Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast isn’t due to hit cinemas until 2017, but the excitement is already at fever-pitch.
And, after the new-and-improved ‘bold’ Belle (played by Emma Watson) was unveiled in yesterday’s trailer drop, it has now been confirmed that the Beast has been given something of a character makeover, too.
Speaking at a Facebook Live chat about the upcoming movie, Watson explained that Disney have attempted to humanise the enchanted prince far more than they did in the 1991 animated movie.
So much so that he’s actually been given something of a sense of humour.
“The Beast that’s in our version is incredibly kind of witty,” she said. “He has this very dry, English sense of humour that Dan [Stevens] doesn’t have at all.”
While this new aspect of his character wasn’t shown in the trailer, it makes sense that they would want to update his personality for a modern day retelling of the tale.
After all, Watson’s Belle has been given a feminist backstory – and, in the trailer, is shown to be confident, brave, and unafraid of anything… even when confronted by the Beast himself.
So, to ensure that their ‘tale as old as time’ romance feels believable, the Beast needs to have a personality engaging enough to earn the affections of the intelligent and independent young woman living inside his castle.
As we all know, Belle finds herself trapped in the Beast’s enchanted castle after offering herself in exchange for the freedom of her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline).
She initially loathes the Beast, seeing him as her captor, but is later entranced by his magical castle – and the mysterious rose hidden away in the west wing.
After muddling through their new lives together as housemates (or should that be castlemates?), Belle and the Beast discover there is ‘something there that wasn’t there before’ in terms of their relationship – and it eventually blossoms into a love unlike any other.
Watson previously revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the romance between Belle and Beast will be encapsulated in that same iconic dance scene Disney fans were treated to in the animated classic.
“The scene that I wear that [iconic yellow] dress in, and I have that dance in, it really tells the story of Beast and Belle falling in love,” she said. “You know, we don’t have a huge amount of time in the story to tell that story.
“The dance, for me, is really where the audience starts to see it happening and starts knowing that it is happening. This is total, blissful escapism. You are transported to another world.”
Watson added that she had relished the opportunity to be so involved with the staging of the new film, saying: “The dress, and the dancing, and the candlelight, and the music — it was really fun to work on every aspect of that.”
Beauty and the Beast is due to hit cinemas 17 March 2017.