Luke Evans is in talks to fill villainous role of Gaston in Disney’s live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Evans will antagonize Emma Watson, who joined the project in January after Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation fell apart. The film is set to be directed by Bill Condon (Twilight Breaking Dawn Saga – Part 1 and Part 2) from a script by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wall Flower). Production is slated to begin later in 2015 with no release date currently set.
Variety reports that Evans is set to play the villain of the film, Gaston – a pompous, self-obsessed braggart who attempts to court Belle and leads the townspeople on a hunt to kill the Beast when she rebukes his affections. It’s a strange bit of casting – Evans is certainly capable, but he has an ever-present air of class, and it’s hard to picture him as the square-jawed, broad-chested buffoon. The age difference between Evans and Watson will definitely add an extra ick factor to his antics.
The role of Gaston adds to Evans’ ever-growing resume of literary characters, most recently Dracula in Dracula Untold and Bard the Bowman in The Hobbit films. Next up he’ll star in Ben Wheatley‘s adaptation of J.G. Ballard‘s novel High Rise. He’s currently filming Message From the King with Chadwick Boseman before re-teaming with Wheatley for the action shoot-out Free Fire.
The re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast follows on the heels of Disney’s other recent live-action successes including 2010’s Alice in Wonderland and 2014’s Maleficent. Kenneth Branagh’s beautiful adaptation of Cinderella opens in theaters next weekend. In addition to Beauty and the Beast, Disney is currently in production on a The Jungle Book adaptation, directed by Jon Favreau.