Beauty and the Beast - Disney's upcoming live-action film adaptation of the fairy tale - has found its Beauty/Belle in Emma Watson, though the search for the Beast
is ongoing (Ryan Gosling rumors aside) now finished with Dan Stevens having taken the role. Another major role to be filled is, of course, that of the handsome antagonist Gaston; it appears that task is complete, as Luke Evans is reportedly in negotiations to play the villainous character.
Disney's recent live-action fairy tale adaptations Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, and Cinderella (opening in the U.S. next week) were not musicals, unlike their animated predecessors. However, it would appear that Beauty and the Beast will carryover songs like "Be Our Guest" from the Mouse House's Oscar-winning 1991 animated feature, as Watson has indicated she will sing in the film. And thus, hiring Evans for Gatson makes all the more sense, as he started out performing musical theater on London's West End before he made the jump to big screen acting full-time.
Evans, besides having proper singing experience (listen to him perform "One Song Glory" from Rent), also has the strapping handsome looks and the charisma necessary to convincingly bring the vain Gaston to life in a live-action rendition of the Disney-fied Beauty and the Beast story. Evans recently stepped away from the stalled reboot of The Crow, which freed up his schedule; interestingly, The Wrap reports that before that, Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayme (The Theory of Everything) was approached to play Gaston, but passed.
The live-action Beauty and the Beast will once again tell the tale of book-smart Belle, who ends up becoming the prisoner to a hideous monster - unaware that the creature (and his magical servants) are under the enchantment of a spell. Bill Condon, the Oscar-winning writer/director of Dreamgirls and the upcoming Mr. Holmes, is calling the shots on this project, based on Perks of Being a Wallflower writer Stephen Chbosky's script - itself, a revision of the screenplay by Evan Spiliotopoulos (Hercules (2014)).
At this point, Disney's live-action re-adaptations of fairy tales that're already part of the studio's animated filmography have all done quite well commercially, but only earning middling critical receptions. Thus far, though, Cinderella seems to be going over better with critics (for now, it's at 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes after 14 reviews); and in 2016, the Mouse House will release a live-action Jungle Book film directed by Jon Favreau that already sounds fairly promising.
Could Beauty and the Beast be the next step in an upward trend for these live-action remakes, creatively-speaking? The talent is certainly there on both sides of the camera - arguably more so than in the cases of both Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent. Besides, Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast has already inspired a very popular, award-winning Broadway stage musical adaptation, so there's no reason it cannot also give rise to an equally well-received live-action musical film.
Beauty and the Beast is expected to begin production this year, but doesn't have an official release date just yet.
Source: The Wrap