Casting is in full swing for Disney’s upcoming Beauty and the Beast adaptation, with Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle – no relation) today becoming the latest addition to the all-star cast that’s led by Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans. The actress, who scored Oscar buzz for her role in last year’s Beyond the Lights, will take on the supporting part of Plumette the feather duster.
Mbatha-Raw joins a cast that already boasts Watson as Belle, Stevens as the Beast, Evans as Gaston, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth the clock, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts the teapot, Josh Gad as LeFou, Kevin Kline as Maurice and Audra MacDonald as Garderobe. Interestingly, her character has undergone a name change in this take – previous adaptations have featured flirty feather dusters with the names Babette and Fifi.
Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, The Fifth Estate) will direct the film, which was written by Evan Spiliotopoulos (Hercules) and rewritten by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower).
Beauty and the Beast is just one of many redos of classic Disney tales in the works. The blockbuster success of March’s Cinderella sparked new interest over at the studio, and so it has lots of titles coming down the pipeline, including the Tim Burton-directed Dumbo, a new Mulan, Ron Howard’s The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon, Pinocchio and Winnie the Pooh.
Disney is hoping to kick Beauty and the Beast into production later this year in order to meet a release date of March 17th, 2017.