Just hours after we reported actor Luke Evans is playing Gaston in Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast remake, the production has found its Beast, as Dan Stevens enters talks with the studio to take on the role. Emma Watson signed on in January to play Belle, in what is currently an all-British cast, for now. In the original Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont fairy tale, Belle took her father's place as a prisoner in the hideous beast's castle, only to learn that he is actually a prince, as they both fall in love.
The Hollywood Reporter also reveals that Disney has not yet confirmed that Beauty and the Beast will be a musical, like the 1991 animated adaptation which was nominated for Best Picture. However, when Emma Watson was cast in January, she implied the project was a musical in a Facebook post, where she made the following statement.
"It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I'll get to dance to 'Be Our Guest' and sing 'Something There.'...Time to start some singing lessons."
Beauty and the Beast will be directed by Bill Condon, from a script originally written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and rewritten by Stephen Chbosky, Emma Watson's director in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Production is scheduled to begin later this year, with David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are producing through their Mandeville Films company.
Dan Stevens first rose to prominence by playing Matthew Crawley on PBS' Downton Abbey. Last year he starred in the critically-acclaimed indie thriller The Guest, and had supporting roles in A Walk Among the Tombstones and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. He will next be seen in The Cobbler alongside Adam Sandler, and he is also attached to star in How to Be Single.