Rocky start

BeautyAndThe Beast’s move to the big screen was no fairy tale.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By SU­SAN KING

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.

Don Hahn

(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.

Glen Keane


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.

Linda Woolver­ton


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.

An­gela Lans­bury

Mrs Potts)

When I first heard the song Beauty And The Beast, it was at the study of my house here in

(voice of

Paige O’Hara

(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


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