When it was announced that beloved 90s Disney animated classic Beauty and the Beast was to be remade as a live-action film starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, more than a few eyebrows were raised.
Could it live up to the hype and success of the original - a movie that not only grossed $425 million set against a $25 million budget but which also won Oscars for Best Original Song and Best Score?
Thankfully it did, and then some. Received with rave reviews worldwide, the film has become one of the most successful movies of all time, grossing $1.2 billion and counting.
But the success certainly didn’t come easy, as we reveal what it took to create this magical movie:
Dan Stevens had to film his role twice
For Dan Stevens’ all-important role as the Beast, he had to film his entire role twice: the first take focusing on his facial expressions and the second concentrating purely on his physical movement.
However only Dan’s eyes actually made the final cut, as all of his other movements were transformed using CGI.
The film’s story writer Clark Collis told Entertainment Weekly about the complications involved in filming the Beast.
“He had to have his face covered in UV paint — a special new technology that I can’t possibly describe because I don’t know how it works. Then he was plopped in front of 30 little cameras and had to perform the facial part,” Clark said.
Stevens spoke about the intensity of his role to The Telegraph:
“Essentially, you go from these incredibly lavish, amazing, tangible practical sets on these stages at Shepperton – and everything’s looking gorgeous and there’s me looking like a crash-test hippo on stilts,” says Stevens. “And you’ve got to do all that again, but you’re now essentially in Tron. I’m sat wearing a black T-shirt in a sort of UV booth with 27 cameras. The whole thing felt very, very magical in a way. It just felt like pure magic, how they fused these two experiences together.”
Be Our Guest took six months of preparation
One of the original film’s most cherished scenes is when the kitchen comes alive and entertains Belle to the tune of Be Our Guest. Recreating this intricate scene using CGI took an incredible six months to prepare, and director Bill Condon noted it is his most expensive scene to date and even cost more than the average movie.
“It’s a four-minute number that cost more than Mr Holmes’ entire budget,” said Condon, referring to the 2015 film he also directed.
Luke Evans employed method acting for Gaston
Luke Evans plays the legendary narcissist that is Gaston, the muscly town “hero” that wants to take Belle as his bride. To truly embody Gaston’s spirit, Luke said he tried a bit of method acting, as he told Vanity Fair.
“I got myself a very big mirror and told myself how beautiful I am every day! And I got myself a lot of eggs and swallowed them every day, like he does.
“When you play a villain, you just have to go with it. You can’t feel self-conscious, and you can’t feel like an idiot. I had to believe I was him. I owe it to the original animation to deliver this charming, ridiculous narcissist, and that’s what I did. It’s been an absolute joy and a gift to play him. I’ve loved every second of it.”
Belle’s ball gown took more than 12,000 hours to make
Who can forget Belle’s gorgeous golden gown in the original film? For the new version in order to avoid disappointing fans – they went absolutely all out. Emma Watson (Belle’s) ball gown was made of satin organza, contained an incredible 2,160 Swarovski crystals and took over 12,000 worth of hours to make. The result? A truly jaw-dropping dress!
It was created with important messages in mind
Beauty and the Beast is far from just being a cutesy Disney movie: it also contains multiple important movies, and the reboot was made and acted by the new stars with this very much in mind.
Josh Gad, who plays Gaston’s trusty sidekick LeFou, explained to Vanity Fair that the characters in Beauty and the Beast are more relevant than ever before:
“The Beast is a character that people are afraid of because he appears different. When you see Gaston lead people into a frenzy based out of fear—that’s something that resonates more than ever. I hope politicians can learn the message from Beauty and the Beast, and not to judge and discriminate people for being different by having different ethnic backgrounds or sexual orientation,” said Josh.
While Emma Watson said she hopes Belle will help people to be true to themselves:
“I hope girls and anyone who watches the film understands that when you feel odd or different, it’s OK,” she said. “Belle didn’t fit in, and she didn’t let people judge her—and that made her strong and important,” said Emma.
Beauty and the Beast is available to buy and rent on the BT TV Store