Well, if we’re being honest with ourselves, there are plenty of live-action Beauty and the Beast films, just not all of them involve a dancing teapot and a singing grandfather clock and a furry leading man, but rather stick to the idea at the core of the beloved fairy tale: that love can make even the most hideous person beautiful. It’s a wonderful message, but damn if we didn’t miss those twirling inanimate objects and jaunty songs during Beastly.
Worry no more! We’re getting a live-action Beauty and the Beast feature film, and it just might be coming from the right person.
Variety reports Disney has set Dreamgirls and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part 1 and 2) director Bill Condon for the new film. Newbie Evan Spiliotopoulos is penning the film’s script. We don’t know any other details about the film at this point — where it will take place, what kind of cast they’ll be looking for, how actually beastly its leading man will be — but it’s fair to assume that Disney is going to honor one of its most popular and enduring animated classics with a respectable live-action take.
Condon’s background is quite varied, but he’s best known for turning in the final two Twilight films and his work writing and directing Dreamgirls and writing the screen version of Chicago, both big blockbuster (and Oscar-winning!) musicals.
Although it’s unknown at this time if his new project will be a musical — Variety mentions it “could very easily go down that path” — here’s hoping it does, because Condon’s non-musical work isn’t as strong. Sure, the big (read: insane, fundamentally campy) elements of the Twilight films sort of suited him, but his last feature film, the Wikileaks drama The Fifth Estate, was roundly dismissed by both critics and audiences. It plain didn’t work, and it really didn’t work for Condon. He needs the big show, and Beauty and the Beast could be, well, a beautiful outlet for that.
This new live-action Beauty and the Beast will fit in quite nicely with the rest of Disney’s current slate, which places a premium on live-action fairy tales, from their past success with Alice in Wonderland to last week’s massive opener Maleficent. The studio is also working on Jon Favreau’s live-action The Jungle Book (one of two live-action versions in the works) and Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella. Animation is so passé (sob sob).
There’s no word on when this new film will start production, but Condon will likely be busy for the next few months anyway, as he’s currently in preproduction on A Slight Trick of the Mind, a thriller about an elder Sherlock Holmes that will star Ian McKellen. Fun!
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