The duo of Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman collaborated on the songs and music for the original Beauty and the Beast score in 1991. The film, and its soundtrack, quickly earned its place among the all-time animation greats.
Menken returned for Disney’s new live-action film, where he contributed three new songs and updated the arrangements of the classic themes; now that Menken is done with this project, even he isn’t sure about what is on deck.
“I don’t know which is next,” he said. “There’s five film projects I’m waiting to get greenlit, and none of them are, yet. You don’t know which one is going to go.
“There’s Aladdin, there’s [Little Mermaid], there’s a sequel to Enchanted, there’s actually another Little Shop of Horrors coming up at Warner Bros.; there’s an original musical movie project I’m working on over at Universal. So, we’ll see which one goes.”
ComicBook was able to chat with Menken in Los Angeles prior to the premiere of Beauty and the Beast and while he was clearly excited about the new film, he revealed a seeming sadness about completing the run of the franchise.
“Who says we’re done,” he said. “I have no idea if we’re done. I thought I was done with the animated [film], of course. And I thought I was done with the Broadway show. Listen, if we’re done on this one, I’m thrilled because turned out, I think, really well.”
He went on to note that the notion of a Beauty and the Beast live-action feature was first brought up almost 10-years ago, and like most of his classic Disney films, it keeps finding new life in other mediums.
“It’s just like a non-stop Beauty, and Mermaid, and Aladdin,” he said. “All of my various projects keep having these new twists or new productions, so after a while, I don’t even think about completion. They just sort of exist and...they’re like your children.”
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, Belles 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.
Beauty and the Beast will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017 and currently has a 3.31-of-5 rating in the ComicBook User Anticipating Ratings.
-- Blair Marnell is a freelance writer for ComicBook. Follow him on Twitter for more of his insights.