Cate Blanchett Does Her Best Evil Stepmother Stare, Plus 3 More Highlights From Cinderella's Berlin Press Junket

Plus, hear from Kenneth Branagh, Helena Bonham Carter, Lily James, Richard Madden, Stellan Skärsgard, Sandy Powell, David Barron and Alli Shearmur

By Zach Johnson Feb 13, 2015 7:40 PMTags
Cate BlanchettGetty Images

If looks could kill!

Cate Blanchett channeled Lady Tremaine when she decided to glare at reporters during the Berlin Film Festival Friday afternoon. OK, so the wide-eyed gaze wasn't her most convincing look—but who cares?! It's not often that the 45-year-old Oscar winner gets to be so wickedly campy with one of her characters.

Ahead of the film's first premiere in Germany, the Givenchy-clad actress attended a Cinderella press junket with director Kenneth Branagh; co-stars Helena Bonham Carter, Lily James, Richard Madden and Stellan Skärsgard; costume designer Sandy Powell; and producers David Barron and Alli Shearmur.

Here, E! News reveals three more highlights from Cinderella's Berlin Film Festival press conference:

1. While the costumes are beautiful, they're not practical.

"They kind of do all the acting for you. They're so magical," James, 25, said of wearing Powell's ornate princess dresses. "You put them on and suddenly you stand different and you feel different, and it's all part of that magic. But they were quite painful because they were incredibly tight. It was funny when were doing it together because we had to have our own tents because both our dresses were so big."

Bonham Carter, 45, plays Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. "Since we were about four-feet-wide, each of us, we couldn't actually get close. The logistics of going to the ladies' couldn't locate the toilet!" the actress recalled. "Sandy is a genius, but the comfort wasn't necessarily high up on the priority list...and it was a night shoot outside, so we were quite cold. My dress was an extraordinary creation. I've never worn anything like it and I don't think I hope to ever wear anything like it again. I was a walking lamp. I had 4,000 LED lights inside, so I had about a 15-lb. battery pack in my bum and there was a lovely young man...and he'd come and turn me on. And then he'd come out and we'd start shooting."

Powell said her biggest challenge "was to live up the expectations of Cinderella and not disappoint every 6-year-old in the world." Still, she admitted, "The costume design is a dream. You get to do the good, kind princess, the handsome prince, and then the baddies—and the baddies really are the best by far."

2. Cate Blanchett went all out to play Cinderella's Evil Stepmother.

"Certainly when you get to play someone who has 'Wicked' in front of her name, you know it's going to be slightly fun. But I was too old for Cinderella and not funny enough for the godmother, and so I got what was leftover," she joked. "In a way you can dare yourself to see how far you can stretch it. The boundaries are not as marked. You're not worried about whether people like you or not and people want the villain to be bad and do extreme things. Doing extreme things is part of our remit as actors."

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3. The set design is unparalleled.

As an example, Barron said, "We had about 500 candles in the candelabra. They weren't proper candles. They were wicks dipped in floating oil that burned for about eight hours at a time." The design team made sure they were functional and beautiful. "We had to be able to change every one of them within about 20 minutes otherwise we'd have been dead in the shooting day, so it was a real feat of planning."

"Can you buy these at Disney stores now?" Blanchett asked.

"What colors would you like them in?" Branagh joked. "I have some in my bag."

Cinderella is in theaters March 13.