Dan Stevens to Play the Beast in Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'
Following yesterday's pitch perfect announcement that Luke Evans had signed up to play Gaston in Disney's live-action version of their groundbreaking animated fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast," The Hollywood Reporter has made word that Dan Stevens, formerly of "Downton Abbey" and "The Guest" (one of our very favorite films from last year) has signed on to play the titular Beast. Stevens confirmed this news via the greatest tweet ever.
- Dan Stevens (@thatdanstevens) March 5, 2015
Stevens will play opposite Emma Watson, who will essay Belle in the Bill Condon-directed feature (set to begin filming sometime later this year), and perfectly embodies the kind of charm and ferocity required of the character. Recently we spoke to Glen Keane, the Disney animator responsible for bringing The Beast to life, and he told us who he thought should play the character in the live action remake: Tom Hardy. A very good choice but obviously Mr. Hardy's dance card is awfully full if he's bailing out of big projects like DC's "Suicide Squad."
The original animated film, of course, was the first animated feature to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (it's only happened twice since then, with "Up" and "Toy Story 3" and both times after the more lax 10-nominations parameters were set in place). It spawned several direct-to-video follow ups and an insanely popular Broadway show that has been spun off in a number of different countries and languages. This big screen transition is said to retain the musical element. Expect the next bit of casting news to be very famous people lending their voices to the enchanted objects in the Beast's castle lair...