We have our Beauty (Emma Watson), and as of earlier today we have our Gaston (Luke Evans). Now we have our Beast. THR reports that Downton Abbey alum Dan Stevens is in talks to play the Beast/Prince in Disney’s live-action musical Beauty and the Beast. The film has Dreamgirls and Gods and Monsters director Bill Condon set to helm, with whom Stevens worked on the WikiLeaks drama The Fifth Estate.
Beauty and the Beast will be Stevens’ highest profile role to date, as the actor ran far astray of anything resembling Downton Abbey once he left the exceedingly polite drama series. He impressed in the action thriller The Guest and also starred opposite Liam Neeson in the hard-boiled pic A Walk Among the Tombstones, but taking on the lead role in a lavish Disney musical is no doubt a massive undertaking. The role of the Prince/Beast was highly coveted, with The Wrap’s Jeff Sneider adding that Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne was previously offered the part before turning it down.
With these three major pieces of the puzzle set, it’ll be interesting to see Condon assemble the rest of the cast. And how will the anthropomorphic servents be realized? For that matter, how will the Beast be portrayed? Will Stevens go through heavy makeup a la Benicio Del Toro in The Wolfman, or will they go the performance-capture route? With the amount of Beast/Belle scenes I have to imagine it’s the former, but given the advancements in technology as of late, I wouldn’t entirely rule out some sort of CG element.
As Haleigh pointed out earlier, this marks the latest in a series of live-action redos for Disney following Maleficent and the upcoming Cinderella and The Jungle Book. A release date is not yet set for Beauty and the Beast, but filming is poised to get underway later this year.