Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast has a lot to live up to. The success of the 1991 animated version of the film, arriving shortly after The Little Mermaid (with The Rescuers Down Under in between), gave Disney a massive surge in popularity. The simple beauty, charming humor and enchanting music that Beauty and the Beast brought has ensured its place among the classics and remains the favorite Disney movie for many people.
Thankfully, Disney seem to have taken all this on board with their live-action retelling. Certainly the cast list looks impressive; Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, with Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw playing the household staff who are transformed into objects under the curse placed on the Beast and his castle. The movie also features Luke Evans and Josh Gad as Gaston and LeFou, respectively.
Anticipation for the movie is exceptionally high and, after the release of the first teaser trailer, it seems as though Disney might really deliver on their promise of staying faithful to the original Beauty and the Beast, and yet still managing to bring something new. Talking to E! News, Mbatha-Raw, who plays Plumette (the feather duster and girlfriend of McGregor's Lumiere), claims that the new film is "everything you'd want and more." She also makes special mention of Evans and Gad's scenes together, describing them as "hilarious."
Confirming that she does sing in the movie, Mbatha-Raw also gives an interesting hint to exactly how the movie is made, as well as what we can expect to see from her character once she becomes human again.
"A lot of my character is animated so I was only on set a couple of days. But, they were magical days. I mean, we were in London and you've got Ewan McGregor [as] my dance partner and we're ballroom dancing around this Disney ballroom!"
As the story of Beauty and the Beast goes (from the 1991 film), the household objects are released from the curse near to the end of the movie, so presumably this is what Mbatha-Raw is referring to when she says "most of" her character is animated. There is also the possibility that motion capture will form the basis of the enchanted characters, such as has been used to turn Mark Rylance into The BFG, another Disney movie which is soon to be released.
However these characters are produced on screen, it's still the music that a lot of fans are excited for; not least the chance to see and hear this A-list cast singing on screen. Also talking to E! News, Evans pointed out that although he spent over ten years singing in shows in the West End, U.K., this is his first time singing on film.
"It's a wonderful joy to actually get to sing on screen. It's what I did for ten years of my life in the West End, so to finally do it on screen was a really wonderful moment for me and I loved every second of it."
Like Mbatha-Raw, Evans also couldn't praise the film highly enough, when asked what fans will make of it.
"They're going to be over the moon. It's a real treat. It'll be a wonderful thing for the people who remember the animation and for the young ones who've never seen the animation, to see this live-action portrayal."
Directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), Beauty and the Beast uses the original songs from the film, composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as new music composed for the film by Menken (Ashman passed away in 1991). While there is certainly the anticipation of seeing and hearing something new, what many fans are really after is a faithful and nostalgic recreation, brought to vivid life on the big screen. So far, everything is pointing to Disney delivering on that.
Beauty and the Beast opens in U.S. theaters on March 17th, 2017.
Source: E! News
- Beauty and the Beast (2017) release date: Mar 17, 2017