Walt Disney Studios' live-action re-imaginings of its classic animated film adaptations (and even more original cartoon features) is serious business now, as evidenced by the all-star cast lineup for the Mouse House's upcoming Beauty and the Beast live-action musical. Oscar-winner Bill Condon is leading a team of established young stars, as well as seasoned film/theater acting vets and even proper Broadway stage icons.
The latest big name to add to the pile: Ewan McGregor, who will play the role of the Beast's human servant-turned enchanted candelabra Lumiere. Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is expected to stick fairly close to the story of Disney's Oscar-winning 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast with his script for the live-action version - meaning, McGregor should wind up trading barbs (and enjoying a bromance) with Ian McKellen's Cogsworth, while romancing Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Plumette, in this new retelling of the fairy tale.
THR reports McGregor is in final negotiations to play Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast, so he's all but officially joined the cast by now. Here's the cast that the former Obi-Wan Kenobi actor will be joining on the project:
- Emma Watson as Belle, a book-smart young woman who agrees to take her father's place after he is captured by a hideous monster.
- Dan Stevens as The Beast, said hideous monster, who is actually a Prince under a spell cast by an enchantress (in response to his cruel behavior).
- Luke Evans as Gaston, the brawny yet vain hunter who becomes determined to make Belle his (trophy) wife.
- Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston's dim-witted and malicious sidekick.
The Beast's enchanted servants will be played by Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts) and Audra McDonald (Garderobe) - in addition to McGregor, McKellen, and Mbatha-Raw - while Kevin Kline will portray Belle's father, Maurice. Chbosky's script will make room for most of the famous songs from the 1991 Beauty and the Beast animated feature, along with new tunes devised by legendary Disney film composers/songwriters Alan Menken and Sir Tim Rice.
UPDATE: Variety reports that Stanley Tucci (the Hunger Games franchise) has also joined the cast as Cadenza, a character not featured in the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast - described as an enchanted servant who takes on the form of a grand piano (and is a "neurotic maestro").
Lumiere's "Be Our Guest" is one of the more famous (if not the most famous) songs from the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast, but it's in safe hands with McGregor - who's demonstrated his singing talents in films like Velvet Goldmine and Moulin Rouge, as well as the "Here's to Love" number (with Renée Zellweger) from Down With Love. The same goes for the other new (and well-known) Beauty and the Beast tunes, given the collective musical theater experience of the cast.
Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella has earned the most critical acclaim for a modern Disney animated feature-turned live-action movie yet, with its worldwide gross closing in on half a billion dollars. A similarly large audience will surely be waiting for Condon's Beauty and the Beast, but the talent involved suggests the film could match (or maybe exceed) Branagh's Disney flick as a creative accomplishment. We'll be so lucky if we can say the same for other upcoming Mouse House live-action remakes.
Beauty and the Beast opens in U.S. theaters on March 17th, 2017.
Update source: Variety