If Cinderella is anything to go by, Disney has made a good decision in greenlighting live-action adaptations of its own animated classics. Perhaps Cinderella‘s box office success over the weekend spurred the company to make a few announcements regarding its next adaptation, Beauty and the Beast – for example, that the movie will hit theaters in 3D on March 17, 2017, exactly two years from today.
Disney also announced a few new cast members for the adaptation. Emma Thompson will play housemaid-turned-anthropomorphic-teapot Mrs. Potts, famously portrayed by Angela Lansbury in the 1991 animated feature. Kevin Kline will play Belle’s father Maurice, and Josh Gad is set to play Lefou, Gaston’s fawning sidekick. Those three will join the previously announced Emma Watson (Belle), Dan Stevens (Beast) and Luke Evans (Gaston).
According to a press release, the “beloved tale will be retold for the big screen with a modern live-action lens and the help of transformative CG magic.” Given the nature of the story – a castle filled with living household objects doing the bidding of a giant bear-bull monster – the heavy use of CG seems inescapable. That could easily go very, very wrong; a living, talking teapot or candelabra is one thing in traditional animation, but computer animation integrated with live-action could very easily be nightmare fuel, especially once they start singing. Will the CG Mrs. Potts have a realistic likeness of Emma Thompson’s face? That thought is horrifying.
All that said, by all accounts Cinderella actually ended up being pretty good, so maybe Disney knows what it’s doing here. Maybe Beauty and the Beast will end up being a masterpiece and we’ll get remakes of Aladdin, Lady and the Tramp and all-time classic Treasure Planet in the next few years. Time will tell – guess we’ll find out in two years.