Released yesterday by Emma Watson via her Twitter feed and Facebook page, the new poster for Disney's live action version of the fairy tale looks more than a little familiar. Comparison to original classic poster appears to be intentional, and why not? It's a nice homage, and people love - and are protective of - the original they adore and really want more of - not changed. Seems like a smart move on Disney's part.
There has been news appearing here and there, prior to Tuesday's monumental election event, and now seems like a good time to take a break from all that, to focus on something positive for a few minutes, to summarize it.
Here's are the latest released details on the upcoming - and significant - differences in the live action version of Beauty and the Beast, in contrast to the animated classic:
Belle's new backstory:
“In the animated movie, it’s her father who is the inventor, and we actually co-opted that for Belle,” said Emma Watson. “I was like, ‘Well, there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books. Also what is she doing with her time?’ So, we created a backstory for her, which was that she had invented a kind of washing machine, so that, instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read instead. So, yeah, we made Belle an inventor.”
"My Belle is very practical," Watson says, during a shooting break. "In the movie she wears these little ballet shoes, and I knew that they had to go. If you're going to ride a horse, and tend your garden and fix machinery, then you need to be in proper boots." (Entertainment Weekly Magazine)
In addition, Maurice’s character is more three-dimensional and instead of being an inventor of oddities, he makes music boxes. “Kevin Kline as Maurice, is making all these music boxes that have to tell the story of Belle not traveling,” according to the the film’s set decorator, Katie Spencer. (source x)The three new songs added the film, add to the story and plot too, and we finally understand why Audra McDonald was cast as Garderobe (it's a good reason). Here's the summary via Entertainment Weekly's magazine:
When Disney releases its live-action remake of Beauty and The Beast on March 17 of next year, viewers will hear three new ballads written by composer Alan Menken — who penned the tunes for the original 1991 animated version with the late Howard Ashman — and lyricist Tim Rice. These include a song performed by Emma Watson’s Belle with her character’s father Maurice (Kevin Kline), and another called “For Evermore,” sung by Dan Stevens’ Beast.
“It ends up being a song called ‘Our Song Lives On,’ and it’s done in a number of forms,” says Menken of the former track. “The first time it’s sung, it’s Belle’s father singing as he’s completing a music box, and basically it’s [about], ‘How does a moment live forever? How do you hang on to precious moments?’ Then, it’s reprised by Belle, and then it’s the song that’s actually over the end credits at the end of the movie. Disney hasn’t announced it yet, but there’s going to be some wonderful singer on the end credits song.”
“‘For Evermore’ is this moment where the Beast now loves Belle, and he realizes that she misses her father, and he acknowledges she’s no longer a prisoner, and when she sees her father’s in trouble, he says, ‘Go to him, go.’ And he voluntarily lets her go,” Menken continues. “He’s basically singing about how he now knows what love is, as he watches her leave, and he’s climbing up the turret of the castle as she recedes into the distance, just watching her go further and further away.”
“‘Days in the Sun’ is a moment when all of the objects in the castle —and Belle — are going to sleep. Basically, everybody in the castle is having memories of what it used to be when they had their days in the sun. It’s sort of a combination of a lullaby and a remembrance of happier days for everybody.”
The new Beauty and the Beast will also feature a showcase for Broadway legend Audra McDonald, who plays the part of Madame De Garderobe. “It’s a moment within the prologue, just before the spell befalls the castle,” Menken says. “We’re actually at an event at the Prince’s castle, where the Prince is about to be turned into the Beast, and he’s in his very selfish and self-indulgent phase of his life, and we see that, and we have the magnificent Audra McDonald singing this number.” (Adapted from: Entertainment Weekly)
|Fan created poster, combining the EW released pic with the first teaser poster|
Despite fans generally being in ecstasies of happiness, there are superficial criticisms (the dress, the color, the lack of variety in her non-ballgown wardrobe, the Beast's horns) but also some more serious ones, suggesting the changes to Belle's backstory are only tokens in the direction of true feminism. While we don't see any reason why a feminist can't enjoy pretty things, including ball gowns and lovely dances, there is a point to be made about how this relationship develops, as well as Belle's character not having to obviously challenge the status quo of the time period (which, although nebulous, is clearly not today). Hopefully, seeing Belle grappling with common ideas about a woman's place by doing such activities as inventing conveniences for herself makes the difference more clear, but, as suggested by one blogger, altering her historically accurate costume - had she been made to wear one - to suit her independent needs, would have perhaps made that even more obvious. We would suggest it's a little early to throw down the gauntlet in accusation of pseudo-feminism, but you can be certain many will be watching for just that.
To date, however, all signs point to the listed 'updates' above as being positive for us here in the fairy tale newsroom, but we're still very curious to see how the prisoner-to-lover transition is handled, as well as the reaction to falling in love and transformation. It's rare to hear those who truly love the original fairy tale (and Cocteau's film) be happy with the Beast's transformation back to a man. They still want their Beast. We can't imagine that would be acceptable in a family film, but it's still a relevant issue that needs addressing. We hope it will be.