As Emma Watson's live action update of Disney's much-loved 'tale as old as time' prepares to waltz into cinemas, we've trawled the archives to bring you some unexpected pieces of behind-the-scenes trivia from both the original animation and the 2017 re-boot.
As everyone's favourite talking candlestick would put it, 'Be our guest'...
1. Ryan Gosling could have starred as the Beast
Our favourite leading man turned down the part to appear in La La Land opposite Emma Stone, which worked out rather well for him. Emma Watson, meanwhile, ditched La La Land to appear in Beauty and the Beast…
2. Robert Pattinson was also reported to be in the running…
Rumours that the Twilight star would join Beauty and the Beast emerged once it was revealed that Bill Condon would be behind the camera (he directed Breaking Dawn: Parts I and II).
3. … While Kristen Stewart was one of the first actresses considered to play Belle
The angst would have been off the scale.
4. Emma Roberts and Lily Collins were also in the running for Belle…
Along with Amanda Seyfried and Emmy Rossum.
5. Singer-songwriter Jamie T was asked to audition
In one of the strangest almost-castings of all time, the man best known for indie singalongs like 'Sheila' and 'Sticks and Stones' was approached by Disney to audition for the Beast. ‘I’ve been asked to do musicals and I got asked to audition for Beauty and the Beast. They said Emma Watson’s playing the Beauty and we want you to audition for the Beast,’ he told Q. ‘Then I called back and asked, “How much?”’
Dan Stevens and Emma Watson at the Beauty and the Beast premiere
6. Emma Watson was originally set to star in a different Beauty and the Beast film that had nothing to do with Disney
Guillermo del Toro (of Pan’s Labyrinth fame) was initially on board as director, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts before the project fell through altogether.
7. Three members of the new Beauty and the Beast cast have already lent their voices to Disney animations
Josh Gad (Le Fou) voiced Olaf the snowman in Frozen, Kevin Kline (Maurice) voiced Phoebus in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Emma Thompson (Mrs Potts) voiced Queen Elinor in Brave.
8. Ewan McGregor (Lumiere) had to re-record his dialogue after filming had wrapped
He was worried that his accent had ended up sounding Mexican instead of French…
9. Ian McKellan turned down the role of Cogsworth in the 1991 animation before joining the live action version
His X-Men co-star and good friend Patrick Stewart turned down the original role, too, due to scheduling conflicts with Star Trek.
10. Belle’s town is named Villenueve after Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, the author of Beauty and the Beast
Her story La Belle et la Bete is the oldest known version of the fairy tale; later abridged by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (who did not credit Villeneuve as the original author).
11. In this original story, the Prince was transformed into a beast when he refused to marry an evil fairy, not because he was cruel and selfish
The ‘Beauty’ character believes herself to be a merchant’s daughter, but she is actually the offspring of a king and the very same evil fairy, who tries to kill Beauty. It’s hardly surprising that Disney reworked the original tale to do away with some of the less than family-friendly elements…
12. The live action film features a new version of ‘Gaston’ with different lyrics that Howard Ashman wrote for the original animation
They were cut from the 1991 Beauty and the Beast on the grounds of being too ‘risqué.’
Emma Watson with Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon
13. The original was the final film completed by Howard Ashman before his death in 1991, eight months before the release date
The end credits are dedicated ‘To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful.’
14. Three of his songs earned a Best Original Song nomination at the 1992 Academy Awards: ‘Be Our Guest,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and opener ‘Belle’
It was the title song which earned Ashman the trophy, accepted posthumously by his partner Bill Lauch.
15. Beauty and the Beast was also the first full-length animated feature to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture
It held this record until 2010, when Pixar’s Up was nominated.
16. It was also the first animation to win the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy
The film was up against City Slickers, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Commitments and The Fisher King.
17. Glen Keane, the film’s original animator, created the Beast by combining a lion’s mane with the beard of a buffalo, the tusks of a wild boar, the legs and tail of a wolf and the body of a bear
The Beast’s blue eyes are the only feature that remains the same after he is transformed back into a human.
Josette Day in the 1946 Beauty and the Beast
18. Walt Disney had been keen to animate Beauty and the Beast as far back as the 1930s
After taking his time to come up with a suitable take on the tale, Disney was beaten to it by French filmmaker Jean Cocteau, who released a live action version in 1946.
19. In the French version, Cogsworth is known as Big Ben
He’s named after the iconic London clock tower.
20. Belle was the first Disney princess to have brown hair
21. The 1991 film was also the first Disney animation to be scripted by a woman
Linda Woolverton modelled Belle after Katharine Hepburn’s turn as Jo in Little Women.
Belle and the Beast in the 1991 animation
22. Julie Andrews was considered to provide the voice of the animated Mrs Potts
The filmmakers eventually cast Angela Lansbury, who recorded her dialogue in between scenes for Murder, She Wrote.
23. The dance scene in the finale of the 1991 film re-uses animation of Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty
Aurora and Phillip were drawn over to become Belle and the Prince because the animators ran out of time.
24. The character of Gaston does not feature in the original Beauty and the Beast fairy tale
He is actually inspired by a similarly villainous character found in Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film named Avenant, who seeks revenge on the Beast after learning of Belle’s love for him. The name ‘Gaston’ is a reference to the arrogant male lead from Gigi, the 1958 musical based on the novel by Colette.
25. Belle makes a cameo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame
She can be spotted walking through the streets of Paris, her ‘nose stuck in a book,’ then appears in the celebratory parade towards the end of the film.