Brandy will reprise the role of Cinderella in a new Disney Descendants movie.
For over 70 years, the story of Cinderella has been told through film and television shows to great success, most recently with a Camila Cabello version on Amazon Prime Video. After several attempts through animation and the such, vocal talent Brandy Norwood made a live-action television film adaptation of the famous story in 1997 called Cinderella, which aired on ABC and became a favorite among Disney fans. Now, People reports that Brandy will be reprising her best role in the upcoming Descendants film for Disney+.
Currently titled The Pocketwatch, Brandy has joined the cast of the Descendants movie that includes fellow singer Rita Ora, as well as China Anne McClain, Kylie Cantrall, Dara Reneé, Malia Baker, Ruby Rose Turner, Morgan Dudley, Joshua Colley, and Melanie Paxson. Descendants started as a musical television film about the children of Disney characters from the company’s fairy tale movies, which became so successful that two sequels have since been produced. Rita Ora will portray the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland in The Pocketwatch, while Paxson will play the infamous role of the Fairy Godmother to Brandy’s Cinderella.
The 1997 version of Cinderella originally starred Brandy as the titular character opposite Whitney Houston’s Fairy Godmother. With a reported budget of $12 million, the television movie became a popular mainstay on The Disney Channel and is often regarded as the best Cinderella adaptation to date.
Based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical iteration of the iconic story, Cinderella was unique largely due to its diverse cast of Broadway legends that included Whoopi Goldberg, Jason Alexander, Bernadette Peters, Veanne Cox, Natalie Desselle-Reid, Victor Garber, and Paolo Montalbán.
Prior to her work as Cinderella, Brandy Norwood became famous for her singing with the mononym of Brandy, as well as well-publicized duets with other artists like Monica. She has been the recipient of the Grammy Award, recorded seven albums so far, and starred in a long-running sitcom titled Moesha, where she played the titular character of a Black teenager living in a middle-class neighborhood in Los Angeles County.
Moesha aired on the UPN network for six seasons and costarred future Abbott Elementary Primetime Emmy Award-winning actor Sheryl Lee Ralph, as well as Brandy’s younger brother and former boyfriend to Kim Kardashian, Ray J.
The success of Brandy’s version of Cinderella has spawned many other Disney adaptations of the classic story, as well as other iterations that have made their way to movie theaters over the years. Drew Barrymore famously played a slightly more realistic take on the character in the 1998 movie Ever After, taking place in Renaissance-era France and portraying the Cinderella-esque role opposite Anjelica Huston and Scottish actor Dougray Scott.
But Brandy’s upcoming reprisal of the role of Cinderella marks a shift in the classic fairy tale’s story by bringing it back to the diversity that made the 1997 television movie such an original concept, gaining record ratings and critical acclaim when it first aired to 60 million viewers in the United States.