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An Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast is arguably the finest Disney production to come from the studio in its more than ninety year history.  Coming next year to the big screen is a new, live-action version of Beauty and the Beast (teased earlier this year here at borg.com), starring the Harry Potter series’ Emma Watson as Belle.  Academy Award-winning screenplay writer Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Chicago, the Twilight series) is directing the picture.

Despite press accounts to the contrary, don’t look for an adaptation of the classic fairy tale, but a close adaptation of the animated Disney film (as the original did not have the talking furniture or most of the other characters created for the 1991 film).  Just like the first teaser was quite pretty as set design goes, so is this fuller trailer.  More than 20 million viewers watched the first teaser, so make no mistake:  Emma Watson’s first major genre role since Harry Potter will make this a big box office winner for Disney.

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The previews remind us of the grand production of Phantom of the Opera back in 2004, a sleeper, but a visual spectacle, too.  Jacqueline Durran (Pride and Prejudice) adapted the animated costumes for the film, which look close but not quite as amazing as the 1991 animated versions.  Everything else looks like this could be a near scene-for-scene copy of the 1991 version except in the animated movie Belle had dark brown hair and a distinct, different hair style from other “Disney princess” characters that set her apart from the rest of the blonde fairy tale leads, something you’d think Disney would have kept the same at least for cross-marketing its toy tie-ins.

Who doesn’t love each new appearance of Kevin Kline?  He’s featured prominently in this new trailer.  Check it out:

Dan Stevens (Night at the Museum 2, Sense and Sensibility) co-stars as The Beast, and the rest of the cast is full of familiar genre favorites.  The Hobbit’s Luke Evans is the swaggering Gaston, Kevin Kline (Dave, Silverado) is Belle’s father Maurice, the Star Wars prequels’ Ewan McGregor is Lumiere the candelabrum (originally voiced by the late Jerry Orbach), Stanley Tucci is the harpsichord, Audra McDonald (Kidnapped) is the wardrobe, and anglophiles will be happy to see The Hobbit and X-Men’s Ian McKellen as Cogsworth the clock and Emma Thompson (Much Ado About Nothing) as Mrs. Potts, the teapot.

Beauty and the Beast is scheduled for release March 17, 2017.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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