This weekend, Disney fans of all ages flooded the theater to the tune of a new, March box office record for the new live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. While the most iconic songs from the animated classic have been included, fans may notice a few subtle changes to the lyrics for this take.
According to Beauty and the Beast composer Alan Menken, some of those changes are simply lyrics by the late Howard Ashman that didn’t make the cut in the original film.
ComicBook spoke with Menken in Los Angeles prior to the premiere of Beauty in the Beast and he was eager to explain that the new lyrics weren’t really new at all.
“We have new lyrics in ‘Gaston,’” he said. “Not actually new lyrics, they’re actually Howard Ashman’s that were outtake things. We had also put some of the outtake lyrics from Howard in the Broadway show. And the reason that they hadn’t been used in the animated was that they were quite edgy. ‘I hunt, I sneak up with my quiver and I shoot in the liver.’ That’s a little hard for an animated film, but I thought it was great for this...You know, I think there may a little bit of extra aggressive edge to ‘Gaston,’ which is fun, with the dance break and all that in the movie version.
“We have a change at the end of the movie where we found some lost lyrics from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that Howard had written and was perfect to end the movie with. Those lost lyrics were just so great to get into the movie...[There] are subtle changes to ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ They kind of go into a waltz feeling in the dance, but again, essentially, it’s ‘Beauty and the Beast.’”
Menken went on to explain his philosophy behind the changes, and why they are important.
“I think it’s really healthy to give little changes to all of the songs as they come in. And we did that for the Broadway show, too,” he said. “We did that when we brought Aladdin to the stage. ‘You know what? I don’t want to do the same arrangement of ‘A Whole New World,’ because it should feel fresh.’ You know the song, but there should be a freshness to the arrangement.”
Beauty and the Beast is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.
Beauty and the Beast stars Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
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-- Blair Marnell is a freelance writer for ComicBook. Follow him on Twitter for more of his insights.
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