It appears that the new live action Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, directed by Bill Condon, has found its leading men for the film. Emma Watson is already set to play Belle in the film, the good natured and loving Disney princess who finds the good in the Beast.
Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Watson will be playing off of actor Dan Stevens, who will star in the film as the Beast. Most will know Stevens from his work on Downton Abbey, but over the last year began to make a name for himself in some smaller action thriller last year, including Liam Neeon’s A Walk Among the Tombstones, and the indie film The Guest. Stevens has showed to be a highly charismatic and versatile actor, and this could be his chance for a big break. This is the perfect role for Stevens to really show off his skills, and he’s more than a perfect choice for the character. He can bring the tough and dark side of the character to life, as well as the charismatic and loving, something he balance well.
But that’s not all. According to Variety, Luke Evans will be taking on the role of the shallow and cocky villain Gaston. Evans is best known for his role as the villainous Owen Shaw in Fast & Furious 6, Bard the Bowman in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, and as Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, in last year’s Dracula Untold. The pompous nature of Gaston is perfect for Evans, who has proven to be one of the most charismatic character actors in genre films over the last few years. Much like Stevens, Evans is on the brink of breaking out, and this may be his chance.
As someone who has genuinely disinterested in Disney’s constant live action re-imaginings as of late, I’d be lying if I said that this film hasn’t completely gotten my attention now. While the Twilight films are certainly not my cup of tea, Condon was arguably the best director the series had, and he did a magnificent with Dream Girls. With him at the helm, and the cast he has assembled, this film suddenly has me very interested. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all comes together, and the cast really has me excited. With the spectacularly good word of mouth coming out of Cinderella, and the new adaptation of The Jungle Book shaping up nicely as well, it appears Disney could honestly surprise me with their new adaptations of their animated classics, even if I don’t necessarily see the need for them.