A classic! A Cinderella Story, the 2004 modern remake of the iconic fairy tale starring Hilary Duff, never gets old, but nearly two decades after its debut, there is still more to learn about the romantic comedy.
The Disney Channel alum starred as Sam Montgomery, a high schooler who formed a connection over the internet with Chad Michael Murray’s Austin Ames. Outside of the world wide web, the two met at a Halloween dance, though she wore a mask to conceal her identity. Despite her evil stepmother’s (Jennifer Coolidge) wicked treatment of her, Sam eventually got her happy ending with a little help from her real-life fairy godmother, Rhonda (Regina King).
While many people today consider the movie a staple, it almost did not get made.
“I was actually approached by some producers to write a ‘modern take on Cinderella’ and went from there,” the film’s writer, Leigh Dunlap, told Slayground in October 2012. “It didn’t take long to write originally but it took forever to sell. There were several competing Cinderella projects at the time. When Hilary Duff finally signed on, that was that. She was the hottest teen star at the time and everyone wanted to work with her. It became a bidding war at that point and we almost immediately went into production. It was a total whirlwind.”
Amid the process, the script underwent many changes before fans saw the final product. “Warner Brothers hired a million screenwriters to start rewriting the script and it was a very sad process for me,” Leigh said. “It’s no fun to see what you’ve written destroyed and there’s no one involved who thinks the finished script was better than the original. But that’s what the studio wanted and they ended up with a huge hit, so you can’t fault that. I think just enough of what I had, though, and the heart of it, was left and I like to think that’s one of the reasons it worked.”
Chad, for his part, had a hand in crafting his character’s story. “I sat down and I talked to the producer and director and said, ‘Guys, we should really grow on this story line. I think having two story lines meet in the middle with two people who aren’t happy that find each other and become happy, I think that’s interesting,’” he told Black Film in July 2004, noting that he suggested the conflict between Austin and his father over his college plans.
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