Emma Watson’s Belle has found her Beast. Just hours after Dracula Untold star Luke Evans came aboard Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as the villainous Gaston, Downton Abbey actor Dan Stevens has been revealed to be in negotiations for the title role of the transformed prince.
The three Brits make for a thrillingly talented triumvirate in this new take, which is to be directed by Bill Condon (The Fifth Estate, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), with David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman producing.
Stevens’ star has been rapidly rising since his Dowton Abbey days. He recently powered Adam Wingard’s neon-soaked action thriller The Guest and also had supporting roles in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and A Walk Among the Tombstones. Beauty, though, is by far his most high-profile gig to date.
Whether this retelling is a musical or not is still unclear, though Watson seemed to imply it will feature musical numbers in a Facebook post announcing her casting:
“It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There.’ … Time to start some singing lessons.”
This is just the latest project in the works from Disney that aims to update animated hits for modern audiences. My glowing review of the studio’s latest venture in that respect, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, is under lock and key until next week, but I can tell you it’s truly incredible and one of Disney’s most magical films in years. With that in mind, fairy tale aficionados have reason to expect greatness from all these upcoming runs at beloved classics. And now that Watson, Evans and Stevens have entered the fray, Beauty and the Beast just can’t come fast enough.