'Cinderella': Secrets Behind Making Revamped Disney Film

Lily James, Cate Blanchett and filmmakers talk about the movie, from Cinderella's back story to how her gown was made.
6:20 | 03/10/15

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Transcript for 'Cinderella': Secrets Behind Making Revamped Disney Film
Princesses have come a long way since their cookie cutter days. Tonight the star-studded cast of "Cinderella" explains how the fairy tale got a modern update. Here's ABC's nick watt. Whoa, whoa, whoa challenge. Are you all right? What did he call you? Never mind what they call me. Reporter: The pivotal scene in Cinderella. Where do you live? At the palace. My father's teaching me his trade. Reporter: A chance meeting with the prince in the forest long before the ball. Was that in the cartoon? No, in the cartoon the prince is in it for two minutes. They dance, she's dreaming of the prince right from the start. This is a really different take on that. Reporter: They fall in love when she's in rags and has no idea who he is. They treat you well? Better than I deserve, most likely. Reporter: Real love. I hope to see you again, miss. And I, you. Reporter: A subtle retelling of an ancient tale. There's a real possibility to re-express, refresh the character of Cinderella. Not being a passive victim, someone waiting for a man to rescue her. It seems that was not the message I particularly wanted to be part of sending out. So you see, equal meeting of minds -- Reporter: Cate Blanchett the wicked stepmother. Is there someone you've forgotten? Oh, it seems too much to expect you to prepare breakfast, serve it, and still sit with us. Wouldn't you prefer to eat when all the work is done, Ella? Or should I say Cinderella? That was the only bit where I got annoyed at her passivity. Right. But I think what's great from what lily is doing with the character is that in every measure the stepmother has turned jealous, cold, mean, vindictive, spiteful because of the tragedy that she has experienced, the tragedy has allowed an impasse in Cinderella. Madam will do. How did you get this role? I went in for one of the sisters, to play anastasia. I had this awful pink Orange jumper and my hair had been blond with big brown roots. Happy to meet you. You have such pretty hair. You should have it styled. Oh. I'm sure you're right. I think because I had blond hair, they said, oh, you should read for Ella. Do you actually have blond hair? I'm naturally a brunette. Okay. It's all lies. Reporter: Visual trickery. Confined to correspoartoons when Disney made "Cinderella." We can do quite a lot in the photo real world, produce mice and horses and geese and footmen that are alarmingly real. That have creative control over that in a way that might previously have only been in animated films. There's been a little controversy over whether Cinderella's waist was cgi. I'm more interested in Richard madden's eyes. Was he wearing aqua blue contact lenses? He genuinely isn't. Those are really his eyes? It's really distressing. It's quite distracting. And wonderful. To look into his eyes. They had the most extraordinary chemistry. Watching them dance in the ball. Did they have an affair? I cannot say. But there's -- oh, you're that kind of journalist. Reporter: I'm not. I'm really all about have they the first time telling this tale filled out Cinderella's life, her motivation? You understand Cinderella's backstory, why she stays in a tore truss situation. Reporter: It makes her triumph all the sweeter. Everyone's looking at you. Believe me, they're all looking at you. Reporter: Now they're all looking at lily James, her previous biggest role was in "Downton abbey." I had a tiny part in "Clash of the titans," handmaiden. Okay, so -- Yeah, this is a bigger bit. I thought breakfast was ready. It is, madam. I'm only lighting the fire. Reporter: Who else could have played Cinderella? You auditioned to play Cinderella? Of course, of course. I'm a little bit cross. They were doing cgi, they could do a little of this. I said friends say to me when I told them what I was doing, they were looking at me with slightly concerned, how do they ask me the question. Aren't you slightly too old? The idea of me playing Cinderella. But you do -- it's wonderful to be offered the villain. Is it? You like being the villain? It's great, fantastic. Why? Because I'm so lovely in real life. May I present my daughters anastasia, drusella? Reporter: She got to wear great dresses and so did Cinderella. Worst part of the whole experience? Having to put a under my skirt to go to the bathroom. The dress took 20 minutes to get in, 20 minutes to get out. Sort of an hour turnaround. Maybe keep that to yourself. No, really. Reporter: Costume designer sandy Powell brought us through a secret boor at Saks fifth avenue to show us the actual dress, now on display in the store's win. This dress probably took longer than any other dress I've designed for any film. Reporter: It took an army to build. 500 man hours. 20 different people did different things on the dress. One person adjusting the hem, one person pressing all the crystal, one person would dye the fabric, four miles of thread in the hem. Reporter: A fabulous, old-fashioned dress worn by a fairy tale figure who now has a modern story to tell. This isn't a girl waiting for a prince to rescue her. This is a girl that's dealing with her own life, a hard life, and has such strength and courage that she's doing it really well and making her own choices. You must simply have courage and be kind. Reporter: I'm nick watt for "Nightline" in Hollywood. "Cinderella" brought to you by our parent company Disney opens in theaters this Friday, March 13th.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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