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The original Beauty and the Beast is one of the greatest animated films ever made (it wasn't the first cartoon nominated for Best Picture for nothing), so it was only a matter of time before Disney sought to adapt their classic musical into live action. So how exactly can Disney top itself on this one? Can the live action version stand on its own and do something new with the material? According to actor Josh Gad, that's exactly what they're doing, and the first step is by going deeper into the story.
It evolves [from the original], like Jungle Book evolved from the source material, like Cinderella evolved from the source material. But it goes further into the trenches in terms of the mythology and in terms of the characters. And there's a scope to it and a pathos to it that, having seen it, I can tell you is unexpectedly very emotional. I just think the new music as well as the old music is going to blow everyone away.
Josh Gad, who plays Gaston's lackey Le Fou in the film, spoke with ET Online about the highly anticipated Beauty and the Beast adaptation and what we can expect from the film. Details have been pretty scarce so far and Gad didn't get into specifics, but he was able to compare the new film against the legacy of the old one. The Bill Condon-directed film is not seeking to replace or copy the 1991 version, but expand upon it in order to be able to stand entirely on its own. That's a strategy that's worked well for these live action Disney adaptations so far.
Cinderella and The Jungle Book are way better movies than they had any right to be, and a lot of that is because they weren't just rehashes of their source material. The original Jungle Book, for example, was basically just Mowgli going from Point A to Point B with unrelated misadventures scattered throughout. Jon Favreau's was still largely that, but he added conflict, a character arc for Mowgli and a jungle mythology that made all the difference. It'll be very curious to see how this is applied to Beauty and the Beast. I, for one, would love to learn more about how Beast was struck by the curse and the day-to-day lives of the people that went down with him.
It sounds like this Beauty and the Beast has a lot going for it. The film is sticking to its musical roots and adding new songs into the mix, which, according to Josh Gad, will live up to the original. The first trailer for the film surpassed Star Wars: The Force Awakens - the most hyped movie on the face of the Earth - in views on YouTube in 24 hours, so there's a big amount of excitement going for it. Also, it will probably make you cry your eyes out.
Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson, Beauty and the Beast is scheduled to arrive in theaters on March 17, 2017.