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.
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.
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!
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.
This is a picture of him as Gaston in the Australian Beauty and the Beast.
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.
No one’s slick as Gaston, no one’s quick as Gaston… maybe not so flamboyantly.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!