Today was a rather big day for Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. Earlier this afternoon we learned that The Hobbit star Luke Evans is now in negotiations to play the villainous Gaston in the fairy tale film, and now word has come down that Dan Stevens has landed the role of the titular Beast opposite Emma Watson's Beauty.

The Hollywood Reporter got the scoop on Stevens' attachment to Beauty and the Beast, noting that the actor is still in final negotiations to join the project. The Downton Abbey star is now the third British star to join the project, which is being directed by American Academy Award-winner Bill Condon. The film is expected to follow the story of the classic fairy tale and follow a brainy young beautiful woman as she falls in love with a prince who has been cursed by a witch to appear as a hideous monster.

Since ending his time on Downton Abbey back in 2012, Dan Stevens has been picking up a lot of interesting film work recently, and was quite busy on the big screen last year. Two of the more well known titles were Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb (where he played Sir Lancelot) and A Walk Among The Tombstones (where he played a drug dealer), but arguably his best performance came in Adam Wingard's The Guest - a John Carpenter-style thriller that provides the actor a deliciously fucked up and badass role to play. If you haven't seen the film yet, I would highly recommend it.

Now that Dan Stevens is aboard Beauty and the Beast as the titular male lead, however, the big question turns to: how do you turn him into a monster? Surely there will be a lot of prosthetic and makeup work involved, but what will he actually look like? Will they go the furry creature route that was featured in Walt Disney Animation's version of the tale from 1991?

Beauty and the Beast

Or will we see something closer to how Alex Pettyfer looked in 2011's Beastly?

Beastly

We're definitely praying hard for the former over the latter.

Disney has not yet announced a release date for this new version of Beauty and the Beast, but judging by the recent casting announcements, this thing is starting to gain some momentum. It looks like the film is being prepped to be released at some point in 2016, so production on the film could start any time between a few weeks to a few months from now (depending on what season the studio is considering releasing it in). Either way, stay tuned for more news and updates as they come in, because surely we can expect a whole lot more of them.

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