Those in the know are no doubt well aware by now of the forthcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast being produced and distributed by Walt Disney Studios. However, it would appear as though Disney won’t be the only production company to bring a whole new take on the classic melodrama to U.S. audiences in the near future, as French director Christophe Gans will also be unveiling his own version of the timeless romantic fantasy. Gans directed the movie some time ago, but it only recently secured distribution in North America.

Starring rising French film star Léa Seydoux (Spectre) as Belle and Vincent Cassel (Jason Bourne) as the Beast, the French language version of Beauty and the Beast is no doubt aiming to offer a take on the well known story that will feature fewer musical numbers and more daring feats of cinematic wonder. The first official trailer for Gans’ new film provides a thrilling look at what appears to be shaping up into an unparalleled drama of high fantasy and sweeping romance.

In the footage featured above, domestic distributor Shout! Factory offers American viewers their first look at some of the dazzling cinematography and special effects on display in what appears to be a far grander take on the original storybook narrative. Like the classic French adaptation directed by Jean Cocteau in 1946, Gans appears eager to interpret his Beauty and the Beast as a more mature take on what Disney reinvented into family fare in their contemporary animated feature of 1991.

Lea Seydoux as Belle in Beauty and the Beast Spectres Léa Seydoux is Belle in Beauty & the Beast Trailer

Check out the official synopsis for Gans’ Beauty and the Beast below:

1810. After the wreck of his ships, a financially-ruined merchant (André Dussollier) exiles himself in the countryside with his six children. Among them is Belle (Léa Seydoux), his youngest daughter, a joyful girl full of grace. One day, during an arduous journey, the merchant stumbles across the magical domain of the Beast (Vincent Cassel), who sentences him to death for stealing a rose. Feeling responsible for the terrible fate which has befallen her family, Belle decides to sacrifice herself and take her father’s place. At the Beast’s castle, it is not death that awaits Belle, but a strange life in which fantastical moments mingle with gaiety and melancholy. Every night, at dinner, Belle and the Beast sit down together. They learn about each other, taming one another like two strangers who are total opposites. When she has to repulse his amorous advances, Belle tries to pierce the mysteries of the Beast and his domain. And when night falls, the Beast’s past is revealed to her bit by bit in her dreams. It is a tragic story, which tells her that this solitary and fearsome being was once a majestic prince. Armed with her courage, ignoring every danger, and opening her heart, Belle manages to release the Beast from his curse. And in doing so, she discovers true love.

Standing in direct competition to Disney’s likeminded live-action adaptation starring Emma Watson (Harry Potter) as Belle and Dan Stevens (The Guest) as the Beast, Gans may have set the stage for quite the competition. That being said, Gans should have little trouble attracting attention given the impressive footage released thus far, and will no doubt deliver a filmed version of Beauty and the Beast that will offer viewers something entirely dissimilar to typical Disney fare.

No matter what you might preemptively think of each respective production, Beauty and the Beauty is set for two feature film productions to be released in the near future, and Gans’ French language drama will be the first. And who knows, perhaps those viewers eagerly anticipating Disney’s forthcoming 2017 adaptation will give Gans’ film a chance when it sees theatrical release later this fall.

Beauty and the Beast will see theatrical release in the U.S. on September 23, 2016.

Source: Shout! Factory

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