Luke Evans On Becoming Beauty And The Beast's 'Ridiculous' Villain, Gaston

It's Emma Watson's forward-thinking, Gloria Steinem-approved take on Belle who has dominated much of the discussion of Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast. On screen, however, Luke Evans comes very close to stealing the show.

As Gaston (he of 'I eat five dozen eggs, now I'm roughly the size of a barge' fame), the 37-year-old Welsh actor is a larger-than-life villain, though not quite as large as the comically colossal animated character: as Evans puts it, 'The only person I know of who would have had the size and shape of Gaston is Arnold Schwarzenegger in his heyday [...] and he can't sing either!'

Starting out as a preening, self-obsessed suitor who couldn't be worse suited to Belle (Gaston's attitudes to woman are about as enlightened as the average Twitter 'egg'), he quickly becomes a more menacing proposition, arguably even more devious than his cartoon counterpart, though even his nastiest lines are delivered with a bravura flourish.

Luckily, aside from the obvious physical similarities, Evans is nothing like Gaston in real life, though as he explains to Grazia, he's been recognised for his Beauty and the Beast role since casting was announced back in 2015. 'I haven't had a day where someone hasn't belted out one of the lines from Gaston in the last two years,' he laughs. 'It's very, very funny how much of an impression that music, those lyrics and this film has made over the last 25 years. It doesn't matter where you go in the world, someone will blurt out a line from 'Gaston'... "I use antlers in all of my decorating!" It's very funny, but lovely.'

Josh Gad as LeFou and Luke Evans as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast

Now best known for his film work - his recent (and similarly villainous) turn in the screen adaptation of The Girl On The Train and his role in The Hobbit films were, pre-Disney, amongst his most recognisable roles to date - Evans actually began his career on the West End stage, performing in musicals like Rent and Miss Saigon, so he certainly has the vocal talent to bring down the house (or the tavern?) with his particular rendition of 'Gaston.'

'It was something I've been wanting to do since I started doing film. People don't really know that I've had this musical career before I started as a film actor, so I've been waiting for that moment to find the vehicle that I could merge those two parts of my career together, and this was it,' he reveals. 'When [Beauty and the Beast] came along, there was no question that this was going to be the role where I was going to be able to do both of those things - and I loved every second of it.'

'Just before I'd left [the UK] to do a job, I'd watched Beauty and the Beast with my godchildren, who are very young, and it gave me goosebumps thinking, "This is a brilliant role. He's such a ridiculous character" [...] so when I got it I was over the moon,' he adds.

Seeing as Gaston is essentially an eighteenth century amalgamation of all of the worst men you're ever likely to find on Tinder, what does Luke reckon his character's hypothetical online dating profile would look like? What does he think about Disney's Gaston action figure? And was it nerve-wracking to take on a film that is such a huge part of so many childhoods? Find out more in our full interview with Luke, below.

Watch our full interview with Luke Evans below...

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