Words: Alastair James; pictures: Amazon Prime Video
Camila Cabello, the star of Amazon’s reimagined version of Cinderella, says she relates to the song ‘Million to One’, which she wrote for the movie musical “all the time”.
She and her co-star Idina Menzel, who also wrote an original song for the film, also say they were drawn to the film by the idea of reinventing their respective characters.
In the 21st century take on the classic fairy tale - out today (3 September) on Amazon Prime Video - ‘Havana’ singer Cabello plays the iconic Cinderella, who this time around has ambitions of becoming a successful businesswoman rather than finding love.
Menzel, known for her iconic roles as Elphaba in the Broadway musical Wicked and as Princess Elsa in Disney’s Frozen films, takes on the role of Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, Vivian. Although, here, she’s much less wicked and a more sympathetic character.
“I relate to that all the time”
Camila, who wrote Cinderella’s recurring theme ‘Million to One’, says she wrote it at a time when she was feeling “really insecure and vulnerable”.
“I think that whole song is about those voices of doubt in your head and being like, you know what, when I feel my fear staring at me, I tell it, ‘Back off!’, which is not what the words say. I totally relate to that. I relate to that all the time.”
Idina, who wrote the only other original song for the film ‘Dream Girl’, with her friend Laura Veltz, says she was “honoured” when she was told by the film’s director, Kay Cannon, that the song would connect all the female characters, which she didn’t know would happen originally.
“We had no idea that it would become anthemic in that way and be able to tell everybody’s story. And that’s the best thing about songwriting is when you write from the specific place, and it becomes universal.”
On signing onto the reimagining of the timeless fairy tale, which has already had multiple film and stage treatments, Camila says: “I think it has such incredible values and messages of inclusivity and feminist ideals and these progressive values that haven’t been represented in the classic fairy tale of Cinderella. I feel like this movie just carries such important messages for young people and people in general.”
Idina Menzel as Cinderella's stepmother, Vivian (Photo: Amazon Prime Video)
Idina says she was also drawn to the idea of modernising a classic story and “having the opportunity to approach the character as a less quintessential archetype, to give her more depth and layers and complexity.
“I guess that’s a little bit of a pattern for me, gravitating to misunderstood women giving them more of a voice.”
“He is so magical"
Discussing Billy Porter’s genderless “Fab-G” the stars say they’re proud to have been able to work on something which breaks down traditional stereotypes, which is a strong theme of the film.
Idina, who knows Billy from Broadway, says him playing the role is “destiny”, adding, “anything where we can break down some of these stereotypes and stop really thinking about those things and allow a magical person to be a magical person no matter who they are and how they identify."
Camila agrees and mentions how the character’s identity came through discussions between Billy and the film’s director, Kay Cannon, and the idea that “magic has no gender”.
Camila adds of Porter, “He is so magical. Who he plays in the movie is what he is on the inside.”
Cinderella is available on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 3 September. Check out the trailer below.
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