Why Luke Evans Agreed To Play Another Disney Villain In The Pinocchio Live-Action Remake

Disney’s live-action remakes of its animated films has become a franchise of its own, with several big successes under its belt. Disney is now, not only, reusing stories to make live-action movies, but with the newest installment, Pinocchio, Disney is reusing actors. Luke Evans, who previously played Gaston in the remake of Beauty and the Beast, is back playing another bad guy in the new Pinocchio for Disney+.  Evans says it was an easy decision to play another Disney villain because the characters were so different. 

Luke Evans' performance as Gaston in the live-action Beauty and the Beast is generally regarded as one of the high points of that film, and since the remake was a massive box office hit for Disney, we can guess people liked a lot about the movie. Now, he’s back playing another villain in another Disney remake. I had a chance to speak with Evans about playing The Coachman in Pinocchio and I asked him if he had any reservations about returning to a role so similar, but he explained the roles were actually quite different, saying… 

It was unusual to be asked to play a second Disney villain, and so close to the last one. Very quickly it was clear that this is a very different kind of villain, very different kind of character. There was no second guessing, we immediately had an idea of who he could be and what he would sound like and how he would look. And he’s nothing like Gaston.

Luke Evans plays The Coachman in Pinocchio, the man who takes the title character with a group of other children to Pleasure Island. The Coachman is a fairly small role in the original animated movie, but the live-action part expands the role significantly, and even gives Evans an original song to sing.

There’s certainly no argument that Gaston and The Coachman are very different characters. Gaston is a pompous windbag of a man, and there’s some humor and theatricality in the way Gaston acts, at least initially. The Coachman is a much darker character. The entire Pleasure Island sequence is what makes Pinocchio an incredibly dark Disney remake.

The two characters also look very different. Luke Evans is very recognizable as Gaston but you might not realize he’s the actor playing the Coachman at first. When we first meet him he’s dressed all in black with long dark hair and a mustache that largely obscures his face. Evans told me that he loved being able to disappear into the role behind the makeup and that part really works.

While Disney’s endless stream of live-action remakes may all be based on movies we know quite well, each one is certainly unique in its own way, which opens the door for actors to appear in more than one and still play very different characters. I’m guessing Disney won’t be going back to Luke Evans to play another villain in the near future, but if the role is different enough, it may not be the worst idea.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.