7 Things We Learned At The Beauty And The Beast Premiere

Ever since Disney announced the live-action remake of ultimate classic animation film Beauty and the Beast, we’ve been pretty excited – even more so, when Emma Watson was confirmed to play the lead, Belle. Now the release is only a few weeks away, and last night we headed down to London’s Spencer House, a gorgeous palace decorated in true Disney style, for the red-carpet event. Here are five things we learned…

1. You’ll get a new perspective on the tale as old as time…

When we asked director Bill Condon what he wanted to change from the animated original, he explained that his main focus was to explore unanswered questions. “How did Belle and Maurice end up in a town, where they don’t belong, where nobody likes them, and where they don’t fit in? Or the Beast: we know he was worthy of being cursed, but what made him that way as a young man? I don’t think of them as changes as much, but as additions and an exploration of what was already there,” he shared.

2. Emma Watson has got the princess look nailed

Dressed in a cold-shoulder dress with a long trail, Emma Watson was a vision in blue, looking like a true Disney heroine with a modern and empowered edge – just like Belle, the revolutionary female character she portrays.

3. The fashion will be spectacular 

Audra McDonald, who plays Madame de Garderobe in the remake, shared that she was already overwhelmed by the film’s emotion: “But when I saw the set and the costume come together, and all the detail that went in to it, I was blown away.” The film was costumed by Jacqueline Durran, whose portfolio includes Atonement and Anna Karenina, so our expectations are pretty high…

4. You’ll fall in love with the Disney music (again and again)

Legendary composer and eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken, who also composed the legendary score of the original Beauty and the Beast, returned to create the music for the live-action remake. So what can we expect that’s different? “We wanted to add texture, and back story, and a sense of France in the 18th century, where the film is set,” he told us. Bill Condon also revealed that creating a new version of Be Our Guest was his biggest challenge, saying: “We had to live up to the animated film number but also make sure it feels spectacular and real. It might have been the most elaborate music number we ever made and took us months to prep, months to shoot and 18 months to complete, so really… it’s kind of big.”

5. This film is fun – for the cast, too

The whole cast, which includes Sir Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci, had loads of fun on the red carpet and it was easy to tell everyone had a great time making the film. The funniest moment on set? Bill Condon told us it was “Josh Gad’s last day (he plays Le Fou), and actually everyone thought he’d already wrapped and wasn’t on set. We filmed the scene when the Beast storms into the dining room and sees that a plate is set up for Belle. Suddenly Josh popped up behind him and to watch the Beast get all scared… that was pretty funny.”

6. The CGI characters were inspired by…

“The design is very different from the animated film,” explained Bill Condon. “It’s less fairytale, but France in the 1740s. To figure out how to make Lumiere and Cogsworth we looked at the real candlesticks and clocks from back then and noticed we could actually see where there could be a mouth, a nose or a moustache in there.”

7. How Emma Watson helped make a modern Belle…

Bill Condon gushed about working with Emma Watson and revealed that she was always the first choice for the role: “It was like having a partner and not just a leading lady. Belle as you know was a revolutionary Disney heroine, who liked books more than boys. But it’s 25 years [since the original], so we had to figure out what this kind of woman looks like now – to have someone standing next to me who is living that life made me feel very secure that we could make the film a worthy successor to the animated version.”

Beauty and the Beast is in UK cinemas from 17 March 2017.