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The cast of the live-action version of "Beauty and the Beast" is shaping up nicely, with Ian McKellan reportedly joining the ensemble.

Variety reports that the veteran actor will be playing Cogsworth, a butler-turned-clock in the Beast's enchanted castle. He joins the previously-announced Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, and Emma Thompson.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw has also recently joined the cast, according to Variety. She'll play feather duster Plumette (also referred to as Babette and Fifi in other versions of the story), a former maid in the castle.

"Beauty and the Beast" is directed by Bill Condon, from a script by Evan Spiliotopoulos and rewritten by Stephen Chbosky ("The Perks of Being a Wallflower"). The flick is expected to begin production sometime this year, with a planned release date of March 17, 2017.

[via: Variety]

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