Whitney Houston was right: “Impossible things are happening every day.” The first Black woman to ever play Cinderella on screen and the Vocal Bible herself, Brandy will be wearing her glass slippers once again as she reprises the role for the “Descendants” prequel film, “The Pocketwatch” for Disney+, according to Variety. Brandy first played the role in the 1997 “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” made-for-TV movie. At the time of release, the film was the most expensive made-for-TV film in history, a delightfully zany adaptation of the classic tale featuring catchy songs, an unbelievable costume design from Ellen Mirojnick, and a racially diverse cast that was a revolution.
“The Pocketwatch” takes place in the ridiculously popular “The Descendants” franchise, which focuses on the children of some of Disney’s most memorable characters. The story centers on Red (Kyle Cantrall), the rebellious teenage daughter of the Queen of Hearts (Rita Ora), who crosses paths with Chloe (Mia Baker) the naive but bubbly daughter of Cinderella and Prince Charming. After some unexpected turmoil goes down, the two must work together and travel back in time using a magical pocket watch crafted by the Mad Hatter’s son to save their future.
The influence of this version of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” is immeasurable, from the aesthetic design influences apparent in Disney films like “Disenchanted,” to the far more important boundary-breaking casting decisions that allowed non-white fans to see themselves as fairytale stars, many for the very first time. For a generation of Disney fans, Brandy has always been our Cinderella, and it’s an absolute delight to see her return to her royal roots.
25 Years Of Cinderella
“Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, and Disney+ released a reunion special featuring much of the cast and crew, including Brandy, Paolo Montalban, Bernadette Peters, Whoopi Goldberg, Victor Garber, Jason Alexander, and Veanne Cox. The special also contained never-before-seen footage of Brandy and the late, great Whitney Houston in the recording studio, and behind-the-scenes interviews of The Voice herself expressing how important it was for her to take part in the film.
Brandy will be joining previously announced cast members including Rita Ora as the Queen of Hearts, China Anne McClain as Uma, the daughter of Ursula, Dara Reneé as Ursula’s sister Ulyana, Ruby Rose Turner as Bridget, the younger version of the Queen of Hearts, Morgan Dudley as Ella, the younger version of Cinderella, Joshua Colley as Hook, and Melanie Paxson as the Fairy Godmother.
“The Descendents” franchise is hugely popular with today’s young legion of Disney fans, and the racially diverse casting has been a major factor in the series’ success. It’s only fitting that Brandy returns as Cinderella, as the series certainly wouldn’t exist had it not been for the success of the 1997 “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” Now we just have to wait patiently for the possible return of Paolo Montalban as Prince Charming. Give us our dreamboat Filipino prince!
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/Film – ‘Slash Film: Brandy Will Return To The Role Of Cinderella In Disney+ Descendants Prequel The Pocketwatch’
Author: BJ Colangelo
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November 22, 2022