Fantasy Casting: Live Action Beauty and the Beast

This post is very close to a theme that a good bloggy friend of mine, Gina, runs on her blog, Fantasy Casting: Where Books Become Movies. If you like our fantasy cast post, please hop on over and check out her awesome blog!

The other day I was watching Beauty and the Beast while the hubs was doing something ever-so-manly on his laptop when we got talking about who we’d cast in a modern live-action version of the film.

First of all, I insisted that the story is that well-known, imaginative, and loved that it could get away with colour-blind casting (as opposed to white-washing). Meaning that the characters don’t have to be identical to their original Disney counterparts. This is the cast we came up with.

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For Belle we cast Freema Agyeman. My hubby is a Whovian, so he started out suggesting Karen Gillan. Yes, she’s pretty, yes she’s got legs… but Freema, out of all the Doctor’s companions, has the most beautiful facial structure. So she’s our Belle. We don’t know if she can sing, but so long as she can hold a tune she’ll be OK. Belle’s singing roles aren’t very demanding. I mean, we talked about Anne Hathaway, whom we both adore, but she seems like an obvious choice. I wanted to go with something a little left-field.

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For the Beast, we tossed around several names based on their voice work. Considering the Beast would be spending most of his time under make-up, we decided on a man with a proven sexy growl that could also pull off being the Prince. Only problem is, Gerard Butler can’t pull off being only 21. So we’re casting a young version of Gerard Butler. He can keep the Scottish accent – we want the castle to be in Scotland, not France. And as a bonus, he can sing!

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To play Gaston, Hugh Jackman has it all: the height, the looks, the voice, the incessant swagger. In fact, he’s already played Gaston, way back in the 90s. So we’re re-casting him as Gaston.

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This is a picture of him as Gaston in the Australian Beauty and the Beast.

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As Gaston’s sidekick, Lefou, we’re casting Neil Patrick Harris. not because he’s ugly (because he isn’t), but because he’s smaller than Hugh, he’s a great singer, and he and Hugh have already proved they have a great camaraderie together.

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No one’s slick as Gaston, no one’s quick as Gaston… maybe not so flamboyantly.

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As Lumiere, the almost grossly over-affectionate French candelabra, we cast David Tennant. Who better than the skinniest of weirdly attractive weasel-looking men than Tennant? And he can keep the Scottish accent – it would be so cool hearing Lumiere as a Scot!

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Hubs and I are both huge Alan Rickman fans. We think he could do anything. Cogsworth is very tightly wound, and Rickman, because of his speech impediemnt, has very tight control over his voice. When I first suggested Rickman, Hubs said, “Cogsworth is more of a slapstick role, Rickman is very deadpan.” And I said, “Slapstick was huge in the 90s. Deadpan’s ‘in’ now. Imagine a deadpan Cogsworth.” It worked.

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For Mrs Potts, we both wanted to re-cast Angela Lansbury. Can anyone else really do this role? Her voice was so iconic. But we decided she’s simply too old. Hubs wanted Alex Kingston. I wondered if Ms Kingston could sing. I also swear this is the last Doctor Who actor we’re using.

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I’m simply fixated on the idea of Queen Latifah as Wardrobe. It’s a small role, but Latifah could fill it full of sassiness and character. I think she’d be wonderful.

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Who better than to play flirty, sexy feather duster Fifi than the most beautiful and sexy of all young starlets, Scarlett Johansson? I can’t think of anyone else.

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As Belle’s father, Maurice, we cast Patrick Stewart. With facial hair! He’s got the presence to steal scenes and he’s got a great voice.

Last but not least is Chip.

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Do you know what they do in the stage show? To get the size differences more accurate, they stick the actor (often a girl) playing Chip in a little cart with just her face showing.

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Never mind the whole, “Oh look, there’s a teapot that’s as big as me!” Belle must be thinking when she reaches the castle. Personally, I hate this idea. I want our Chip to run around free, not be stuck rolling on a frickin’ cart. If I had my way, I’d cast Elle Fanning, because I think this girl (younger sister of Dakota) can do anything. I’d cast her as the shark in Jaws. I think she’s amazing.

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She’s quite a bit older now – a teenager, I do believe – but whoever said Chip stopped aging when the spell was cast over the castle, anyway? Imagine Chip being a moody teenager!

So what do you think? What casting choices do you like?
Which ones do you dislike? Who would you prefer?
Let us know in the comments!

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Posted on August 22, 2011, in The Wonderful World of Disney and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I was actually watching the film y’know. And I think Butler and Tennant were my best suggestions

    • They were very good suggestions. I’m glad you enjoyed the film. Not many men would be so comfortable to confess they enjoy a bit of Disney now and then.

      • Yeah well most men are afraid of being themselves and I don’t see the point in hiding the fact that there are times when all I wanna do is watch a cartoon and be 8 again

  2. I loved Amy Adams as Giselle in Enchanted, and I think she’s make a great Belle.
    I LOVE the choice of Gerard Bulter, too bad we’d only get to see him for a few minutes, but the voice will do!
    I also think the casting of Queen Latifa as the wardrobe is genius.
    The only one I would HAVE to change is NPH, despite your very good reasons. I just can’t picture him doing this role and being believable because he’s too well known. The only person I can think of for the role, however, is Micheal Cera. He’d be a great constrast to Gaston, and would bring a quirky clumsiness to the role. And he can sing.

  3. I dislike Cera. I didn’t even like him as Scott Pilgrim. He’s too wooden, and he isn’t funny. But thats just my opinion. There are far better young funny actors out there. Hell Russell Howard would do well in the role if he wanted to act. I can picture NPH doing this role though. And I see him fitting it well

    • *gasp of horror*
      I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree regarding Cera. I think he’s hilarious, and I loved him in Juno. And he has no chin, which amuses me.

      OH WAIT!!!! Nathan Fillion as Gaston and NPH as Lefou!

      They’re great together in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”. I think that’s why NPH wasn’t working for me before, because I can’t imagine him playing alongside Jackman as a sidekick. I can imagine him playing as a sidekick to Fillion though. Also, I think Fillion as Gaston is brilliant – it’s like his Captain Hammer role again, and even has singing!!!!!

      • Fillion could work but I don’t see it the same way I see Jackman doing it. I can see NPH working as Jackmans sidekick, and I think that pairing in this would work better than Filion/NPH purely cause I think Fillion does his best work with Whedon as a script writer

  4. Aw, he’s gorgeous in Two Guys, a Girl and Pizza Place! Hugh Jackman is gorgeous too, don’t get me wrong, I like them both.

    But, considering this is all hypothetical, in *my* dream cast it would be Nathan Fillion, but you can keep Hugh Jackman for yours ;)

    • I think also part of it is I can’t really imagine Jackman being Gaston, even though he’s played it before. Mostly because in all the movies I’ve seen him in, he gets the girl and isn’t a jackass. Whereas I can just picture Fillion strutting around thinking he’s the bee’s knees.
      EDIT BY LISSA: All better now, Kathy?

  5. Well Two Guys and a Girl basically started his career like it did Ryan Reynolds. And I’m not on about the gorgeousness I don’t see Fillion doing it as well purely on ability… Jackman IS the better performer IMO.

  6. Thanks Lissa! Much better!

    Oh yeah, I agree with Jackman being the better performer or that he’s progressed more as an actor.

    What it boils down to, for me, is that I can’t picture Jackman playing the role with NPH as his sidekick, but I can picture it with Fillion and NPH, and I REALLY enjoy what I’m imagining.

    You, however, prefer what you’re imagining in terms of Jackman and NPH, so what works for one of us isn’t working for the other.

    On the other hand, I think everyone will agree that Gerard Butler for the beast is brilliant. (I was going to write “bloody brilliant” but didn’t want to destroy Lissa’s perception of me, lol.)

  7. Lol agree to disagree then

    • lol a successful truce has been made :)

      Unless we want to talk about typecasting?

      JOKING!! It’s nearly midnight and I need to cook tea.

  8. First off, I would really hope that a live action version would include the extra songs from the stage production, because there are some amazing songs that aren’t in the movie. I think Butler and Jackman are perfect for those roles. For Belle, I would go with Hathaway or Emmy Rossum. I would cast NPH as Lumiere and Martin Short as Lefou.

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