This year alone, Idris Elba has played The Gunslinger in The Dark Tower, stars opposite Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game, survives a plane crash alongside Kate Winslet in The Mountain Between Us, and returns as Heimdall in Thor: Ragnarok, but if one more audition had gone his way, he could have starred in one of the year’s biggest box-office performers: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
In a video interview with People, Elba spoke with editor-in-chief Jess Cagle about a number of his roles, past, present, and future. Sure, he spoke about just how tough Winslet was during their subzero filming, but perhaps the biggest surprise came when Elba talked about his experiences in musical theater. Not only does Elba profess a love of musicals, he’s actually played the part of “Big Julie” in a theatrical production of Guys and Dolls and actually understudied the actor playing Nathan Detroit at the time.
But that’s not why you’re here; you’re here to see how Elba almost became Disney’s Gaston, the braggadocious hunter with an eye for Belle. Hear the story in Elba’s own words:
If you missed it, here’s what he said:
“I honestly love musicals. I auditioned for Beauty and the Beast. I really did, for Gaston. I called and said, ‘Listen, I want in!’ So somewhere they have a tape of me singing.”
Now, obviously the role ultimately went to Luke Evans, but Elba’s not holding much of a grudge:
“No, only a little bit. No! I love you Luke, you know that.”
But the important thing to remember here is that Disney has a tape of Elba singing as Gaston in his audition. And we’re going to need to see that pronto.
As for the little bit of singing you do get out of Elba in the video, feel free to play that on repeat. And for comparison, here’s the actual version that ended up in Disney’s musical movie: