Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast is finally hitting theaters and it’s already on pace to be a box office hit despite the controversy surrounding it. The reviews thus far have also tended toward positive (you can read our review of the film here). With all of the buzz and focus certain aspects of the movie have received, there hasn’t been as much revealed about Beast himself. Recently, Dan Stevens, the man who’s bringing Beast to life, spoke about the challenge of finding balance in Beast’s character.
“I think there’s a bit of Beast in all of us,” he said. “That was kind of the way that Emma [Watson] and I wanted to approach both of the characters, really. It was exploring the masculine and feminine energies, and sort of the essence of the myth. The Beauty and the Beast in all of us.”
Finding the beauty and beast elements of Beast includes a deeper look into Beast’s backstory and who he was as a person before being cursed, something the animated classic only briefly touched upon in the opening sequence.
“I guess in our version, we look more closely at the backstory of the Beast and the Prince, as he was. Looking at what caused him to be cursed in the first place. We looked at this idea of arrogance, and privilege, and wealth, and the abuse of that kind of power. And also his inability or his reluctance to fall in love or be interested in love, although we see him dancing with sixty princesses and not really connecting with any of them. Which we counterpoint with the waltz at the center of the movie.”
Since being cursed, Stevens says Beast has already done some soul-searching and some balancing of his own, trying to address the issues that led to his transformation. Though he has done some work before Belle even enters the picture, it is her presence that helps Beast truly center in on the balance he’s been searching for.
“I think that we were looking at those qualities led him to be cursed, the period of time he’s had to reflect on those, and how many of those he may have already remedied in his own mind and being,” Stevens said. “And what Belle then comes and finds in him. So, it’s really about Belle finding the man in the Beast. The good man inside the Beast, or the good man inside of the bad man…and redressing that balance in him, I think.”
Beauty and the Beast stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Ewan McGregor as Lumière, Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Kevin Kline as Belle’s father Maurice, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette.
The film hits theaters this Friday, March 17.