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Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time that has captivated the hearts of people of all ages. I will admit when I first heard about this beloved animated classic being made into a live action film I had my doubts. However, once I saw the first preview I could tell that this movie would be something worth watching. Earlier this week I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a special event with a Beauty and the Beast live movie q&a with the director and members of the cast. Following the q&a we got to watch the film in IMAX. I shared a link with free tickets to this event in the My Belle Elle private Facebook group. You can find more information about joining the group here.
The event I attended was held at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. This is the location that director Bill Condon, actress Emma Watson (Belle), actor Dan Stevens (Beast), and Josh Gad (LeFou) came to. The Beauty and the Beast cast q&a was live streamed to other theatres across the USA who were hosting advanced IMAX screenings. Those who could not attend the event had the option to watch the live stream of the q&a on Facebook.
8 Enchanting Moments with the Beauty and the Beast Cast
When Emma Watson Shared Why Belle Made Such An Impact On Her Childhood
Emma: “the first time I saw Belle sing Belle Reprise which is the song that she sings after Gaston, we would say it was a proposal but really it was just a yeah she’s gonna marry me. And she just sings this song which is the I want song of all I want songs. I mean it’s like the kind of indignation and sort of quiet fury that she feels that people won’t let her be the fullest version of herself. That they won’t let her be whole. Just, gosh I’m getting emotional talking about this now, it really struck this chord and it never left me. And this role for me was just, she is a sacred part of my childhood, and my understanding of what it is to be a woman. What my future might look like. And so many things like what love was. Seeing beyond something superficial. Seeing into someone. And I just, you know the chance to actually play her as an adult was just like (she let out a deep breath) wow, so cool. Um, so yeah it’s been pretty major for me as you can probably tell by how emotional I just go. So it’s been amazing for me. It’s been pretty cool.”
For me, it was so special to hear how much Belle meant to Emma. I could tell how genuine her admiration for the character was and how real her excitement was. And I think it was her attachment to the character that really added something extra to her performance. When my Mom asked me how Emma was as Belle I said she was perfect. In the animated version Belle drives me crazy but Emma’s portrayal of Belle made me see the character in a completely different way.
When Josh Gad Shared That He’s Been Waiting to Sing and Dance On Screen
Before this q&a my knowledge of Josh Gad was rather limited. I knew that he voiced Olaf in Frozen and that he was in The Wedding Ringer. However, I had no idea that he had a background in musical theatre and had done The Book of Mormon. The q&a moderator said to Josh that it looked like he was having an amazing time making the movie.
Josh “Um, I wasn’t.” Of course, this response made everyone laugh just like his character LeFou does throughout the movie. “This was the most fun I think I’ve ever had making a movie. Look, I come from musical theatre. Ever since Book of Mormon I’ve been waiting to do this. That sounds weird. Ever since Book of Mormon I’ve been wanting to do a Disney film. I take that back. But I’ve been wanting to perform on screen. I’ve been waiting to sing and dance. And being able to do it opposite Luke Evans, I wish he could have been here, he’s incredible in this film. Luke, a lot of people don’t know, comes from the same background in the west end.”
Sure, Josh was in Frozen and he sang in the movie but doing voice over work is different from performing in front of the camera. I could feel what a dream come true it was for Josh that he got to be involved in this movie. It would mean everything to me to get to sing and dance in a movie. Especially one that I loved so much when I was younger.
When Josh Gad Shared What It Meant To Bring To Life One Of The Beauty and the Beast Characters
Josh: “Bringing life to this character and especially bringing to life again one of these Howard Ashman, Alan Menkin classic songs. Like that is wish fulfillment for me. That’s a dream come true.”
He also shared that he remembers seeing the original at the movie theatre and that at the end of Be Our Guest, the end of Gaston and the end of Beauty and the Beast (the song) people applauded. This was a big deal because while it is common to applaud at the end of musical numbers on stage it is rare that it happens at the movie theatre.
One other thing Josh shared that struck a chord with me was that the 2nd regeneration of Disney animated movies was the soundtrack to his childhood. I am sure that a lot of you reading this can relate to that. Now imagine that you get a chance to sing one of those iconic songs yourself for a movie. That is pretty epic.
I got chills when the audience applauded several times throughout the screening even though the cast members had already left. It was beautiful to see how much the everyone was responding to the movie.
When Emma Watson Shared How She Helped Bring Belle To Life
Emma shared that when she first saw sketches of Belle’s costumes she noticed that the shoes were beautiful ballet slippers. While that worked fine for Belle when she was an animated character Emma wondered how she would be getting on and off Rusty, the horse, and decided that Belle would need riding boots and bloomers. She was passionate that Belle have a job. I cannot expand more on this subject without giving spoilers but I’ll just say I absolutely loved the small things they added to the character of Belle.
When Emma Watson Shared What It Meant To Her To Play Two Iconic Characters
Some of you may know that Emma got her start playing Hermione in the Harry Potter series. Hermione and Belle were the two iconic characters that the q&a moderator was referencing when asking her this question. However, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book that has meant so much to me. Since Emma played Sam in the movie adaptation this is her third iconic character in my eyes.
Emma: “My mind blows. It really, really does. I mean, um, it’s hard to say, I just feel really, as you say it’s remarkable for an actor to get to play one of their childhood heroines. But to get to play two is just absolutely insane. I, yeah, I think I just, what am I going to do now? I’m screwed. Seriously, I had moments in this movie, and I remember saying this to Bill. We’d done the dance with the waltz in the ballroom and I was in the yellow dress. And I was like “I am peaking at 26. There is no moment in my life that will be as beautiful as this. Like this is the ultimate romantic moment. Like Dan Stevens is there ready to waltz with me. I’m wearing the yellow dress. I’m like where do I go from here. So no, yeah, its been amazing.”
Can you even imagine what it must feel like to get to bring beloved characters to life? Emma did say that even though she didn’t want to mess up on behalf of the audience. She also didn’t want to mess up it up for her six year old self. Isn’t she too cute?
When Director Bill Condon Shared Some Information About The Movie
Bill shared that the castle was a continuous set that would take about five minutes to walk through. Anyone else thinking they would pay to get to walk through that set? They also built Belle’s village. Which once again I would love to get to walk through.
It was important to Bill that even with digital characters that everything be as real as it could be because as an audience you can see the difference. That is true that you can see a difference if something is real or CGI. With this movie though it was all done so beautifully and with such care that nothing distracted me. In other words, I wasn’t constantly thinking “well that’s fake and that’s fake too”.
Bill said that he could only count on his own sense of how much he loved the original. He used that to judge whether or not he was crossing any line. I love all of the various ways that they expanded upon the original. This isn’t a cookie cutter live action remake. The differences don’t take anything away from the original. They expanded upon the story and the characters in a wonderful way.
When Dan Stevens Shared What It Was Like To Play The Beast
A lot of the q&a was centered around Emma but we did get to hear from Dan Stevens as well. Did you know that he had to play the role twice? During the week he would be in a costume and in stilts doing scenes with Emma. They would be filming his body. On Friday nights he would have all of these dots applied to his face. This time they would be filming his face so that they could get the expressions of the beast. Then they would combine what they filmed of his body with what they filmed of his face.
When Emma Watson Shared What It Was Like To Watch the Beauty and the Beast Movie For The First Time
Emma said that watching yourself on the big screen is like when you hear a recording of your voice and think “is that what I sound like” only times a thousand. She would twist herself up like a pretzel when watching the Harry Potter movies when she was younger and said that she was fully pretzeled when she watched Beauty and the Beast. However, she also said that it was a magical experience because things that were green screens or lights when filming were now magical characters in the movie. She felt like an audience member because so many things were a surprise.
My Thoughts About The Beauty and the Beast Movie
I am thrilled to share what it was like for me to watch the live action Beauty and the Beast movie for the first time. Enchanting, beautiful, classic, and heartwarming are the thoughts that first come to mind. I found myself smiling throughout so much of the movie. At the end my friend and I stayed until the very last credit rolled listening to the beautiful music. My friend and I loved the soundtrack so much! To say that I was shocked by how much this movie meant to me is an understatement. It reminded me that as a little girl I would dress up like Belle and perform the songs from the movie. This is why Disney has so much success. They find a way to tap into your heart and awaken your childhood memories.
I would give the Beauty and the Beast live movie five out of five stars. The cast did an incredible job. Luke Evans is the perfect Gaston. In fact, I am now onboard if they want to make a movie about Gaston showing how he became such a pig as long as Luke still plays him. I highly recommend watching this movie.