Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline, and Josh Gad Join Emma Watson in Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'

Monday, 16 March 2015 10:36 Written by  iamrogue
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Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline, and Josh Gad Join Emma Watson in Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'

With Cinderella dominating the box office, Disney is confident as all hell about its next high profile live-action fairy tale remake.

The studio has announced a March 17, 2017 release date for Beauty and the Beast, right as the new musical adds some serious ammunition to its acting ensemble.

The cast of this Beauty and the Beast is already plenty fierce, with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens (yeah, everybody loves Matthew Crawley, but have you seen The Guest?) set to star as Belle and Beast, respectively, with erstwhile Bard the Bowman Luke Evans as exceptional expectorater Gaston.

Now, the supporting cast is filling out in A-list fashion, with Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline, and Josh Gad all joining the ensemble.

Thompson is set to play Mrs. Potts, the teapot voiced by Angela Lansbury in the 1991 animated classic.  Kline, meanwhile, is on board to play Maurice, Belle's father, an eccentric but sincere inventor.  Finally, Gad, who voiced Olaf in Disney's biggest animated hit of all time Frozen, is part of the cast as Gaston's sycophantic sidekick Lefou.

That's not all, either.  In announcing the release date today, Disney also dropped the newsbomb that Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards for the animated Beauty and the Beast, will score the new film.

Unlike Cinderella or Maleficent, this is a full-blown musical, one featuring new recordings of songs from the 1991 version, as well as new songs created by Menken and Tim Rice, the three-time Oscar-winner who also contributed to Aladdin and The Lion King.  So prepare to hear Watson and Stevens belt out a new "Tale as Old as Time."

Bill Condon, the director of Kinsey, Gods and Monsters, Twilight: Breaking Dawn, and the upcoming Mr. Holmes, is directing this new Beauty and the Beast.  The screenplay is written by Stephen Chbosky, the novelist-turned-filmmaker who previously worked with Watson on The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The announcement makes official what we already knew: Beauty and the Beast will involve lots and lots of CGI. The press release declares, “The beloved tale will be retold for the big screen with a modern live-action lens and the help of transformative CG magic,” so it seems we'll see Emma Thompson as a photo-real talking, singing teapot thanks to the modern miracle of digital effects.

The CGI-heavy approach has worked well for Disney so far. Alice in Wonderland kicked off this fad in 2010 and the Sleeping Beauty do-over Maleficent continued it, earning $757 million worldwide last summer. The odd little subgenre continues with the current Cinderalla remake directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Lily James and Cate Blanchett.  After that, there's Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book, which the studio recently delayed from November 2015 to April 15, 2016.

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