding the psychological realism to the characters, and knowing our reasons for doing things.’
” ‘It’s a behemoth, the legacy of a Disney classic and a classic fairy tale there are such expectations,’ says Blanchett thoughtfully. ‘Kenwas able to find the tone of the film, at once sweet and delightful, but also sinister. He was [Solomon, p. 132] able to arness the domestic moments between the characters, and the grand moments. He’s got a wonderful sense of rhythm as a director. You knew you were in safe hands. Being such a great actor, he’s very good using the rehearsal time in the morning. He’s able to incorporate everyone’s process, and make it feel like a collective effort.’
“Branagh’s experience on both stage and screen enabled him to help Madden flesh-out the personality of the prince. ‘I realized that we were going to have to create a character from scratch that had never been understood properly before,’ Madden adds. ‘Ken challenges me as an actor every day, and challenges the way I’ll play a scene. We have these great days on set where we play around with the scene and do it in many different ways, which really frees you up.’ ” Solomon, A Wish Your Heart Makes, pgs 132-33.