Everything we know about Disney's new 'Beauty and the Beast'
From the new songs to the new Belle, we're swept up in the magic of Disney's upcoming musical spectacle.
While 2017 is crammed with potential blockbuster juggernauts like "Star Wars: Episode VIII," Wonder Woman," and "Spider-Man: Homecoming," the film that may potentially rival them all is none other than Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."
A live adaptation of the 1991 animated classic, the film is directed by American filmmaker Bill Condon and stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. For those worried this version will somehow malign the magic of the original, Condon says to place those fears aside.
"I want fans to know that everyone who worked on this movie loves the original as much as you do," he said in an interview.
Below is everything we currently know about Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."
It's not the first attempt at a live action "Beast"
Disney's remake of "Beauty and the Beast" is actually the latest in a long line of live-action adaptations stretching back to 1946 of the classic fairy tale. One of the more memorable entries was released in 1987 as part of a series of live-action fairy tales from Israeli producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. The film, which has since become something of a cult classic, starred American actors Rebecca De Mornay as Belle and John Savage as the Beast.
While the songs featured in this rendition reflect the over-the-top campiness of the 1980s, the on-location sets, shot entirely in Israel, as well as the beautiful costume design and endearing performances of the cast ultimately won over critics.
"Rebecca De Mornay is fantastic as the gracious loving creature that can love even a beast," wrote one fan. "The way that this is filmed it almost feels as though you are the proverbial fly on the wall, or the statue with eyes. I think it is a wonderful way to get kids interested in something besides cartoons."
The cast is filled with Hollywood heavyweights
You're not the only one eagerly awaiting Disney's new take on "Beast." A huge portion of award-winning Hollywood talent was evidently game to participate as well.
In addition to British actors Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the lead roles, the film also features Scottish star and former "Star Wars" Jedi Ewan McGregor as Lumière, British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, Welsh actor Luke Evans as Gaston, and British legends Emma Thompson and Sir Ian McKellan as Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth respectively.
For director Bill Condon, getting the casting right was one of the most important first steps to honoring Disney's original animated classic.
"I just think, for me, it felt like a great responsibility to take that wonderful film, and kind of translate it into a different media," he told Oh My Disney. "You know, the fact that it’s real and three-dimensional. It’s a very intriguing, challenging daily process to make sure you’re being true to what you loved, and what I loved, and what everybody else loved, to hopefully kind of expand on it, and give people something to connect to it."
It's set in 18th century France
Whereas Disney's 1991 animated film took some liberties with staying authentic to the time period, Condon says the remake cuts no such corners. Even the iconic dress from the original needed to match the time and setting.
“This is not a fairytale setting, this is the South of France, in 1740 when the original story was written," he told the UK Telegraph. "We look at the incredible rococo design, and specific features of candlesticks, and so on. And this applies to the dress. Yes, there’s an iconic dress, that looks kind of like an Austrian curtain, from the original movie. But that isn’t at all reflective of the period we’ve chosen. So the question on our mind wasn’t, how do we get close to that dress, but, dramatically, what’s the one that’s right."
A more proactive Belle
For instance, the Belle in the upcoming film is not only an avid reader, but also an engineer; helping her father to create many of the inventions scattered about their home.
“We tried to tweak things to make her more proactive, and a bit less carried along by the story,” Watson, who was appointed a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014 told Entertainment Weekly, “and a bit more in charge of – and in control of – her own destiny.”
In addition to practical boots for horse riding, running, and fighting off wolves, Belle also carries tools to fix machinery and work the gardens. It's a shift that Watson believes will inspire a new generation of girls.
"I think Belle as a character represents a woman who is willing to stand outside of what is expected of her, and chase her dreams, chase her intuition, and I think that that will really resonate and really appeal," she added.
The first teaser and full trailer made history
Just how big will this film be at the box office? The first glimpses offered to the public have already made history.
On May 23, 2016, a brief teaser for "Beauty and Beast" caught everyone by surprise when it broke the record for most views of a teaser trailer in 24 hours, receiving more than 91.8 million impressions. The record books were again crushed on November 14, 2016, when the first full trailer scored 127.6 million views in 24 hours; besting previous record-holders like "Fifty Shades Darker" (114 million) and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (112 million).
This particular record wouldn't hold long, however. On December 11th, the first trailer for "The Fate of the Furious" recorded over 139 million views.
On-set singing was encouraged
While the musical numbers in "Beauty and the Beast" will not feature the extent of live singing that was present in 2012's "Les Miserables," actor Luke Evans did reveal that some on-set performances may make it into the final cut.
"We pre-recorded every, but some of us sang live on set as well, during the takes," he told Collider. "We were mic’d and they recorded that and I think afterwords, in sound, they’ll be able to chose whether the live version is better than the pre-recorded version."
Evans wasn't the only one to embrace performing live. His villainous accomplice Le Fou, played by Josh Gad, also went all out on set.
"I sang full out every take to my own voice in the background," added Evans. "So did Josh. Josh and I really loved every minute of it, we’re proper theater lovers, me and Josh."
Composer Alan Menken crafted 3 new original songs
In addition to all the beloved melodies from the 1991 animated classic, "Beauty and the Beast" composer Alan Menken has also written three original new songs for the film. These include "Our Song Lives On," "For Evermore," and the bittersweet "Days in the Sun." According to those who have heard it, "Days in the Sun" might just earn Menken his ninth Oscar for best original song.
“‘Days in the Sun’ is a moment when all of the objects in the castle – and Belle – are going to sleep," the American composer shared with Entertainment Weekly. "Basically, everybody in the castle is having memories of what it used to be when they had their days in the sun. It’s sort of a combination of a lullaby and a remembrance of happier days for everybody.”
Sir Ian McKellen blogged about the first table read
Interested in some of the behind-the-scenes magic from the film? Sir Ian McKellan, the social media phenom who most recently starred as an older Sherlock Holmes, graciously pulled back the curtain on the cast's first table read of the script in April.
My favorite moment, because it made me weepy, was when the Beast's loving arm was placed tentatively on Belle's shoulder after their pas de deux," he wrote. "Clearly dancing and singing rehearsals had started before today. My own are to come. I'm going to have to work hard to equal what has already been achieved. All the long way home, I hummed 'Be My Guest,' in which I shall get to sing a line or two. Aren't I the lucky one?"
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