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Emma Thompson and Kevin Kline join Beauty and the Beast, now set for 2017

After the main cast all fell into place, Disney has now officially announced a release date for their live action BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. The film, directed by Bill Condon from a screenplay by Stephen Chbosky, will star Emma Watson as Belle, Luke Evans as Gaston, Dan Stevens as The Beast, Josh Gad as La Fou, as well as the just announced Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts and Kevin Kline as Belle's father, Maurice. The film is now slated to hit theaters on March 17, 2017.

The live action BEAUTY AND THE BEAST comes on the heels of Disney's CINDERELLA grossing over $130 million worldwide on it's opening weekend at theaters. The Kenneth Branagh film managed to draw audiences without shaking up the traditional story very much. The biggest difference between the 1950 and 2015 versions of CINDERELLA was the exclusion of the musical numbers. Disney's press release for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST confirms the film will feature the Academy Award-winning music from Alan Menken and Sir Tim Rice. The film will also feature new songs written expressly for the new film.

Emma Thompson takes over the role of Mrs. Potts from the iconic Angela Lansbury. I would assume the next roles to be announced would be Lumiere and Cogsworth, the candelabra and clock characters voiced by David Ogden Stiers and the late Jerry Orbach in the 1991 film. Production is set to begin soon which means we should be hearing about those roles soon.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST holds a historic place as the first animated film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Who knows, maybe the live action version can replicate those critical accolades. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST hits screens March 17, 2017 in 3D.

Source: Disney

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