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Beauty and the Beast remake to feature unused lyrics from original film

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Laurie Sparham

EW can exclusively reveal that Disney’s live-action, Bill Condon-directed Beauty and the Beast remake (out March 17) will feature lyrics originally written for the animated 1991 version that went unused. The lyrics were penned by the late Howard Ashman, who wrote the songs for the film with composer Alan Menken, and will feature in the song “Gaston.”

“In ‘Gaston,’ we had a treasure trove of lyrics that Howard had written that we did not put in the movie,” Menken tells EW. “In many cases they were a little bit risqué — not risqué sexually, but risqué in terms of sensibility. We all felt ready to have these lyrics. When Bill found out about those lyrics, he said, ‘Oh my god, can we please look at that, because it would be a wonderful way to add an extra freshness to the movie.’ So, yes, you’re going to hear some unheard Howard Ashman lyrics.”

“The guys at Disney reviewed all the transcripts and recordings and they’ve been able to go back through those hours and hours of recorded footage and listen to lyrics that were written and never used, which are actually gems,” Luke Evans, who plays Gaston in the live-action version and performs the character’s self-titled song, says. “So, for the [audience members] who know the songs immensely well, which I think is most people, you will hear a few new lines, which are really, really special.” 

Ashman’s other credits included writing both the book and the lyrics for the musical Little Shop of Horrors, another collaboration with Menken. The pair also wrote the music for Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Ashman died as the result of AIDS-related complications before the release of Beauty and the Beast in 1991.

Condon explains that another unused Ashman lyric will feature elsewhere in the film. “It’s a surprise at the end,” the filmmaker says. “I don’t want to give that away, but it’s a really gorgeous lyric that we found.” 

To read more on Beauty and the Beast, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now, or buy it here – and subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

For more on this week’s cover story, watch EW The Show, available now here, on the new PEOPLE/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the free app on your Smart TV, mobile and web devices. 

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