BeautyAndThe Beast’s move to the big screen was no fairy tale.
BEAUTY And The Beast, which opened in theatres on Nov 23, 1991, is considered one of Walt Disney Studio’s greatest animated films.
Adapted from the classic fairy tale by Linda Woolverton, directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, and produced by Don Hahn, the magical fantasy became the first animated film to be nominated for a best picture Oscar.
Besides getting stellar vocal performances from Paige O’Hara as Belle, Robby Benson as the Beast, Angela Lansbury as Mrs Potts and Jerry Orbach as Lumiere, the film also featured a Broadway musical sensibility thanks to the memorable score by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. The pair won an Oscar for the title tune and Menken won another for original score.
Beauty And The Beast, which earned US$403mil internationally, spawned two made-for-DVD sequels, a TV spinoff and a longrunning Broadway musical.
Last week it made its Blu-ray debut in a two-disc set with several new documentaries.
Despite its tremendous success, bringing Beauty And The Beast to the screen was a rocky undertaking. Originally, English director Richard Purdum was hired to make a darker, non-musical version.
But after seeing the initial story reels in 1989, Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg scrapped the footage and brought the production team from London to Los Angeles.
Eventually Purdum resigned and first-time feature directors Wise and Trousdale were brought in.
The film was also a race against the clock for Ashman, who was dying from AIDS. He was able to keep his illness a secret for several months, eventually succumbing at the age of 40 before the film opened.
Several of those involved with the movie recently talked about their memories of making it.
(producer) We ate up a lot of time and money at the beginning, and once we pulled it back to LA and Kirk and Gary started working on it, it went incredibly fast.
It was a time where we didn’t spend a lot of money because there was no guaranteed box office. We were just hoping, if we were really lucky, to live up to Little Mermaid.
The biggest issue to me was how the audience was going to really believe that Belle falls in love with the Beast. We didn’t have that moment until we were about six months from being done.
Howard Ashman wrote a song, Something There. It was this moment when the Beast actually
(animator of the
One of the initial problems animators of encountered was in creating a believable scene in which Belle falls for the Beast. does something very unselfish and is sensitive to what Belle loves, which is reading. He gives her a library as a gift.
As soon as that happened, suddenly Belle could really fall for this guy and the whole movie turned ... You’d never know it from watching the film, but if you took that moment out, the film wouldn’t work.
I was hired to write a draft (for) a non-musical. In the middle of our process, Little Mermaid premiered and that changed everything – the concept of the Broadway musical brought to animation by
(screen- Howard and Alan. Howard and I just clicked.
At the time, Howard was sick and he didn’t tell anyone. I think the reason he didn’t write the book himself was because he was sick.
In a hotel room in Fishkill, New York, Howard and I pretty much conjured up this version of Beauty And The Beast. Howard and I never clashed. I was his student. He taught me everything I know about musicals.
When I first heard the song Beauty And The Beast, it was at the study of my house here in
(voice of Belle) Robby Benson (voice of Beast) and I recorded together, which was great. They would shoot us and the animators would use those videos (to create the character). That is why it was so realistic.
Before I was cast, some of the drawings of Belle were too perfect. She was just too beautiful, too perfect and untouchable. Then they started to change their minds. They said, ‘ OK. We are making her an intellectual now. She’s a little odd. Let’s change it up a little bit and make her more attainable and more identifiable to little girls.’
You would be amazed at the amount of mail I’ve gotten over the years about her being a bookworm, but also having brown hair and brown eyes. Little girls had never seen a Disney princess with brown eyes. — Los Angeles Times/ McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Something there: AndTheBeast