Lily James to play Cinderella

Lily James to play Cinderella London: `Downton Abbey` actress Lily James has landed the lead role in Disney`s live action adaptation of `Cinderella`.

The film will also star Cate Blanchett as Cinderella`s evil stepmother, reported Guardian online.

The film will be directed by `Thor` helmer Kenneth Branagh
based on a script from Chris Weitz and pitch by Aline Brosh McKenna. It will be produced by `The Hunger Games: Catching Fire` producer Allison Shearmur, `Jack Ryan` producer David Barron and Simon Kinberg.

`Harry Potter` actress Emma Watson was pursued for the lead role as the fairytale princess but turned down the part in March.

James is best known for playing Lady Rose MacClare in the third series of `Downton Abbey` and has also had roles in `Fast Girls`, `Wrath of the Titans` and `Secret Diary of a Call Girl`.

`Cinderella` marks Disney`s latest live action fairytale movie following the success of `Alice in Wonderland` and James Franco-starring `Oz the Great and Powerful`. The studio will next release `Maleficent`, starring Angelina Jolie as the `Sleeping Beauty` villainess, and has also ordered a script for `Beauty and the Beast` from `Trance` writer Joe Ahearne.

The film is expected to begin production this year for release in 2014.

PTI