It wasn’t too long ago that we learned Emma Watson had been cast as Belle in Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. With Luke Evans in talks for the role of Gaston, today comes news that The Guest star Dan Stevens is in negotiations to play The Beast.
THR was the first to break the story. This would be the biggest role yet for Stevens, who first caught the attention of audiences in Downton Abbey before appearing in last year’s The Guest. He’s also had a few supporting roles, including appearances in A Walk Among the Tombstones and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, but landing this part should elevate him to another level completely.
Beauty and the Beast marks yet another animated classic that Disney is reimagining in a live action format, a movement that began last year with Maleficent, which grossed more than $758 million worldwide. Cinderella is up next, from director Kenneth Branagh, and Jon Favreau is working on a new version of The Jungle Book.
It’s unknown if the new Beauty and the Beast will be a musical, but it seems likely. The songs from the original animated film are iconic, and there’s also this quote from Watson’s Facebook, shortly after her casting was announced:
“I’m finally able to tell you… that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast! It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There’. My six year old self is on the ceiling – heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it.”
Bill Condon will direct Beauty and the Beast, and the film is expected to hit theaters in late 2016 or early 2017.