Tale As Old As Time
In Walt Disney’s newest live-action film, audiences are taken back to an enchanting time to watch a tale as old as time (you saw that one coming didn’t you?) unfold in new and unexpected ways. The story may be the same as the classic Walt Disney animation, but the new live-action adaptation is anything but a simple love story between a girl and a beast. The 2017 Beauty and the Beast version is a stunning and spectacular cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told with an updated semblance and more in depth story background. We had the privilege of viewing an early screening before the press conference and we’re so excited to finally share our thoughts about the film with you. All opinions are our own.
Fall In Love All Over Again
In the 1991 Walt Disney Animated Beauty and the Beast film, audiences of all ages fell in love with the sweet story and the gorgeous music. In the updated 2017 adaptation of the film, not only will audiences fall in love all over again with the sweet story and the gorgeous music but audiences will also fall in love with the movie going experience all over again. Beauty and The Beast is the epitome of what makes going to see a film in the theater so great. You may know the story beforehand but the emotional experience of seeing it before you on screen is captivating and exciting.
Magic Comes To Life
Directed by Bill Condon (Kinsey, Dreamgirls, Twilight 3 & 4), Beauty and the Beast is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts. The entire film is brought to life by music from Alan Menken.
And now, why Beauty and the Beast is a film for everyone.
What Emma Watson brings to life in Belle in the live-action adaption of Beauty and the Beast is worth taking your children to see. Emma displays a beautifully sincere, strong and independent young woman. It was Emma’s aim to update the animated character to have even more independence and strength. Emma pushed for Belle to demonstrate community activism.
The “gay scene”
Unbeknownst to me going into the Beauty and the Beast press conference, Bill Condon announced that there was “a nice, exclusively gay moment” in the film. Despite having just watched the film the night before, I had no idea was all the fuss was about. I had to deeply think about the film and the characters to realize what he could have been alluding to. During the press conference direction Bill Condon noted that he wanted to make a film for everyone in 2017. And that’s just it. The live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast is modern life and the people that live it.
Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated film, provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as three new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice. It was such a pleasure to listen to and sing along to the classic music from the 1991 classic as well as hear new music that fits the story perfectly. Alan Menken is a master at moving the film along emotionally with his music.
“Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.
Fun Film making Facts
Over 8,700 candles (or 104,400 inches of wax) were used as set decoration during production.
The ballroom floor in the Beast’s castle is made from 12,000 square feet of faux marble and its design is based on a pattern found on the ceiling of the Benedictine Abbey in Braunau, Germany. The 10 glass chandeliers in the ballroom – each measuring 14 feet by 7 feet – are based on actual chandeliers from Versailles which were then frosted, covered in fabric and candlelit.
Approximately 1,500 red roses were grown or purchased during production for use as research or set decoration.
The enchanted forest which surrounds the Beast’s castle and features real trees, hedges, a frozen lake and 20,000 icicles, took 15 weeks to complete.
Approximately 180 feet of feather light satin organza was used to create Belle’s yellow dress. The dress, which required 3,000 feet of thread and took over 12,000 hours to create, was accentuated with 2,160 Swarovski crystals.
During production, the costume department challenged itself to design and create ethical and sustainable costumes made from fair-trade fabrics (meaning the use of organic materials from suppliers that pay their employees a fair wage and are considerate of the environment), which they achieved. Working in tandem with Eco Age and the Green Carpet Challenge, the department used natural and low impact dyes, carefully disposing of any waste water, and printed with traditional wood blocks.
A production crew comprised of more than 1,000 people worked around the clock to design, build and decorate the film’s mammoth sets.
Philippe, Belle (Emma Watson) and Maurice’s (Kevin Kline) horse, is played by three different horses, two of which had to be painted on a daily basis.
Emma Watson (Belle), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), Luke Evans (Gaston) and Nathan Mack (Chip) all share the same birthday, April 14, which was also the date of the cast read through.
Froufrou, the dog belonging to Madame de Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and Maestro Cadenza (Stanley Tucci), is played by Gizmo, a rescue from one of the U.K.’s oldest and most famous animal rescue centers.
The coat of arms in the Beast’s castle is a lion and a boar with a WD anagram (the WD is meant to represent a fictional character, William Devereaux, but could also stand for Walt Disney).
Some of the original lyrics written by Howard Ashman for the songs “Gaston” and “Beauty and the Beast” that were not used in the animated film have been added to the live-action adaptation.
The lend-a-hand lights on the terrace and staircase in the Beast’s castle and the rose colonnade on the castle grounds are an homage to Jean Cocteau’s 1946 Avant Garde film, “La Belle et le Bête, which was a source of inspiration for Bill Condon.
-all images courtesy of Disney