Based largely on the classic 1991 Disney animated film of the same name, the upcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast is already shaping up to be a must-see movie event of early 2017. Directed by Bill Condon (Mr. Holmes) and co-starring Emma Watson (Harry Potter) and Dan Stevens (The Guest) as the innocent beauty and titular beast respectively speaking, the new movie looks to offer fans of the original Oscar-winning animated film plenty of material to appreciate – as further evidenced by the official images from the film released thus far.
Based on a screenplay co-written by Stephen Chobsky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), the live-action Beauty and the Beast will also be a full-blown musical in the vein of its predecessor. The live-action Beauty and the Beast will not only include songs from the 1991 animated movie, but also brand-new tunes co-developed by composer Alan Menken.
Menken, who worked with the late Howard Ashman and lyricist Tim Rice on Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast, helped to craft new songs in the forms of “Our Song Lives On” sung by Belle (Watson) and her father Maurice (Kevin Kline); “For Evermore” sung by the Beast (Stevens); and “Days in the Sun” sung by Belle and the rest of the live-action film’s cast. Menken explained the thought-process behind each song to EW as follows:
“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?’ 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.
‘For Evermore’ is this moment where the Beast now loves Belle, and he realizes that she misses her father, and he acknowledges she’s no longer a prisoner, and when she sees her father’s in trouble, he says, ‘Go to him, go.’ And he voluntarily lets her go. He’s basically singing about how he now knows what love is, as he watches her leave, and he’s climbing up the turret of the castle as she recedes into the distance, just watching her go further and further away.
‘Days in the Sun’ is a moment when all of the objects in the castle —and Belle — are going to sleep. 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.”
If everything goes according to plan, Menken may very well have a few new songs to add to his collection of Oscar-winning musical numbers – in addition to the eight he already has from his past work on such Disney animated classics as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Pocahontas. Menken has quite the body of work standing behind him, which should serve him well in as the lead composer of the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie.
Alongside Menken’s past entries from the original animated Beauty and the Beast feature from 1991, the new songs soon to be featured in the live-action Beauty and the Beast as directed by Bill Condon should serve to fit right in alongside such classics as “Be Our Guest” and “Beauty and the Beast”. Only time will tell how fans will respond to the three new musical numbers, so here’s to hoping for the very best from each of them.