Beauty and the Beast may be celebrating its 25th anniversary, but the tale as old as time is poised to enchant viewers in a whole new way.
The highly anticipated live-action retelling of Disney’s beloved animated classic arrives in theaters next March, starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast alongside a star-studded ensemble cast.
Fans have been captivated by the teasers Disney has released so far, and legendary Beauty and the Beast composer Alan Menken — who is contributing music to the new movie — seems equally charmed.
“She’s really good! I can’t picture anyone else, honestly. She’s Belle for me now entirely,” Menken told EW when asked about Watson as the film’s spirited, book-loving heroine.
His excitement continued with the rest of the cast, including Stevens (“of course, he spends a lot of the movie with a lot of fur covering him but he’s great”), Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen as Lumière and Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Luke Evans as Gaston (“fantastic — what a revelation”), Josh Gad as LeFou, Audra McDonald as Garderobe, and Kevin Kline as Belle’s father, Maruice. “The cast is just a dream cast, it’s ridiculous,” he added.
This marks the third time Menken has done Beauty work — the original film, the Broadway adaptation, and now the new film — but this time around, he was happy to take cues from director Bill Condon.
“It’s exciting. For me because I’m writing the new songs and scoring the new movie, it’s a lot of work,” he laughed. “It’s interesting and it’s challenging to come back to the same source material three times. And in this case I’m really taking my lead — I am bearer of the flame to a degree, but I want to be as good a team member with Bill Condon as I can be. So I’m really taking my lead from him as a director, and he’s doing a great job.”
The live-action Beauty and the Beast opens in theaters on March 17, 2017, and the original animated version is getting a special anniversary rerelease this month. For more from Menken and other Disney greats on Beauty and the Beast, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday, or buy it here — and subscribe now for exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.