The Enchanted World of BEAUTY and the BEAST
DAN STEVENS and EMMA WATSON star in “a tale as old as time”
There’s something about Beauty and the Beast and its story of true love and courage that’s made it beloved for generations, especially since Disney brought the 1700s French fairy tale to the big screen as a sweeping animated movie musical in 1991. This week, Emma Watson and Dan Stevens star—as the Beauty and the Beast—in a brand-new Disney version combining live actors, real settings and eye-popping computer animation.
The anticipation has been mounting since the project was first announced: More advance tickets for this Beauty and the Beast have been sold than for any other family film in history, according to online ticket vendor Fandango. As fans count down the days to March 17, they’ve been streaming advance soundtrack tunes, such as Ariana Grande and John Legend’s new version of the movie’s theme song. (See “New Music in the Air,” page 12.)
The 1991 Beauty and the Beast was the first animated feature to receive an Academy Award nomination for best picture. (It actually won two Oscars, for original song and original score.) That set the bar high for the new version, which was carefully reimagined to honor and expand on its predecessor.
The tale of Beauty and the
Beast endures because it’s universally appealing, says the new film’s Oscar-winning director, Bill Condon, 61, whose résumé includes Dreamgirls, Gods and Monsters and two movies in the Twilight franchise. “The idea of looking beyond the surface of things and finding the beauty underneath is one of the film’s legacies,” he says.
For Stevens, 34, who was Downton Abbey’s Matthew Crawley, the process of retelling a well-known, centuriesold tale—and embodying the Beast—was magical.
“It’s an alchemical process,” he says. “The original was a landmark film that contains a lot of the big questions about our identities, who we are, what we’re afraid of and what parts of our nature we should act on. It covers big themes and it’s able to