For the past decade, Disney has been producing some astonishing live-action remake versions of its classic animated films. Just behind the record-breaking box office success of last summer’s The Lion King lies Beauty and the Beast’s $1.2 billion in worldwide earnings, which has undoubtedly inspired the upcoming productions of The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan & Wendy. Ahead of the remake's warm reception, Dan Stevens admitted he was “terrified” to take on the iconic role of the Beast.
Thankfully, it's Dan Stevens’ fear that often propels his decisions to take on high-profile roles in projects such as Beauty and the Beast. As he explained to IndieWire, “calibrating the right amount of terror” is how he ended up under the motion capture suit of the Beast alongside Emma Watson’s Belle, and that remains his method today. In his words:
I think something has to peak my curiosity and, this doesn’t go necessarily for every single project, but I think if something seems like a challenge, it seems like something that might be slightly terrifying but also thrilling if I was able to pull it off, then it becomes that little bit more attractive.
And it's not incredibly difficult to see this formula reflected in Dan Stevens' work. The Beauty and the Beast actor returned to his love of music for Netflix’s Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga to play the scene-stealing role of the fictional Russian singer Alexander Lemtov alongside Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. But in between, he took on the trippy FX Marvel show Legion, horror cult flick Apostle and the villain in Call of the Wild earlier this year.
Dan Stevens’ role in Beauty and the Beast was a particularly demanding one, not only because he’d be following a beloved animated character, but he also wore a motion-capture suit and sang some major notes for Alan Menken’s new song “Evermore,” which added dimension to Beast’s character. Stevens reflected:
I loved learning to perform in that way and it’s something I would definitely do again. And musicals, as well. It’s definitely opened the door to more musical stuff and I think there’s more to come.
There was a sequel in the works for a different incarnation of this Disney character at one time, but it doesn’t look to be the studio’s long list of developing live-action features. However, it was announced earlier this year that a Beauty and the Beast spinoff TV show about LeFou and Gaston is coming to Disney+.
Dan Stevens' next role will be in a horror film directed by Dave Franco called The Rental. The movie is coming to VOD and select drive-ins next Friday, July 24. The next live-action Disney movie hitting theaters will be Niki Caro’s Mulan, which greatly diverts from the studio’s typical remake formula. It will be a martial arts epic that does not rely on the original music or many characters from the original animated movie.
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