Camila Cabello is set to make her acting debut playing everyone’s favorite rags-to-riches princess this weekend. Out Sept. 3 on Amazon Video, the Romance singer stars in the umpteenth version of Cinderella; yet another film aimed to give the classic fairy tale an updated retelling. But how many times are we going to revisit Cinderella’s story before it gets old?
The fairy tale itself can be traced back to at least the 17th century, and it’s been brought to life on film countless times over the years. Several silent films from the turn of the 20th century are dedicated to Cinderella. Some versions are even older.
Arguably the most renowned film version is Disney’s animated Cinderella, which cemented the princess’s status as a household name upon its release in 1950. This retelling popularized several features such as Cinderella’s lively animal friends and the introduction of now-classic songs.
Those features have been revisited in more recent films, of which there have been plenty. For instance, R&B icon Brandy played Cinderella alongside Whitney Houston’s Fairy Godmother in Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Released in 1997, the film also put a musical spin on the fairy tale and was a certified hit.
That wasn’t the end of Cinderella, though. Far from it, in fact. One year later, Drew Barrymore played the role in Ever After. Entertainment Weekly ranked this dramatic version, lush with richly embellished characters and costumes, as the best Cinderella story of all time.
The hard-working princess had a big year in 2004. Both Anne Hathaway and Hilary Duff referenced the character in their films, Ella Enchanted and A Cinderella Story respectively. The former was a traditional fairy tale with Hathaway playing Ella of Frell, who bears several resemblances to Cinderella though they strike slightly different paths. (Oh yeah, there were also some musical moments.) The latter co-starred Chad Michael Murray as a totally dreamy teen Prince Charming archetype and steered closer to the classic fairy tale. Of course, there was one striking difference: It takes place at a modern-day high school.
There’s also Selena Gomez’s Another Cinderella Story, which veered closer to Duff’s take on the tale, and spawned a franchise that saw the likes of Lucy Hale, Sofia Carson and Bailee Madison playing a modified, modernized version of the princess.
Disney got their hands back in the pot with a live-action version of Cinderella in 2015. This one strayed a bit from their animated classic in an attempt to give the beloved princess more life, with Lily James in the titular role. As far as Disney’s live-action remakes go, it was a general success and deserves a watch.
Cinderella’s even made it onto SNL: Kristin Wiig played a boozed-out version of the princess in one spoof, and Nick Jonas took on Prince Charming in another.
So, what gives? Why have we seen so many retellings of the classic fairy tale?
It’s hard to say exactly why Cinderella has become such a popular princess. It’s possible that her story is one that simply speaks to the masses. Or maybe it’s just easier to bring it to life as opposed to other stories such as Beauty and the Beast or The Princess and the Frog, both of which require more CGI or costume work in a live retelling.
Although Cabello’s version of Cinderella will hopefully go down better than the promotional flash mob she and co-stars James Corden, Billy Porter and Idina Menzel pulled off to promote it earlier this week, it will also hopefully signify the end of Cinderella stories. At least for a while…
Instead, we’re here for some fun retellings of other fairy tales. Is anyone ready for a live action cinematic Shrek for instance, or is that just us?