Disney’s animated feature film Beauty and the Beast became a hit upon release and remains a classic to this day. While the films enduring popularity can be credited to a number a sources, there is no denying that a considerable amount of the films success is thanks to the score by Alan Menken and songs written by the late Howard Ashman. It appears Walt Disney Pictures would agree as Menken will be returning to write new songs for the upcoming live-action adaption of Beauty and the Beast to accompany the classics. Now, Menken revealed to EW that the song titled “Gaston” will be featured in the film and will use previously unused lyrics from Howard Ashman’s original rendition of the tune.
Menken revealed why the lyrics had originally been cut from the song for the 1991 animated film and why director Bill Condon wanted to use some of them for the live-action adaptation.
“In ‘Gaston,’ we had a treasure trove of lyrics that Howard had written that we did not put in the movie. In many cases they were a little bit risqué — not risqué sexually, but risqué in terms of sensibility. We all felt ready to have these lyrics. When Bill found out about those lyrics, he said, ‘Oh my god, can we please look at that, because it would be a wonderful way to add an extra freshness to the movie.’ So, yes, you’re going to hear some unheard Howard Ashman lyrics.
The role of Gaston will be played by actor Luke Evans for the live-action adaption, who commented on the inclusion of the unused lyrics and the process through which the creative team found them.
“The guys at Disney reviewed all the transcripts and recordings and they’ve been able to go back through those hours and hours of recorded footage and listen to lyrics that were written and never used, which are actually gems. So, for the [audience members] who know the songs immensely well, which I think is most people, you will hear a few new lines, which are really, really special.”
Director Bill Condon also teased that another unused lyric from Ashman will be featured in the live-action adaptation and when fans can expect to hear it in the film.
“It’s a surprise at the end. I don’t want to give that away, but it’s a really gorgeous lyric that we found.”
Fans of Ashman, who previously worked with Menken on The Little Mermaid and whose work was partially included in Aladdin following his death, may be pleased to learn that his unreleased work will find new life in the live-action Beauty and the Beast film and reach a entire new generation of audiences.
Beauty and the Beast stars Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.
Beauty and the Beast will be released in theaters on March 17, 2017.