However you feel about Disney plumbing its past fairy tales for big screen redos, there’s no denying that the studio’s casting choices for Bill Condon’s upcoming Beauty and the Beast have been spot-on. With Emma Watson in the role of Belle, and Dan Stevens and Luke Evans vying for her affections as the Beast and Gaston (respectively), the film looks increasingly like a must-see for acting aficionados. Now, the production has attracted another A-lister, with news that X-Men‘s Ian McKellen is taking on the role of Cogsworth.
In the original Disney flick, Cogsworth was the loyal butler to the Prince who was magically transformed into a clock by the same spell that turned his master into a savage beast.
McKellen joins a supporting cast that also includes Josh Gad as Gaston’s right hand man LeFou, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Kevin Kline as Maurice, and Audra MacDonald as Garderobe. He was most recently seen in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, reprising the role of Gandalf, and he also has the buzzy Mr. Holmes (also with Condon) in the can.
Condon (The Fifth Estate, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) will be working from a script by Evan Spiliotopoulos (Hercules, The Huntsman), which was rewritten by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower).
Disney struck box office gold and won critical adoration for its most recent take on Cinderella, and it has multiple redos of classic animated pics coming down the pipeline, including a Tim Burton-directed Dumbo, a new Mulan, Ron Howard’s The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon, Pinocchio and Winnie the Pooh. Of course, the more traditional and well-known Beauty and the Beast is a priority for the studio, seeing as the original grossed $375 million worldwide and won an Oscar nomination for Best Picture (becoming one of the few animated films to do so).
Beauty and the Beast is set to open on March 17th, 2017.