Mark Romanek has stepped down as the director of the much-anticipated movie adaptation of beloved fairytale Cinderella.

Last month (Dec12) it emerged Irish actress Saoirse Ronan and Swedish newcomer Alicia Vikander were frontrunners for the lead role in Disney's new live-action version of the tale, while Cate Blanchett has been linked to the role of Cinderella's wicked stepmother.

However, Never Let Me Go moviemaker Romanek has since decided to walk away from the project.

A statement released by movie bosses reads, "The Walt Disney Studios and Mark Romanek have parted ways on Disney's Cinderella project. We are committed to moving the project forward and have begun the search for a new director.

"The team here at Disney respects Mark as both a director and a friend, and we hope to find something to work on together in the future."