DREAM CASTING ~ BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Recently, it was announced that they are FINALLY making a live-action version of the Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast. BATB, obviously, is important to me. It’s my absolute favorite fairytale and my favorite Disney film. I've read the original version and as many retellings of it as I possibly can. It inspired my wedding theme. I have a weakness for anything and everything Beauty and the Beast related.

So, when I heard a rumor years ago that they were going to make a live action version, I kept my fingers crossed. After seeing what disney could do with Maleficent, I was extremely impressed. Despite Maleficent being from the villain's point of view, I still really appreciated what they were able to do regarding telling a fairytale in a live action setting without losing any of the fantasy that makes it what it is.

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Emma Watson has been cast to play Belle. I guess I had always been expecting that because, along with the rumor of the live action version, her name was always right there with it. And, a long time ago, I wasn’t entirely sure who I thought should be Belle. But, after it was officially announced, I seriously couldn’t have picked anyone better to the character justice. Especially after the atrocity that was Kristen Stewart's attempt at playing Snow White - although I approve of Lily Collins portrayal of the same princess, even though both films weren't made by Disney.

I’ve always thought, and have found that others tend to agree, that if I were to be working in the entertainment industry, I would make either a great continuity supervisor or a casting director. I always notice in films and television shows when things don’t stay consistent between scenes or even within the same scene. I also genuinely care about how casting can affect a story. For example, who thought it was a good idea for Johnny Knoxville to voice Leonardo in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie!?

Since the Beauty and the Beast film has been announced, and Emma Watson has been confirmed as Belle, rumors are running wild about how the rest of characters will be cast. I've never really done a dream casting before, so this took me awhile to build a list that I thought was good. And although I don’t know the direction they are planning on taking the story for the film - however, given how the current live action Cinderella is, they’ll probably stick close to the Disney animated version - below is who I would cast in the live action version of my all time favorite fairytale...

Emma Watson as BELLE


[[[ Actual Casting - Emma Watson ]]]
Granted, she’s already cast. However, I really can’t think of any other current actress that I believe would do the role of Belle justice the way that Emma will. We’ve already seen how casting a bad Snow White, and a good one works out. Thankfully, whoever is in charge of selecting the actors for the character portrayal recognized that Emma will be able to carry everything that Belle herself represent: bookwork, intelligent, different, longing, compassionate, caring, curious, strong. Belle is such a vastly different kind of princess, in both the original fairytale and in Disney’s, compared to other heroines of the fairytale world. Perhaps Emma’s previous role as Hermione in the Harry Potter series helped cement this idea.

Armie Hammer as BEAST


[[[ Actual Casting - Dan Stevens ]]]
He’s already played the prince to Lily Collins' Snow White in the film "Mirror Mirror." i don’t know if the actor himself would be willing to take on another prince role in the fairytale world. However, the Beast is such a complicated character and I really feel that Armie could pull it off. The Prince not only has to be physically commanding when he’s the Beast, but he has to be gentle when he’s human. He also has to be attractive, not only because that’s how he’s depicted but also because in the Disney version, being vain is what got the prince in trouble in the first place. The Beast has to be commanding in voice too...but if you notice, when he starts developing feelings for Belle, his voice softens. In the Disney film, I’ve always been amazed at the range from scary to gentle that the original actor, Robbie Benson, took with the Beasts voice. I’ve especially loved just how soft his voice is inside this huge creature. In the Broadway musical of BATB, they give the Beast a chance to be comedic - which I thoroughly enjoyed. Humor coming from the character of the Beast added another dimension to his story. All of these traits are what, I believe, Armie aHmmer could pull off: mysterious, complicated, funny, frightening, scared, concerned, loving.

Michael Fassbender as GASTON


[[[ Actual Casting - Luke Evens ]]]
I love his portrayal as Magneto in the X-Men prequel films. He plays that misunderstood character so well. However! I do not believe Gaston is misunderstood at all. In fact, he’s a huge jerk and there really isn’t a redeemable quality about him. The reason I picked Michael for Gaston is because I feel that I could pull off the role (also see:  his performance as Edwin in "Twelve Years A Slave”). He's able to go from playing someone you feel compassion for - Magneto - to playing someone you hate - Edwin. The way I described Gaston to my husband was that he needed to be someone who was ridiculously good looking but the second he opened his mouth, you wanted to punch his teeth out. I feel like, despite everything that Gaston is in the Disney film, Michael just might be able to give a sliver of humanity to Gaston. ;P I would love to see Michael take on such a simple, straight forward character: cocky, narcissistic, vengeful, cruel, obsessive, ignorant.


Josh Gad as LEFOU



[[[ Actual Casting - Josh Gad...I can't believe this one came true! ]]]
Although he’s probably currently most known as the voice of Olaf from Frozen, Josh is a pretty great comedian with physical humor all his own (see: his acting in the short-lived television series 1600 Penn). LeFou is Gaston’s sidekick and used almost entirely as comic relief in the Disney film. I believe Josh could add enough to the character to make you feel sympathetic for him and the situations he finds himself in, instead of just annoyed. The dynamic between the actors in their respective roles would also be quite enjoyable to watch, as i believe Michael and Josh could get the chemistry down between Gaston and LeFou perfectly. Josh would easily be able to handle the role of LeFou: silly, foolish, lackey, obsessive, unlucky, eager to please.

Jim Broadbent as MAURICE


[[[ Actual Casting - Kevin Kline ]]]
I don’t know if it’s his portrayal of Professor Slughorn in the Harry Potter series, but something about Jim just screams Maurice (Belle's father) to me. He’s essentially what drove the story of Beauty and the Beast...Belle loving her father so much that she’s willing to trade her life for his so he doesn’t have to remain a captive of the Beast. He’s the lone inventor of the town and quite obviously where Belle got her own uniqueness. Although in the Broadway music of BATB, his silliness is toned down a bit - in the Disney film, he’s quite entertaining (however, his character in the original fairytale isn’t even remotely close to the Disney portrayal). There’s a sweetness to Maurice as Belle's father that fills in for her where a mother would be. Jim would be able to represent Belle's father as such: sweet, crazy, unaware, caring, inventive, childish.

Julie Walters as MRS. POTTS


[[[ Actual Casting - Emma Thompson ]]]
I totally didn’t intend to cast so many Harry Potter stars (she played Molly Weasley). However, when my husband and I were discussing the possibility of Emma Thompson actually being cast in this role, and how it didn’t feel right, he brought up Julie - and he was so right! In this instance, her character in the previous film series is totally the reason behind her playing Mrs. Potts. She would be able to instantly make this character feel like that homey, loving, and slightly bossy grandma. Both the character of Mrs. Potts and Julie remind me of how my own Grammy was! ;P Being a teapot, she has to be perfectly English in a sassy and sophisticated way. Knowing how Molly the character and Julie the person are...Mrs. Potts would be made to perfection: wise, demanding, caring, gentle, refined, comforting, affectionate.

Jude Law as LUMIERE


[[[ Actual Casting - Ewan McGregor ]]]
I had a really hard time deciding on what actor I felt could pull off the role of Lumiere. He is an important role in the film because he, along with Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts, help to fill in the story in the way that Belle and the Beast can’t. Lumiere is the light heartedness to Cogsworth sternness. It had to be someone who could be a playboy too, because, it’s very evident in the animated film that Lumiere likes the ladies (Mrs. Potts even references this in the “Human Again" song). Jude came to mind when I was trying to think of an actor who could play the sassy charmer. I believe that Jude is able to play comedic roles (see his humor as Watson in the current “Sherlock Holmes” movie series), as well as serious roles. Lumiere was a hard one to pin down for me, but I feel like Jude wouldn’t have a problem with it. Lumiere is an interesting character: vocal, brassy, lover, concerned, insightful.

Nathan Lane as COGSWORTH


[[[ Actual Casting - Ian McKellen ]]]
I actually thought about his role as Pepper in "Modern Family", but his work as Timon in The Lion King also helped me come to the conclusion that Nathan would be able to pull off the role of Cogsworth. Cogsworth is the head of the household and the one who keeps things nice and orderly. He is the definition of a Type A personality and, because of that, he’s funny even though he doesn’t mean to be. I think Nathan would be able to provide Cogsworth with the underlying humor that the character carries, as well as getting his strict, no fooling around, personality across easily. And Jude and Nathan’s interaction as Lumiere and Cogsworth would also be fantastic. Nathan would be awesome as Cogsworth: stern, strait laced, unimpressed, serious, systematic, bossy.


Other Casting Choices



[[[ Actual Casting - Nathan Mack as Chip, Audra McDonald will play Madame Garderobe, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw will play Plumette
Also Cast - Stanley Tucci as Mastro Cadenza, and Adrian Schiller as Monsieur D'Arque ]]] 
A few characters I didn’t cast include Chip the teacup - Madame De La Grande Bouche the wardrobe (renamed Madame Garderobe in the new film) - Fifi the feather duster (renamed Plumette in the new film) - Monsieur D'Arque the asylum keeper.

I didn’t cast Chip because, depending on how long production takes or when they’ll start filming, child actors can change very quickly. I didn’t cast Madame Bouche because, despite the role in the animated version being minor (but funny) and her having a bigger (and funnier) role in the broadway musical, I'm not sure who I could picture as playing her. It would have to be someone who can play an over the top, larger than life, big hearted lady. I didn't cast Fifi because, although she is seen as Lumiere's girlfriend in the animation, she doesn’t say much and is just kind of in the background...so I'll be interested in seeing if they expand upon her purpose in the live action film. Finally, I didn’t mention or cast Monsieur D'Arque because the person I'd cast - Tim Curry - doesn't do much acting anymore due to having a stroke. Other than him, I haven't any clue who I would pick for that scary role! They’ve added a “new" character, Mastro Cadenza to the film. He’s going to be a grande piano. However, I find him oddly similar to Forte (the enormous pipe organ), the organ from the Beauty and the Beast sequel, The Enchanted Christmas.

So, do you agree or disagree with who I picked? If you disagreed, who would you rather see in the role? Was there any character I didn’t mention that you feel needs to be involved and is imperative to the film's story? I'm anxiously awaiting to hear who all actually winds up playing the above roles. I can’t express enough how much this fairytale means to me. As accepting as I feel I am to other people’s interpretations (fairytale retellings is my favorite genre of book after all)...I can’t say I won't be a little judgy if someone that I feel is sub-par for the part winds up being casted. And for the love of all things...please do NOT let Channing Tatum anywhere near this movie!

Comments

  1. I think we found your career path...

    Credits

    Casting Director - Erika Y. Meyer

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    Replies
    1. haha i wish! :) thanks darling. <3

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