Camila Cabello on Cinderella and Updating the Classic Story for Modern Audiences - VRGyani News and Media


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Camila Cabello on Cinderella and Updating the Classic Story for Modern Audiences

Writer/director Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect, Blockers) has re-envisioned Cinderella as a modern musical with a heroine at its center who has ambitions of a career in a world that just wants her to find a prince to marry. Ella (pop music superstar Camila Cabello) wants to design beautiful ball gowns while her stepmother (Tony Award winner Idina Menzel) unsympathetically attempts to squash her dreams, until her fairy godmother Fab G (Billy Porter) shows up to help boost the confidence she already has in her heart.

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, Cabello talked about tackling her first lead feature film role, wanting to be responsible with her platform, believing in herself, her own Cinderella story, the music she’s currently dancing to, getting to put on the ballgown and slippers, the first day of shooting vs. the last day, and her desire to continue doing acting projects.

Collider: When the possibility of playing Cinderella in a big movie musical came your way, especially knowing that fairy tales and particularly princess fairytale is they’re often old-fashioned, misogynistic and sexist, what needed to be there in the character for you to feel like she was someone that you wanted to represent?

CAMILA CABELLO: I feel like I try to be as responsible as I can with my platform and putting forth messages that I stand by and feel like right to me. That is why I did the film. It’s just really empowering for women, and really empowering for me. It doesn’t have these messages that are this black and white way of looking at people, where they’re either good or they’re evil. It just has this complexity that I think is really beautiful.

You’ve had great success as a singer and performer, in that sense, but this was the first time you’re leading a film, as an actress. How did you find your inner confidence, to show up on set and lead this cast, as an actor, doing something that’s outside of what you’ve become known for?

CABELLO: I think that it was about just letting go of my ego, as much as I can, and just trying to have fun with it. Obviously, there were times where I felt nervous and I felt the pressure, but at the end of the day, it’s something that I chose to do because I believe in it. Clearly, I’m here because Kay Cannon, our director, and James Corden believe in me and they wanted me to be this character. I’m here for a reason, so I’m just gonna believe in that and have a good time.

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Did you also have a real movie star moment, where you felt like you really owned that, when you were on these extravagant sets, in these costumes, and working alongside Pierce Brosnan? Did you feel the movie magic, in that way?

CABELLO: I feel like because it was my first movie, it was obviously really, really thrilling. And also, you don’t wanna feel like that, when you’re making a movie. You wanna feel grounded and present and not psych yourself out too much. I tried to just keep it as chill as I could, which is hard when there’s Pierce Brosnan in there, but I tried.

In a lot of ways, your own life journey feels like a real Cinderella story. Do you feel that way? Have you really felt a sense of that?

CABELLO: I definitely feel that. I feel like my story is a total Cinderella story. My life changed so much. I was just in Miami, with no connections, really, to anybody in the music industry. And one day, I auditioned for X-Factor and my life changed, and my life keeps changing. I definitely have been like the underdog, for sure, many times, so I totally relate to that story.

What’s it like to go from being that underdog to seeing how you inspire other young people?

CABELLO: It’s amazing. I just feel super lucky that life worked out that way. There’s just a lot of gratitude. There were a lot of really fortunate events happening.

A lot of actors talk about not wanting to watch their own performances, and you’ve said that you don’t like to listen to your own songs. How hard is it to then watch a movie that you’re acting, singing and dancing? Is that even more difficult to watch?

CABELLO: Totally. It’s very difficult. I had a lot of fun watching it because I was watching it with my castmates and my director, and we formed a little family together. And my acting coach, Anthony Meindl, was there too, so it was fun to enjoy that with the people that I made the film with, but it is, by no means, fun to watch yourself from all of these super up-close angles.

What is the strangest or most memorable place you’ve been, when you’ve heard one of your own songs start playing?

CABELLO: Hmm. I don’t know. There hasn’t really been any weird places. Out of people’s cars, on the street, is really interesting.

You’ve never been in an elevator with other people, when your own music has come on?

CABELLO: No. That would be terrible.

It’s hard to know how to handle a fame until you’re in it. What has most surprised you about yourself, having had the spotlight shown on you for some time now?

CABELLO: Honestly, how much that is not really the fulfilling or meaningful part of what I do. Even though it might look like it because that’s the part that most people see, the behind the scenes of making the music and the people that I make it with, and also the stuff that has nothing to do with my career at all, is really fulfilling and meaningful. The actual fame part is not really a big thing that I think about.

Has it taught you anything about your own strength that you didn’t expect to realize?

CABELLO: As I get older, I my sense of self gets stronger and stronger. I’m really lucky that I have an amazing family and amazing parents. My mom has been with me for a lot of this, so I never really lost myself in that, which is more of a testament to the people around me.

You have great comedic timing that seems very natural, which is not necessarily an easy thing to pull off. Do you feel that not taking yourself too seriously helps you with just jumping in and finding the comedy?

CABELLO: Totally. Hopefully, I’ll do more comedy. I think it’ll get easier and easier. Obviously, I really cared about, and care about, this film, so I wanted to do a good job. But I think that, at my best, I am pretty funny.

You’re definitely a powerhouse, in your own right, but what’s it like to get to duet with someone like Idina Menzel? As a singer, when you’re told that you’re going to be belting it out with her, is it intimidating or is it fun and exciting?

CABELLO: It’s so fun and exciting. I love her. Obviously, she’s so talented, but also I feel like we’ve connected so much during this whole process that it was just really fun.

Had you ever found yourself belting out any of her songs, before doing this?

CABELLO: Of course. “Into the Unknown and “Defying Gravity” are some of my favorite songs.

I especially enjoyed the big musical performances in this, at the beginning and the end, with “Rhythm Nation” and “Let’s Get Loud.” Both of those are songs that just make you want to get up and dance and sing along. Do you have songs that do that for you? Is there a song you always put on when you want to dance around the house?

CABELLO: Yeah. Tight now I’m listening to a lot of Reggaeton and a lot of J Balvin, a lot of Bad Bunny, and a lot of Rosalia. That always makes me want to dance around.

RELATED: Billy Porter on Rebranding the Traditional Fairy Godmother in 'Cinderella' and the Legacy of 'Pose'

How much fun was it to get to do the big performance numbers, with all of the staging? What would surprise people about what it takes to pull off something like that?

CABELLO: It’s amazing. That last finale number and that week was a real movie magic moment. It just felt very like, “Oh, my God!” The best part of a live musical is having a huge ensemble singing and dancing and doing this amazing choreography. It was a lot of rehearsals, after set days and between set days. It was definitely a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun.

If we got a glimpse into the blooper reel for this movie, what kind of things would we see?

CABELLO: You would probably see a lot of unprofessional laughter. It’s hard for me to say anything specific on the spot right now, but a lot of the moments with the comedians, like James Acaster, Romesh [Ranganathan], James Corden and Rob Beckett, were really funny.

Your Cinderella is a fashion designer and has a great sense of style. Are you the same way? Have you always had a great sense of style, or are there fashion disasters in your past that you wish you could forget and that you wish didn’t live on social media now?

CABELLO: I’ve definitely had a lot of fashion disasters because I started doing this at 15, which is crazy. I’ve gotten more of a sense of style, as I’ve gotten older. Now, I just find it a lot more fun than I used to before. It was like a chore to me. I didn’t get joy from it, but now I really do. So, I relate to her more, in that sense.

I love that this is also a Cinderella who doesn’t change who she is or give up her life for a prince. How important was that to you? Is that something that you had conversations about and that really mattered?

CABELLO: Yeah, that was one of the things I loved about the script. She’s not really giving up her life for the prince because she knows that she would just be unhappy. She wouldn’t be able to be herself. At the end of the day, you wanna be in a relationship with somebody where you can be yourself. You don’t have to give up a part of you for them. So, that was one of my favorite parts of the script. I think she’s a real bad-ass for that.

One of the things that doesn’t change with the story of Cinderella is that you still get to wear a gorgeous ballgown and have glass slippers. What did you think of her look for the ball and getting to put on that incredible gown?

CABELLO: It was awesome. Ellen Mirojnick (the costume designer) did such an amazing job with that iridescent, non-traditional version of the Cinderella gown and the slippers. I loved it. It was gorgeous.

Was there a scene that was the most technical to do?

CABELLO: There was the running scene that we had to do, over and over again. That definitely required a lot of endurance because I was just running, all day. That was definitely a little hard.

Was there a most fun day on set?

CABELLO: There were different most fun days. The day with Billy [Porter], doing the Fab G sequence was super fun and magical. And also the finale was really fun. The last song was super fun.

You’ve said that you don’t know if you could have done this with anyone other than Kay Cannon. What was it about her and her vision? What was it like to really establish that collaborative and creative relationship together?

CABELLO: I feel so fortunate. Any other person that I work with now, it’s gonna be such a high bar because she’s just such a great person and an amazing collaborator. She’s so passionate and such a good person. I think that shows in the script, her emotional awareness, her sensitivity, and her desire to stand up for people and give people a voice. She’s like the character. She’s like Cinderella. She’s a bad-ass.

What do you remember about the first day on set and shooting the first scene you had, and how did that compare to the last day that you had on set and doing the last scene for the movie?

CABELLO: The first day, I was insanely nervous. I was so nervous. And the last day, I was not. The last day, I was just having so much fun. At that point, I was just like, “This has been the best experience ever,” and I wasn’t nervous anymore.

Now that you’ve had this experience, where would you like to take your acting career next? Are you already reading a lot of scripts? Have you thought about the type of things you’d like to do?

CABELLO: I haven’t because I went into making my album after the movie. But I would love to do more acting roles, for sure.

Is there dream project, a specific genre, or a character that you’d like to play?

CABELLO: I literally couldn’t tell you. I’d love to do more comedy. I think drama would be really fun. Action would be really fun. Thriller would be really fun. There’s so much. There’s a lot there to explore it.

Cinderella is available to stream at Amazon Prime Video.

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