After an exhaustive casting search, Downton Abbey star Lily James has landed the title role in Walt Disney Pictures' Cinderella. Here is the studio's brief official announcement.

"Actress Lily James (Downton Abbey) has been cast as Cinderella in Disney's upcoming live-action interpretation of the beloved classic tale. The film is being directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh and stars Cate Blanchett as the iconic evil stepmother.

Additional announcements regarding Cinderella are expected in the coming weeks."

Back in November 2012, actresses Saoirse Ronan, Alicia Vikander, and Gabriella Wilde were in contention for the role, but offers were never made. Then, in February, Emma Watson was offered the role, although she passed just a few weeks later.

Aline Brosh McKenna and Chris Weitz wrote the screenplay, although no story details have been released.

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Aside from her role as Lady Rose McClare on Downton Abbey, Lily James also starred in Wrath of the Titans and the TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl.