Upon its release in 1991, Beauty and the Beast fast became a classic and beloved movie for many, not least because of the music and songs featured in the movie. With a score written by Alan Menken, and lyrics penned by the late Howard Ashman, Beauty and the Beast came to life in a magical animated musical that totally captured the Disney spirit.
Ashman and Menken had also worked together on Little Shop of Horrors and Disney’s The Little Mermaid, among other projects, but Ashman sadly died of AIDS eight months before Beauty and the Beast was released. The film is dedicated to his memory. After his death, some of Ashman’s songs were used for Aladdin, and the composer left behind a wealth of work for fans to enjoy. Of course, during any filmmaking process, cuts are made, and it was almost inevitable that some of Ashman’s lyrics would have been cut from the animated Beauty and the Beast… but now, they’ve found their way back in via the live-action version.
EW is reporting Ashman’s unused lyrics to the song ‘Gaston’ will be used in the new live-action Beauty and the Beast, set to be released in 2017. The part of Gaston is to be played by Luke Evans, who sings the song with his sidekick, LeFou, to be played by Josh Gad. While the original score to the film will be used for the movie, Menken has also returned to write new songs for the movie, and he explained that director Bill Condon was keen to include Ashman’s words:
“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.”
Fans of the original might well recall that “Gaston” is basically a song in which the rather obnoxious Gaston exclaims his prowess for hunting, eating eggs, and enticing women. It’s a fun, outlandish song designed to make an audience realize instantly why Belle keeps spurring his advances. While the exact nature of these “risque” lyrics is not explained, it does sound like they’ll enhance the film and give more substance to Gaston and LeFou’s roles. Evans points out that “for the [audience members] who know the songs immensely well, which I think is most people, you will hear a few new lines, which are really, really special.”
Added to this, in another rather exciting addition, Condon has hinted at another Ashman lyric that fits in elsewhere in the film: “It’s a surprise at the end. I don’t want to give that away, but it’s a really gorgeous lyric that we found.” It’s great that Ashman’s previously unused lyrics can be put to use, and it sounds as though his words will only enhance what is already set up to be a magical movie.