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Cinderella Director Kay Cannon Reveals What It Was Really Like Working With Idina Menzel - Exclusive

Idina Menzel may be the queen of Arendelle, but before she was shooting ice out of her hands on "Frozen," Menzel carved out her place as the queen of Broadway, playing roles as iconic as Maureen in "Rent" and Elphaba in "Wicked." Now, she's getting her villainy on as Vivian (aka Cinderella's evil stepmom) in Kay Cannon's new "Cinderella," starring Camila Cabello

It's not difficult to imagine why "Pitch Perfect" writer Kay Cannon set her sights on Broadway icons like Menzel and Billy Porter (Fab G) for "Cinderella." To sell this kind of story, you really need Tony-level star power. The appearance of such seasoned musical stars especially helps take the film's many musical numbers to the next level. 

Looper spoke to "Cinderella" writer and director Kay Cannon about working with Idina Menzel, why she was the perfect person for her role as Vivian, and what her first interaction with Menzel was like.

Idina Menzel: Queen of Broadway

On why Idina Menzel was the perfect person to play Vivian, Cannon said, "Well, Idina's Broadway royalty. I have always been a massive fan of Idina's, from way back in the day. I sat outside the theater where 'Rent' was playing in the rain, standing for hours to get those $20 house seats. And I did, and I got in, and I sat in the second row, and Joan Rivers sat behind me. And I just was in awe of Idina."

She continued, "I was like, man, she is amazing. She is so talented. And so I really felt like, her having done 'Wicked,' and what she's known for, I felt like the stepmother, she could play both things. She could play the more evil things that she does, like when she pulls at Cinderella's ear, or she's aggressive." Cannon joked with a laugh, "She can really dress someone down." And, well, isn't that the truth?

"At the same time, Idina has this incredible vulnerability. She can really bring people in, and that's what that character needed. And she was able, beyond her amazing voice, and that's so incredible — to be able to do that, to be able to be hard, and then also very soft and vulnerable was very specific," Cannon added. "And she does that so beautifully. And then, of course, her singing is just ... yeah. Yeah. It was like, as soon as I had Idina, I was like, 'What else can I have her sing?' And just being in the pre-records and watching her in the booth. I think I have a picture. I know I have a picture of myself just like, she's behind me in the booth, and I'm just like [makes a selfie motion]." Menzel fans can certainly relate to that.

Kay Cannon's feminist version of "Cinderella" is here at last, and fans can now check the movie out on Amazon Prime Video.