‘Beauty and the Beast’: Everything We Know About the Live-Action Movie
Though Disney‘s new version of Beauty and the Beast is still a month away from release, fans are gradually starting to learn more about what to expect from the film. As with the studio’s previous live-action remakes, Beauty and the Beast will mix elements of the original story with modern touches. So what iconic scenes and songs can audiences expect to see in the latest adaptation? Here’s everything we know about the upcoming fairy tale-inspired flick so far.
1. The cast
The upcoming live-action movie will feature a star-studded ensemble cast. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens will star as Belle and the Beast/Prince, respectively. Meanwhile, Luke Evans will play the villain Gaston and Josh Gad will play his loyal sidekick, Le Fou. Kevin Kline is set to co-star as Belle’s father, Maurice.
The movie will also feature the voices of Ewan McGregor (as Lumiere), Emma Thompson (as Mrs. Potts), Ian McKellen (as Cogsworth), Stanley Tucci (as Cadenza), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (as Babette), and Audra McDonald (as Wardrobe).
2. The creative team
Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) helms the forthcoming fairy tale-inspired movie, based on a screenplay by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman (The Fighter) will serve as producers on the project.
3. Belle will get a new backstory
We’re all familiar with the 1991 animated film and the story it lays out: Belle’s father, Maurice, is a kooky inventor who comes across the Beast’s enchanted castle while attempting to sell his latest creation. In order to save him, Belle, a lovely young bookworm, volunteers to take his place in prison and is forced to live in the castle with the Beast, kicking off an unlikely romance.
However, the story will see a bit of change in Disney’s new remake. According to Entertainment Weekly, Belle will be the inventor in the upcoming movie, not her father. As Watson told Entertainment Weekly:
In the animated movie, it’s her father who is the inventor, and we actually co-opted that for Belle. I was like, ‘Well, there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books. Also what is she doing with her time?’ So, we created a backstory for her, which was that she had invented a kind of washing machine, so that, instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead. So, yeah, we made Belle an inventor.
That’s not to say that Maurice will be without a job. He works as a music box constructor, as seen in the images above. Per Entertainment Weekly, the music boxes represent different countries of the world that Belle dreams of traveling to.
4. It will recreate the original’s iconic scenes
Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast will feature plenty of callbacks to the animated film, as seen in the first look photos here. From the iconic ballroom scene (above) to the “Be Our Guest” musical number, the movie will recreate many of the story’s classic moments. But doing so wasn’t easy.
Condon recently opened up about the challenges of the “Be Our Guest” sequence, telling Entertainment Weekly:
Well, it’s interesting to do what is going to be our biggest musical number with nobody there, except for some cutaways to Belle. It’s a four-minute number that cost more than Mr. Holmes’ entire budget. We shot it with first and second unit for over a month and it’s taken over a year to put it together — and six months before that to plan it. I would guess that is pretty far up there in terms of most intricate and elaborate musical numbers ever shot.
But the work was worthwhile, according to Watson. “It was really just very technical, and because it was so technical, really sort of painstaking,” she said, per Entertainment Weekly. “Yeah, it was tricky. But I think it looks spectacular, and it all paid off — so all worth it in the end!”
5. It will include some brand new songs
In addition to the original Beauty and the Beast songs, the movie will also feature several new tunes. According to Entertainment Weekly, the film will include three new ballads written by composer Alan Menken — who penned the tunes for the original 1991 animated version — and lyricist Tim Rice. These songs include “Our Song Lives On,” which is performed by Watson’s Belle and Kline’s Maurice, and another called “For Evermore,” sung by Stevens’s Beast.
“The first time [Our Song Lives On] is sung, it’s Belle’s father singing as he’s completing a music box, and basically it’s [about], ‘How does a moment live forever? How do you hang on to precious moments?’” Menken told Entertainment Weekly of the track. “Then, it’s reprised by Belle, and then it’s the song that’s actually over the end credits at the end of the movie. Disney hasn’t announced it yet, but there’s going to be some wonderful singer on the end credits song.”
The third new song is called “Days in the Sun,” which Menken describes as “a sort of a combination of a lullaby and a remembrance of happier days for everybody.”
6. It will feature unused lyrics from the original film
According to Entertainment Weekly, the live-action remake will use feature lyrics that were originally written for the animated 1991 version, but went unused. The lyrics were written by the late Howard Ashman, who helped pen the songs for the animated film. Some of these lyrics will be heard in the song “Gaston.” According to Menken, the lyrics were a little too salacious for the original. As he told Entertainment Weekly:
In ‘Gaston,’ we had a treasure trove of lyrics that Howard had written that we did not put in the movie. In many cases they were a little bit risqué — not risqué sexually, but risqué in terms of sensibility. We all felt ready to have these lyrics. When Bill found out about those lyrics, he said, ‘Oh my god, can we please look at that, because it would be a wonderful way to add an extra freshness to the movie.’ So, yes, you’re going to hear some unheard Howard Ashman lyrics.
And that’s not the only song that will feature an unused Ashman lyric. Another one will pop up toward the end of the film. “It’s a surprise at the end,” Condon said, per Entertainment Weekly. “I don’t want to give that away, but it’s a really gorgeous lyric that we found.”
7. It will feature an LGBTQ plotline
Just weeks before the premiere of the film, Condon has revealed that Beauty and the Beast will feature an historic Disney first with an “exclusively gay moment.” In an interview with British LGBTQ magazine Attitude, the director revealed how he was inspired by the story behind the music of the 1991 original, to include an LGBTQ storyline into the remake. The subplot will revolve around Gaston’s sidekick, LeFou, (played by Josh Gad), as Condon told the publication:
LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its pay-off at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.
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