In anticipation of the release of the live action Beauty and the Beast film from Disney, new details have emerged regarding changes to the film beyond the much talked about LeFou arc. Because I am looking forward to the movie myself, I decided to let you know what some of those changes are.
According to The Hollywood Reporter and Broadway World, Academy Award winning composers Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast/Aladdin/The Little Mermaid) and Tim Rice (The Lion King/Evita) have teamed up to produce three new songs for the movie. The songs are designed to give new insight into the supporting characters as well as flesh out the backstory of the principles as well.
In order to more flesh out the world, the composers and filmmakers decided to explore the back story of some of the characters. There are moments in the film that apparently show the progression of the Prince’s behaviors that lead up to him being turned into the Beast. Actor Dan Stevens, who plays the Beast, told The Hollywood Reporter, “Something Bill, Emma and I wanted to put out is this sense of entitlement and privilege of this spoiled prince who was raised wrong, really, and left to grow into a monster, a hideous man child. It makes for a more interesting journey.” His journey to personal and emotional redemption culminates in the new song “Evermore”, which is the ballad he sings when he chooses to let Belle go.
One of the most iconic moments in the original animated film was the moment that Belle is introduced to the castle’s library. In the live action film, that moment also allows for the audience to know the fate of Belle’s mother. Without spoilers, it involves an enchanted book that allows the reader to travel anywhere in the world. This leads to the song “How Does A Moment Last Forever”, which allows Belle to learn the truth about her mother and a better understanding of her father Maurice.
The characters that are often overlooked when considering the cruelty of the Prince’s curse and the loneliness that it brings is the fact that everyone else who was in the castle is affected as well. Even though you have your comedic moments with characters like Lumiere and Cogsworth, there is the realization that these innocent people with lives, relationships and families were affected by the curse as well. Two peripheral characters that are given their own song are the second floor wardrobe, voiced by multiple Tony award winner Audra McDonald and the first floor harpsicord, voiced by Academy Award nominee and Emmy award winner Stanley Tucci. In the movie, these characters are married and, because of the curse, are unable to be with each other. This loss and sense of separation is in the song “Days in the Sun”, which laments the life they had before.
According to McDonald; “They’ve all got loves and lives they’re missing, and they feel some culpability for why things have happened, so that makes the ending more emotional.”
Personally, this movie had me in the theater the moment it was announced and I have followed the production ever since, holding onto information that my nostalgic love of the film would allow. Knowing that the filmmakers have decided to add more emotional depth to the film through its characters is a welcome addition to my anticipation and I can’t wait to see those moments on screen.