Idris Elba has revealed that he auditioned to play the villainous Gaston for the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. As one of the crown jewels in the studio's vault of animated classics, Disney took a leap of faith earlier this year with the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, and the risk paid off handsomely, with ticket sales of more than $1.2 billion at the global ticket office.
Part of the film's success was due to its stellar cast, which included Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth and Ewan McGregor as Lumiere. Central to the narrative, though, was Luke Evans as Gaston - who, together with his flunky assistant, LeFou (Josh Gad) sought desperately for Belle's hand in marriage.
As it turns out, the role wasn't entirely Evans' for the taking. In an interview with People for his new film The Mountain Between Us, Elba says he auditioned to play Gaston in director Bill Condon's movie musical:
“I honestly love musicals. I auditioned for Beauty and the Beast. I really did, for Gaston. I called and said, ‘Listen, I want in!’ So somewhere they have a tape of me singing.”
Elba noted that he has no idea of where the audition tape is, and when asked about resenting Evans for landing the role, he says, “No, only a little bit. No! I love you Luke, you know that.”
It's always interesting to hear of actors audition for roles, particularly for films that you normally wouldn't associate them with, like musicals. It appears now, though, that Elba has yet another talent that the movie-going public hasn't been exposed to yet with his singing. With any luck, since Disney is merely at the beginning of adapting some of its animated classics into live-action films, perhaps he'll get another chance to do so down the line.
One big plus is that the Mouse House is already very well aware of Elba's talents, having cast him in such films as their live-action version of The Jungle Book, Disney/Pixar's Finding Dory and Disney's Best Animated Feature Oscar winner Zootopia. On top of that, Elba will next be featured in Disney/Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok.
So, until the day finally comes when Elba can take over the role of James Bond, perhaps he should shore up his vocal talents for the next opportunity for a Disney musical. After all, Elba has already proven that he can do everything from action, adventure and sci-fi to comedy and drama, so where's the big risk in belting out a tune for the masses?