The splendor that is the live-action retelling of Beauty and the Beast is about to be released on digital HD and Blu-ray on June 6, and we can’t wait to relive the magic from the comfort of our own living rooms! But until then, we have 13 delightful facts that we bet you didn’t already know about this tale as old as time. And for even more informative tidbits, make sure you’ve also read our live-action Beauty and the Beast fun facts! But for now, relax, grab a snack, and get comfy in your chair as we proudly present … this information:
1. Dan Stevens waltzed on stilts.
Dan Stevens said of the iconic ballroom scene, “Emma and I had a lot of fun learning that waltz, and it wasn’t easy on stilts.” We bet it wasn’t! And we are now even more impressed with his dancing skills! According to the film’s director, Bill Condon, “Dan wore a body suit with big stilts that gave him the height of the Beast …” And apparently walking around in the Beast suit was a workout for Dan’s calf muscles. While first figuring out how to maneuver on the stilts, Dan says his toes were numb for about a week!
2. Dan Stevens also had to dance with just his face!
How is this possible? Well, after delivering a performance in his Beast body suit, he’d then wear a facial motion capture rig. His face was sprayed, covering every pore, and he would have to act each scene with just his face, including his ballroom waltz scene with Emma Watson! Director Bill Condon said Dan Stevens would look forward to acting with the facial motion capture rig because he saw it as a technical challenge.
3. Ewan McGregor had never heard “Be Our Guest” before he took the part of Lumiere.
Wait, what? Ewan, where have you been? How can this be? According to the film’s director, Bill Condon, this is true! Here’s what Condon said: “We ended up finding the one person on the planet, Ewan McGregor, who had never heard the song before, so he was learning it as a new song …” Wow! We loved that McGregor made this song his own, and he gave a fabulous performance!
4. Ian McKellen’s favorite Beauty and the Beast song hasn’t been written yet.
When asked about his favorite song from the film, he admitted his favorite tune has yet to be written: a song sung by Cogsworth! According to McKellen, it would go something like this, “My name is Cogsworth, I’m a clock, tick, tock; My name is Cogsworth.” Wow, those are some pretty amazing lyrics. Despite his efforts to get Cogsworth “a really big number,” it wasn’t meant to be. For more brilliance from Ian McKellen, be sure to read Ian McKellen’s recap of the Beauty and the Beast table read because it is truly delightful!
5. Dan Stevens watched Wreck-It Ralph for inspiration for his role as Beast.
Yes, you read that right. Definitely not the first Disney movie we would have guessed he’d watch as research, but Dan Stevens said it himself, “There’s this psychological rationale about what makes a beast a beast, so I watched everything from Wreck-It Ralph to Citizen Kane to help get me inspired.” That is awesome. We heart you even more, Dan Stevens!
6. Josh Gad wanted to have LeFou become skeptical of Gaston in the film.
We had no idea this was Gad’s idea, but director Bill Condon says it’s so! Alan Menken even changed one of Howard Ashman’s original lyrics in “The Mob Song” to reflect LeFou’s questioning of Gaston’s actions. We loved the depth of LeFou’s character in this retelling, and it’s cool to know that this angle came from the actor. Good call, Josh Gad!
7. Dan Steven’s favorite song is “Days in the Sun.”
We probably would have guessed “Evermore” since Beast sings it, but Dan says, “‘Days in the Sun’ is my favorite song … it’s just beautiful. It is as heartwarming and beautiful as any of the songs from the animated film.”
8. The dresses for the debutantes had to be adapted for the dance numbers.
Did you know that in an 18th century dress, a woman wouldn’t have been able to lift her arms above her head? According to costume designer Jacqueline Durran, this is true. She had to adjust all the dresses for the debutantes to allow for more arm movement for the scene’s choreography.
9. Belle’s blue dress was given pockets to hold her books.
Costume designer Jacqueline Durran purposefully designed pockets into Belle’s iconic blue dress so she could place her books in them. What a perfect touch for an avid reader! Also, Durran made the decision to give Belle boots instead of delicate shoes, “so she could run around the village.” Durran says, “We didn’t want her to be a delicate princess but an active heroine.” We love that!
10. Emma Watson acted with maquettes.
What’s a maquette, you say? No, it’s not a French muppet. Maquettes are objects with lights on them representing the enchanted objects/castle staff as they speak and move. The maquettes provided Emma Watson and other actors with focal points to act off of in a scene. In addition to the maquettes, director Bill Condon also used rehearsal recordings and pre-visualizations to help assist actors who were performing against animated objects.
11. An apron that costume designer Jacqueline Durran bought as a student inspired one of Belle’s dresses.
When Jacqueline was just a student, she bought an 18th Century apron with a woven silk pattern on it that would become the inspiration for Belle’s gown at the end of the film. She found an artist in England who was able to paint the design, which was then enlarged and printed digitally. Talk about a great buy!
12. The Prince’s coat features Swarovski crystals in the shape of a wild boar, a dragon, and a lion.
A fun historical fact: It was not uncommon for rich aristocrats to wear coats covered in jewels in 18th Century France. Fancy! The Prince’s coat that Dan Stevens wears in the prologue features embroidery and Swarovski crystals, and Jacqueline Durran says, “If you look closely you can see the coat has a wild boar, a dragon, and a lion which are taken directly from the Prince’s family crest …” How elaborate! We will be watching more closely next time!
13. The provincial town where Belle and Maurice live was set in Villeneuve.
Production designer Sarah Greenwood says that the film’s opening number “Belle” was set in a real French village from the 1740s named Villeneuve, and that the crew considered actually filming on location in France. However for various reasons they ended up building the sets at Shepperton Studios in England. She says that the village they built was “dictated by the choreography, the pacing, and the beats” of the scene, so it ended up being for the best that they were able to customize the sets to their specific needs.
Bonus Fact: The sets predominantly reflect the French Rococo style.
Remember in the animated movie when Cogsworth takes Belle on a tour of the castle and talks about Rococo design? Well the style, prevalent in the 1740s, was a very excessive and elaborate style that was used on the Palace of Versailles. And it was used in the live-action Beauty and the Beast, as well!
What did you think about these facts from the live-action Beauty and the Beast? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to check out Beauty and the Beast on June 6 when it comes out on digital HD and Blu-ray!