Disney Sets Joe Ahearne to Pen Live-Action BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Reimagining THE BEAST

     March 11, 2013

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Fresh off the rather large opening weekend for Sam Raimi’s fantasy pic Oz the Great and Powerful, Disney is ready to put a new spin on yet another classic story.  Deadline reports that screenwriter Joe Ahearne, who most recently wrote Danny Boyle’s upcoming psychological thriller Trance, has been tapped to pen the script for a live-action reimagining of Beauty and the Beast called The Beast.  This seemingly sets off yet another Snow White-esque race between two fairy tale-themed pics, as Warner Bros. has long been developing a new take on Beauty and the Beast with Guillermo del Toro directing and Emma Watson set to star.  Hit the jump for more on Disney’s latest move towards world domination.

beauty-and-the-beastThe development of Oz the Great and Powerful was a direct result of the massive success of Disney’s 2010 reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, which went on to gross over $1 billion worldwide.  Now that Raimi’s Oz seems like it’s enjoying similar success (though its opening weekend wasn’t near as big as Wonderland’s), Disney appears to be confident enough to move forward with yet another live-action revisionist take on a classic fairy tale in addition to the upcoming Maleficent and Cinderella.

Ahearne’s darker-leaning previous work likely means that we’re in for something quite different from Disney’s classic 1991 animated iteration of Beauty and the Beast, so it’ll be interesting to see how Disney handles the rougher parts of the story.  Mandeville’s David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will be producing The Beast alongside Disney’s LouAnne Brickhouse.  It remains to be seen if Disney will wait to see how Ahearne’s script turns out before attaching a director or if they’ll start looking for a helmer straight away, but you can bet they won’t be letting this thing linger in development for too long.

What this means for Guillermo del Toro’s Beauty and the Beast is uncertain.  Del Toro has slowly been continuing development on his film while he juggles his hundreds of other projects, and last February Andrew Davies (Bridget Jones’ Diary) came on to pen the script.  Del Toro’s schedule is pretty packed in the near future with post-production on Pacific Rim and the pilot for the FX series The Strain, and he’s set to begin filming his next feature film, the haunted house story Crimson Peak, early next year, so his next open window to start filming a new movie would likely be late 2014 or sometime in 2015.

If Warner Bros. wants to pick up the pace on their Beauty and the Beast film as a result of Disney’s announcement, del Toro will likely be replaced as director, unfortunately.  Hopefully they have enough confidence in their project that they stick with del Toro’s vision and give him the time he needs to bring it to fruition.

What do you think, folks?  Do you want to see a new live-action version of Beauty and the Beast from Disney, and if so, who would you like to see direct it?

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