In this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, we reveal an exclusive first look at Disney’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, out March 2017, and the cover story’s writer, Clark Collis, sat down with EW: The Show host Ricky Camilleri to talk moving furniture and a on-set secrets from the tale as old as time.
Although the new images might paint a pretty picture of how things went down on set, it was no easy feat to bring the animated classic to life. Most of the principal characters are actors (including Emma Watson as Belle, Luke Evans as Gaston, and Kevin Kline as Maurice) that the audience will see on-screen, but for Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey), who portrays the Beast, only his eyes make the cut.
“The rest of him is going to be a CGI creation,” Collis explains. “He had to have his face covered in UV paint — a special new technology that I can’t possibly describe because I don’t know how it works. Then he was plopped in front of 30 little cameras and had to perform the facial part.”
Before he started work on the movie, Stevens spoke with fellow actors who had previous experience with CGI, namely Andy Serkis — who portrays Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit movies — and Mark Ruffalo, the Hulk in the Avengers franchise. “When [Stevens] told Mark Ruffalo what he was doing, Mark Ruffalo replied, ‘That’s impossible,’” Collis says.
Stevens wasn’t the only one experiencing on-set challenges: Director Bill Condon (Chicago, Dreamgirls) spent plenty of time — and money — on “Be Our Guest,” where Lumière the candelabra sings and dances along with all the other animated household characters.
“[Condon] is doing it with photo-realistic CG representations of the household,” Collis explains, adding that it took six months to prep the scene, a further three to shoot, and that they’re still probably tinkering with special effects six months on. “He said that one scene cost more than all of his previous films.”
Watch this full episode of EW: The Show, available now, on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices.