If you were a child in the 90s, there’s a high chance you grew up wandering around your family home and talking to the furniture. No, it wasn’t an early sign that you’d go on to become unhinged in adult life, but instead the result of hundreds of hours spent watching the 1991 animated classic Beauty and the Beast.
Now we’re grown-ups, Disney has given us another chance to relive the madness of our youth with a live action re-imagining. Featuring rousing new tunes and an incredible roster of acting talent, the new film promises to bring the original alive with added depth, magic and intrigue. Here’s what you can expect from the colourful cast of characters that star in it.
The yellow dress might be familiar, but prepare for a character overhaul. UN Ambassador Emma Watson’s Belle is a sassier, steelier update just as likely to plot a feminist revolution as she is to fall in love with her heinous captor. Unlike the original, it’s Belle who’s the talented inventor, not her father. Think less ‘Disney Princess’, more ‘Disney Entrepreneur’.
Housewife pin-up Dan Stevens certainly made the ladies swoon as the affable and earnest Matthew in Downton Abbey. So prepare for a shock as he takes on the complete opposite role of the Beast – a prince turned into a hideously hairy kidnapper with anger management issues. Mary would be far from amused.
And here he is as the Prince. Stevens has officially graduated from Downton wet blanket to moody Disney Prince in a matter of months.
Ewan McGregor travels a million miles from the seedy settings of T2 Trainspotting to play an exuberant servant-turned-candelabra with one hell of a moustache. Never thought you’d see Obi-Wan Kenobi perform “Be Our Guest”, did you?
Gandalf, Magneto… And now Cogsworth. Not an expected career route for any thespian, but it makes sense that one of the most loveable actors in Hollywood has been cast to play one of the most loveable animated Disney characters. We’re looking forward to seeing Sir Ian McKellen wearing heavy rouge and a little more padding around the middle.
Emma Thompson takes on the role of Mrs Potts – and judging from the tiny snippet of script we’ve heard in the trailer, it’s a big, warm cockney hug we can expect from the teapot head of the castle kitchen.
Audra McDonald’s Madame Garderobe is the glamorous servant-turned-wardrobe. It turns out she’s already been ruffling critical feathers; Elle magazine writer R. Eric Thomas recently wrote “Listen, if Audra McDonald was my closet I would have never come out.”
This character is sure to perplex a few die-hard Beauty and the Beast fans, as Cadenza didn’t actually appear in the 1991 animated original. Stanley Tucci will take on the brand new role of the grand piano, who is described as a “neurotic maestro”.
Gorgeous Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays flirtatious feather duster Plumette. Prepare to see her fraternizing in a cupboard with a candelabra in the very near future.
Gone are the ham-like biceps and dull wit of animated Gaston. Luke Evans’ easy-on-the-eye update is a moustache-twizzling super villain we’d like to see more of. Did you have an embarrassing childhood crush on the cartoon version? You will not be disappointed.
How evil does Josh Gad’s LeFou look? Gaston’s live action hype man appears to be even more sniveling and obnoxious than the cartoon version.
In the original, Belle’s father is an adorably portly inventor with a terrible fashion sense and an even worse sense of direction. Kevin Kline’s Maurice has certainly had a sartorial makeover, but he doesn’t appear to have designed himself a compass in the meantime.