I was thrilled to get the inside scoop for one of the hottest and most anticipated movie releases this year… As I walked into the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills for the Beauty and the Beast junket, I immediately felt as if I was in an enchanted fairytale.
The event opened with composer Alan Menken, Josh Gad, and Luke Evans performing, “Gaston.” My eyes glistened and my inner child felt as if I was in the beloved fairytale.
Luke Evans (Gaston), Emma Watson (Belle), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Plummette), Dan Stevens (Beast), Josh Gad (Lefou),Audra McDonald (Garderobe),Bill Condon (Director), and Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken were all in attendance. Here’s few excerpts from the interview:
Emma Watson looked royally in her chic long dress. Emma talked about her character Bell. She described her as a strong activist, and a role model she hoped other young girls would look up to. Belle was her idol growing up. She felt it was vital to make Belle different, unconventional, and unique. Emma is the ideal Bell in this wonderful remake.
“You know, it’s just a start. I mean, it’s really remarkable to play someone that I’m almost sure had an influence on the woman that I have become. I think the first time I saw Paige O’Hara sing Belle (Reprise), you know, it’s kind of the I want song of all I want songs. And I just immediately resonated with her. I mean, I was so young I didn’t even know what I was tapping into but here was something about that spirit, there was something about that energy that I just knew she was my champion.”
Josh Gad talked about his unpleasant encounter with his on set horse. He said his horse walked backwards and was unpredictable.
Josh said, “Mine is a cold-blooded killer. And he proceeded to moonwalk, he walked backwards. (Laughs) Then, he ran through multiple extras in the village, ran around – I didn’t even know it was possible – but ran through these like pillars around, up and back again. I heard “cut” and I heard laughing, and the laughter was coming from the horse’s trainer,and he came up to me and he goes, “I’m so sorry. I’ve never seen this happen before.”
Luke Evans talked about the physicality of his role as “Gaston.” He said he trained hard to fit the role. His character development was extensive.
Evens said, “And I wanted the audience to – in away, I just thought, let’s make them like him a little bit first, so that when the cracks start to appear, which they do very subtly, even from the door slam, you know, there’s something inside of him that he’s like, I’m not used to this, this isn’t how it goes, you know, this is not what she’s supposed to be doing. And although he keeps believing that Belle will change her mind, that’s where the cracks appear in my thought process and then slowly, you know, the jealousy takes over, and who he becomes, especially Gaston as opposed to other Disney villains, he has no book of spells, he has no magic powers. He’s a human being, and he uses his status within that village to rouse a crowd and he does it all from just being himself, which is quite terrifying in a way. So I played on that, I played on the humanity of the character as much as he is larger than life.”
Dan Stevens said, “And getting to know Emma, first and foremost, on the dance floor was probably, you know, I think it’s a great way to get to know your costar, and I’m going to try and do with every movie I do now, whether there’s a waltz in the movie or not. (laughter) But no, I mean the trust that Emma had to place in me that I wouldn’t break her the title really, the “and the” bit, you know, and that’s sort of the essence of a waltz being two people in this whirlwind, you know, and learning about choreography really, the storytelling through dance, not just getting up and dancing but actually, you know, really – really telling a very crucial part of the story in that big turning point. So yes, lots of physicality.”
Gugu Mbatha-Raw talked about she worked hard on her French accent and how she embraced her inner child to portray “Plumette,” the feather duster.
Director Bill Condon discussed the evolution of Disney and the movie translation to 2017. He talked about this movie being about “looking closer, digging deeper, and accepting people for who they are. In a very Disney way, we are including everybody.”
This was something that touched my heart. We live in a time where many are outcasted. It’s wonderful to see that Disney is opening the doors to diversity.
Audra McDonald said,”Knowing not only did it have this incredible creative team, but that Emma Watson was going to be Belle. Emma has affected girls of my daughter’s age and my daughter is someone who now asks for people to donate money to charities for her birthday gifts instead of presents. Knowing that Emma was going to make sure that Belle was somebody who was independent, strong, educated, someone who was sticking up for girls and women, and someone who does all the rescuing in the film. That’s why I knew it was going to be important for me to be a part of and for my kids to see.” – Love her!
The event was magical! This movie teaches our children to “be themselves and to accept all,” something I rarely see in movies. Cheers to this progressive Disney film!
Beauty and The Beast hits theaters Friday March 17th!