The smash hit animated musical, Beauty and the Beast has just been given the Disney live-action remake. These live-action remakes will soon become the dominant trend for future Disney films over the next couple of years. This is the first musical adapted and you can read my review to see what I thought of it. ‘Beauty’ is a new spin on an old classic so in preparation some of the cast and crew attended a press conference to promote the new film, which will be released on the 17th of March.
The conference was held at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills on Sunday, March 5th and featured Emma Watson (“Belle”), Dan Stevens (“Beast / Prince Adam”), Luke Evans (“Gaston”), Josh Gad (“Le Fou”), Audra McDonald (“Garderobe”), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Plumette”), director, Bill Condon and songwriter and composer, Alan Menken.
The event started off with a special treat from Alan Menken who performed a medley of songs taken straight from the film. He was soon accompanied by Luke Evans and Josh Gad who helped to perform the song“Gaston” together, which happens to be my favorite song. Once the music concluded it was time for the piano to be put away and for the cast to have a seat for a quick Q&A session.
The cast had an opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics including what it was like to be a part of bringing this film to life in a new and exciting way. One of the most humorous moments from the press conference was that of Josh Gad telling his story of an uncooperative horse, at one point joking that “Jews don’t belong on horses”. Gad explained that, while shooting a scene with Luke Evans where the horses were supposed to walk straight forward, Gad’s horse decided it had enough of that and went the other way through a crowd of extras. He added that he felt his horse was “anti-Semitic.” Luke Evans described Gaston as a character who doesn’t see himself as the villain, but as a hero. He adds that, to the many people of the village, he is. Gaston starts out good, but the cracks begin to show and eventually he turns into a monster himself.
Bill Condon even had an opportunity to address the controversy about LeFou being represented as gay in this film. He states that,
I talked before about how we translate this into live-action. That means building out the characters. It’s also a translation to 2017, you know? “And what is the movie about? What has this story always been about for 300 years? It’s about looking closer, going deeper, accepting people for who they really are.
The cast were asked about the music that is such a huge part of this film. Josh Gad shared another story about how he saw the original film when he was 10 years old and because of that the realization that he will be a part of a musical he has loved was a bit daunting to him. Alan Menken and Bill Condon also were asked about the new music that is present in the film. They took the approach of looking at each iteration as separate entities. The animated film is a much different beast than the stage production is and with that in mind this new film is also intentionally set apart. The new songs were used to fill in certain gaps in the storytelling and to expand upon what was already there to create something fresh.
Disney has really been pulling out all the stops when it comes to the marketing and promotion of this surefire hit. There’s no doubt that this movie will be huge and getting a chance to hear from the cast and filmmakers themselves about the creation of this film lent weight to it.
Are you excited about this new version of such a classic? What do you think of the original Beauty and the Beast? Let us know in the comments!