Richard Madden is the Prince in Disney's live-action feature inspired by he classic fairy tale, CINDERELLA, which is directed by Kenneth Branagh and opens in theaters nationwide on March 13, 2105.

Cinderella star Richard Madden on his Prince Charming costume: 'You feel so exposed'

Purists can’t complain about Disney revisiting its own back catalogue when the result is as ravishing as the new live-action Cinderella. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the re-boot of the cartoon classic has Downton Abbey’s Lily James in the lead, Game Of Thrones’ dashing Richard Madden as her prince charming, Cate Blanchett wickedly funny as every stepchild’s nightmare mum and Helena Bonham Carter waving her wand for a transforming-a-pumpkin-into-a-carriage scene that is a breathtaking bit of CGI. The production design by Dante Ferretti (whose gorgeous visions have graced the likes of Interview With The Vampire and Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd) is equally breathtaking, as are the costumes by the legendary Sandy Powell (of Shakespeare In Love and Velvet Goldmine fame) – so much so that Blanchett pretty much swooned when she got done up in 1940s screen siren-inspired glamour for her big entrance. disney_cinderella_2015_character_posters_by_nickelbackloverxoxox-d88lauy “When I saw her coming out of the first costume fitting it was like a kid on Christmas morning,” recalls Branagh. “You could tell she was so excited.” The 54-year-old Sir, who gave us Chris Hemsworth in all his shirtless glory in Thor, raves about the curve of Cate’s back, the train of her dress and “a hat that was the size of Europe”. Still, his intention was mostly to keep the film from going OTT. “In lavish operettas, for example, it seems as though every second woman is wearing a galleon on her head. There were things like that which I felt would be a piece of chocolate too much. We edged back on the frou-frou.” The director reckons the fairy tale, about a bullied girl who eventually gets her prince, resonates with gay audiences because it’s about “the idea that some people do take a while before they know what they can say or do, whatever it turns out to be – a trip to the ball or some personal dream or just a sense of themselves”. Another draw is the sight of Madden’s prince Kit in very tight jodhpurs that show off a fine pair of legs and a sizeable codpiece. The 28-year-old Scotsman talks about the centrepiece big dance number involving three key elements: Himself, Lily James and her stunning blue dress. Plus, we add, the codpiece. “But he doesn’t count,” Richard laughs. “I can’t personalise him in that way.” As for an outfit that would go down well at any white party, the actor admits: “There’s a certain degree of self-consciousness to get over when you first have the trousers on and you want to stand with your back to the wall because you feel exposed, but then that’s exposing the front so you want to turn round…” CINDERELLA And how were his dancing skills before the shoot? “Not great,” he tells Attitude. “I’m not naturally gifted at dance so there was a good couple of months of dance training so I could get up to scratch with it and not wreck the dress on the day.” “Or me!” Lily chirps in. Playing a goodie two shoes, or rather a goodie in two glass slippers, had its own challenges for the 24-yearold beauty, who is best known for playing Lady Rose on Downton Abbey. “People say it’s more interesting to play a villain because you have to figure out their motives,” she explains, “but with someone so good I felt I had to do almost as much work because her goodness has to be justified and it has to be rooted in something.” Madden’s eyes in the movie match the entrancing blue of Lily’s gown. The heartthrob puts the “extra ping” down to good lighting, prompting Lily to joke: “I stared at him every day. Those eyes, seriously, in the right light…” CINDERELLA Doing three series of Thrones paid dividends for the man formerly known as Robb Stark, who brought horseriding and swordfighting skills to the set and says: “One of the parallels with Prince Kit is this sense of responsibility being thrust on you that you’ve not asked for.” Sporting some fetching stubble, he looks very different to his clean-cut prince in the film. It took twice-daily shaves to tame his usual beard. As for staying in shape? “I go through two phases: Lots of beer and pizza because I’m not having to take my shirt off for a job or not having beer and pizza because I do have to take my shirt off for a job.” But it’s a Disney movie so the shirt stays on, sadly. That’s appropriate for the core fanbase, but Lily agrees with Sir Kenneth that the Cinderella story resonates with gay audiences. “It’s about transforming,” she says. “You want, at least for a night, to feel supremely confident and supremely your best. Also it’s the story of the underdog. The person who has nothing and deserves so much more eventually gets it. You can root for the character and get behind her.” Cinderella opens in cinemas on Friday. For more information visit By Simon Button