How Long Has The Prince Been Cursed In The New Beauty And The Beast? Dan Stevens And Bill Condon Weigh In

As great as Walt Disney Animation's Beauty and the Beast is, there is one significant flaw in its storytelling. Lumiere establishes in "Be Our Guest" that the curse has lasted for 10 years -- but since the curse is meant to end on the Prince's 21st birthday, that means that he was only 11 when the spell was initially cast (and that he was totally justified in not letting a stranger into his house while alone during a storm). This is an issue that the new live-action adaptation avoids by both removing both the 21st birthday plot point and the "10 years we've been rusting" lyric... but this still leaves the question of how long the curse has lasted in the new film. Fortunately, it was a query that I was recently able to pose to both star Dan Stevens and director Bill Condon.

I sat down with both men earlier this month at Beauty and the Beast's Los Angeles press day, and used the opportunity to dig for details about the fantasy film's timeline of events. First sitting down with Dan Stevens -- who was paired with co-star Emma Watson -- I asked if the production had established a definitive history of the curse to study in his character work. While he did remember that they had set a number during filming, he was fuzzy on the details -- but with a bit of support and suggestion from Watson he settled on an odd number. Said Stevens,

That's a good question. I couldn't give you to the nearest day -- I'm trying to remember how long we had established that he had been cursed. I think by this stage it's been a while. You get the sense that it's been a few years... Ten? I think we were playing in that sort of ballpark. Let's say maybe nine!

Later that same day I asked Bill Condon about his thoughts on the matter -- and not only did he admit to not firmly answering that question within Beauty and the Beast, but also supported the inquiry and pointed out a funny benefit that the Prince gets from the witch's curse:

We don't definitively answer that question. I think it's not a bad thing to imagine that's what it is. And he doesn't age during that point, but he's a grown up, you know?

Funny enough, this idea of the curse essentially pausing time for the Prince and everyone else in the castle occurred to me while talking with Dan Stevens as well, and you can watch his funny reaction and realization in the video below:

In the coming days I have plenty more fun pieces coming from my time interviewing the cast and filmmakers behind Beauty and the Beast -- and it won't be long until you have a chance to see the film for yourself. Look for the blockbuster in theaters this Friday, March 17th.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.