Emerald Fennell opens up on her 'Cinderella' challenge

Emerald Fennell enjoyed the challenge of finding Cinderella's personality when penning a new musical adaptation of the fairytale.
Hollywood actress Emerald Fennell (Photo | AFP)
Hollywood actress Emerald Fennell (Photo | AFP)

LOS ANGELES: Actress-writer Emerald Fennell enjoyed the challenge of finding Cinderella's personality when penning a new musical adaptation of the fairytale.

Fennell has joined hands with Andrew Lloyd-Webber on a new musical version of the classic fairytale and one of the first problems she encountered was how few defining traits the central character has, reports femalefirst.co.uk.

"Who was Cinderella exactly? Arguably the most famous heroine in literature, and I could hardly think of a single personality trait. She was very good at housework, very good at singing to small animals, very good at being meek and quiet and forbearing, but she wasn't exactly a thrill-ride of charisma," Fennell said.

She added: "After centuries of sweeping the chimney, she'd been reduced to little more than a bottle blonde with a martyr complex. Luckily, it takes one to know one so I was up for the challenge."

The actress-writer tagged Prince Charming a royal wet blanket and shared Cinderella was making a shoddy romantic decision in falling for him.

"There was also a bit of a heart-throb problem in the shape of royal wet blanket and fairytales' most famous foot fetishist, Prince Charming," she wrote in an article for The Times newspaper.

She added: "It's not encouraging when a love interest gets confused the moment a woman changes clothes. We've all made shoddy romantic decisions, but few of us would actually marry the man who can't remember your name the morning after a party. Poor Cinderella -- the years of stepmotherly neglect had clearly taken their toll on her self-esteem."

The biggest obstacle the 35-year-old star faced in her writing was tackling it's "undeniably problematic central message" about beauty.

She said: "But more than any of this, the hardest thing to get around was the undeniably problematic central message of the story: change yourself entirely, make yourself over, become beautiful by any means necessary, and you will be worthy of love."

"Fairytales aren't supposed to be lectures -- they are hardly the pinnacle of feminist storytelling -- but at the same time it would be nice to believe that a happy ending wasn't dependant on waist-to-hip ratio or the size of one's feet," said the actress.

Fennell added: "So rather than shy away from the ickiness of Cinderella's central premise, we wanted to interrogate it. Why is it that makeover tales are so endlessly popular and so insidiously seductive? It wasn't disturbing how outdated the message of Cinderella seemed; to the contrary, it has never felt so worryingly relevant."

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The New Indian Express