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Beauty and the Beast (2017) - Top 10 Facts!

VO: Emily Brayton
The long awaited Disney live action treatment of Beauty and the Beast is finally here! We present you the top 10 facts you should know about Beauty and the Beast! The trailer reached 91.8 million views in one day, even beating out the teasers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Captain America: Civil War. Did you know that the movie almost had a very different cast? That Belle went through some changes? The filmmakers didn’t want Belle to be a carbon copy of the animated Belle! Check out these facts and let us know which one surprised you!

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Top 10 Facts About Beauty and the Beast

Won’t you be our guest as we explore this reinterpretation of a Disney classic? Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Facts About Beauty and the Beast.

For this list, we’re taking a look at interesting trivia surrounding Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast.”

#10: The Trailers Have Broken Records

Recreating shots from the 1991 Disney film, the first teaser trailer for Beauty and the Beast made it seem as if one of our favorite animated features had sprung to life. Tapping the nostalgia of fans, it’s no surprise that the teaser reached 91.8 million views within one day. Setting a new record, “Beauty and the Beast” managed to beat out the teasers for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Captain America: Civil War.” Meanwhile, the film’s first theatrical trailer garnered 127.6 million views in just 24 hours, surpassing “Fifty Shades Darker”, the previous record holder. Although it was later beaten by “The Fate of the Furious”, that remains an impressive feat for any remake.

#9: Ewan McGregor Had to Work on His French Accent

Although the 1991 film takes place in France, Lumière is one of the only major characters with a thick French accent. In this 2017 remake, Scottish actor Ewan McGregor plays the charismatic candelabra. Having starred in “Moulin Rouge!,” McGregor definitely has the singing chops for the role, but the accent? Not so much. Since his wife of over twenty years is French, McGregor thought it would be a cakewalk. When he started reading his lines however, his accent allegedly sounded more Mexican than French. He continued to work on his accent and eventually re-recorded his performance. Even so, McGregor himself has admitted that his final French accent isn’t the best.

#8: The Original Belle Endorsed Emma Watson

Having previously played the book smart Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” films to much fanfare, Emma Watson seemed like a natural choice to play Belle. Nonetheless, she was left with some pretty big shoes to fill. Actress Paige O'Hara provided the voice of Belle in the 1991 film and has been much loved for the role ever since. As far as O'Hara is concerned, though, casting Watson as Belle was a “genius” move. She even offered to give Watson a few singing tips. Susan Egan, who originally played Belle on Broadway, was also enthusiastic about this casting decision, stating that Watson is “perfect.” With the support of those two women, Watson should feel confident in the role.

#7: "Hakuna Matata" Was an Audition Song

From “Be Our Guest” and “Something There,” to the titular musical number, “Beauty and the Beast” gave us several timeless tunes back in 1991. Naturally, you’d think that director Bill Condon would’ve used one of these memorable numbers for the audition process while casting this remake. Instead, he threw a curveball at the hopeful cast in the form of a song from another Disney movie. Wanting to confuse his actors, the director had them sing “Hakuna Matata” from “The Lion King.” Somehow, Condon was able to make his selections based on this hilarious and catchy ditty. It is after all, “a wonderful phrase”.

#6: Motion Capture Played a Key Role

When it was announced that “Beauty and the Beast” would be given the live-action treatment, many wondered how Disney would breathe life into the monstrous leading man. Initially, the filmmakers considered using makeup and practical effects, as was done for the 1946 French film and the 1987 TV series. In the end, Bill Condon decided that utilizing motion capture and CGI effects would be the best way to get Dan Stevens’ performance across. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Condon stated, “this technology allowed every single bit of his face to come right through in every bit of the performance.” With that in mind, Stevens’ portrayal of the Beast should be anything but skin-deep.

#5: The Cast Has Many Disney Connections

“Beauty and the Beast” notably marks Emma Watson's first role in a Walt Disney production. Many of her co-stars, however, are longtime members of the Disney family. Josh Gad, who previously voiced Olaf in “Frozen,” plays Gaston’s dimwitted sidekick, Le Fou. Kevin Kline, who provided the voice of Phoebus in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” stars as Belle’s father, Maurice. Emma Thompson, who played key roles in “Treasure Planet,” “Brave,” and “Saving Mr. Banks,” has the honor of voicing Mrs. Potts. Ms. Watson isn’t the only newbie though. Despite decades in the industry and having previously worked with director Bill Condon, this is Sir Ian McKellen’s first time working with the “house of mouse”. He’ll be voicing Cogsworth.

#4: The Film Almost Had a Very Different Cast

Before casting Dan Stevens as the Beast, the role was offered to Ryan Gosling, but he reportedly turned it down in favor of “La La Land.” Ironically, Emma Watson was asked to star opposite Gosling in the very same film, but decided to decline the offer, as she was committed to “Beauty and the Beast.” Damien Chazelle’s award-winning musical wasn’t the only high-profile film Watson recently walked from though. Disney previously offered her the chance to play the titular character in the 2015 remake of “Cinderella”, but she politely declined. If Watson had tried on the glass slipper, it’s safe to say that Disney would’ve found another actress to play Belle in this adaptation.

#3: Belle Went Through Some Changes

Since Belle is one of the most beloved Disney princesses, the filmmakers wanted to maintain everything that made the character great. At the same time, they didn’t want the live-action Belle to be a carbon copy of her animated counterpart. So they made a few small updates to the character. For example, Belle will be the inventor in the house instead of Maurice. The filmmakers felt this would give Belle backstory beyond being a bookworm. Emma Watson also insisted that her character should have practical clothing for her adventures. Thus, Belle has proper boots for exploring and numerous pockets for carrying supplies. Watson additionally refused to wear a corset, which seems an appropriate choice for this modern Belle.

#2: There’s New Music From the Original Composers

Composer Alan Menken won two Oscars for his work on the original “Beauty and the Beast.” He’s returned to score this film, which includes new recordings of the classic songs. Howard Ashman provided the lyrics for the 1991 film, but sadly passed away before its release. However, Ashman had written some more mature lyrics for the “Gaston” number, which will be used in this production. For the remake, Menken collaborated with lyricist Tim Rice on three new tunes: “Forever More,” “Days in the Sun,” and “Our Song Lives On.” Rice and Menken previously worked together on Broadway’s “Beauty and the Beast”, but none of the songs written for that production are used in this film.

#1: The Film Almost Wasn’t a Musical

It’s hard to imagine Disney’s “tale as old as time” without any of the classic songs. Yet, the studio once considered removing the musical element from this interpretation, as they’ve done with other recent remakes. When Bill Condon was in talks to direct, though, he was quite adamant that this adaptation should be a musical. In Condon’s mind, it just didn’t make sense to remake “Beauty and the Beast” without “Be Our Guest.” On top of that, Condon has worked on some of the most acclaimed movie musicals of the 21st century, including “Chicago” and “Dreamgirls.” Seeing the light, Disney decided that “Beauty and the Beast” could work as a live-action musical, especially with Condon at its helm.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite fun fact about “Beauty and the Beast?” For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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