Composer Alan Menken is at this point intrinsically linked to Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and will again be involved in the upcoming live action version coming in 2017.
In a recent interview with EW, Menken was asked about the live-action version's Belle, a role that will be played by the talented Emma Watson (Harry Potter Franchise). He had nothing but kind words to say.
““She’s really good! I can’t picture anyone else, honestly. She’s Belle for me now entirely,”
His enthusiasm didn't just encompass Watson however, as he had kind remarks for the rest of the cast as well. In regards to Dan Stevens (Beast), Menken remarked: “of course, he spends a lot of the movie with a lot of fur covering him but he’s great”. Menken also commended on Luke Evans (Gaston), saying he is "fantastic - what a revelation! The cast is just a dream cast, it’s ridiculous.”
Menken is returning to the franchise for the third time and shared some insight into how his previous experience has affected his time on this new production.
“It’s exciting for me because I’m writing the new songs and scoring the new movie, it’s a lot of work,” he laughed. “It’s interesting and it’s challenging to come back to the same source material three times. And in this case I’m really taking my lead – I am bearer of the flame to a degree, but I want to be as good a team member with Bill Condon as I can be. So I’m really taking my lead from him as a director, and he’s doing a great job.”
You can see some of the cast's chemistry in a live table read, which will be included in the upcoming signature edition of the classic animated film.
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action adaptation of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “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. The film 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.
Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, the screenplay is by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Bill Condon and Stephen Chbosky and is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice.
Beauty and the Beast will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.