When Disney goes around remaking their classic animated fairy tales, they know there are some parts of it that they just can't change. Next year's Beauty and the Beast has one such scene and Emma Watson knows just how important it is. The dance scene in the original animated film is the most iconic of the movie but Emma Watson says it's also a key scene in the story of the new film.
The scene that I wear that dress in, and I have that dance in, it really tells the story of Beast and Belle falling in love. 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. 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 has the same problem that many love stories have. The movie has to convince the audience that two people fell in love while telling a complete story that doesn't last more than about two hours. If the audience doesn't buy the love story, then the rest of it has a hard time working, but it can be difficult to convince your audience in such a brief period of time. According to Emma Watson's comments in Entertainment Weekly, the purpose of the dance scene is to encapsulate that blossoming romance in a brief sequence.
It's also the scene that the entire world thinks of when they think of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. As Josh Gad, who co-stars in the movie as LeFou, told me once, the movie is so important to so many that there are parts of the film that Disney just wouldn't be able to get away with not including. The dance scene would be chief among them.
However, we have to wonder if perhaps the dance will be handled a bit differently in the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast then it was in the original. Emma Watson says that in the new film the dance is the scene where the audience sees the two characters begin to fall in love. However, in the animated classic that really begins just before the dance with a song called "Something There." If anything, the dance scene is the moment where the two finally come to terms with their love for each other. This minor shift could add an entirely new layer to the dance, making it both a call back to the classic movie as well as something new for everybody.
Disney's tale as old as time will hit screens March 17, 2017.