In Depth

Beauty and the Beast: Live action film vs original animation

Emma Watson and Dan Stevens are 'completely magical' as new posters reveal more about the Disney remake

Ewan McGregor 'too Mexican' in Beauty and the Beast

18 January

Ewan McGregor had to re-record his lines for the new version of Beauty and the Beast after his first attempt at a French accent came out sounding Mexican.

McGregor is playing Lumiere, the candlestick voiced by Jerry Orbach in the 1991 Disney film, in a live-action remake starring Emma Watson as Belle and Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens as the beast. The film is due for release in March.

In an interview with Total Film, director Bill Condon revealed that the Scottish actor had to take a crash course with a vocal coach before returning to the studio to tackle the dialogue again, this time with a "flawless, beautiful French accent".

Skip to 52 seconds in to hear McGregor's take on Lumiere:[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"103701","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

McGregor had spoken of his difficulty nailing the accent when he appeared two years ago on The Graham Norton Show, saying: "They didn't want the French 'rrr' … when you take the 'rrr' out, it sounds totally Mexican."

The anecdote is particularly ironic given that McGregor has been married to a French woman for 20 years, says Ok! magazine. The actor's wife and mother of the couple's four children, Eve Mavrakis, is from the Dordogne region of south-west France.

It is not the only accent McGregor has struggled to master recently. The actor, who will play twins in the upcoming season of Fargo, told Entertainment Weekly that his character's Minnesota twang was the "hardest accent I've ever done".

Beauty and the Beast: Who's in it and when's it out?

17 November

Disney's new movie adaptation of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast is already causing a stir after its trailer broke records for online views. Here are all your questions about the new movie answered:

What's it about?

It's a live-action remake of the 1991 animated film of the same name. Both are based on the 18th-century fairy tale by French author Jeanne-Marie Leprince Beaumont.

It tells the story of a young woman called Belle who is imprisoned by a Beast in his castle. After overcoming her initial fears, she discovers that behind the Beast's forbidding exterior lies the heart and soul of a true prince. Meanwhile, a bloodthirsty hunter called Gaston has plans to hunt the Beast down and take Belle for himself.

Who plays the lead roles?

The film stars Emma Watson (Harry Potter's Hermione) as Belle and Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens as the Beast. Luke Evans (Girl on the Train, Furious 7) plays Gaston, the hunter. It also features Kevin Kline as Belle's father and Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the Beast's maitre d', who has been transformed into a candelabra. Ian McKellen is Cogsworth the clock, Emma Thompson plays Mrs Potts the teapot and Nathan Mack plays her son Chip the teacup.

Why is the trailer big news?

The second trailer for the live-action adaptation has set a new online viewing record with 127.6 million views in its first 24 hours, outdoing recent trailers for Fifty Shades Darker and Star Wars.

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The first teaser for Beauty and the Beast also knocked the Star Wars equivalent from the number one spot in May, with 91.8 million views, topping Star Wars's 88 million.

The figures include at least 27 million from Emma Watson's Facebook page alone.

Will it capture the magic of the cartoon version?

Several commentators have already noted that the trailer for the new movie seems a lot like the 1991 cartoon version. Writing on Vox, Caroline Framke says that, from the looks of the new trailer, it will be about "as faithful an adaptation as they come". Seriously, says the critic "this looks like the exact same movie".

Framke notes that the story is the same: a Beast who lives on the edge of town captures Belle's father and demands she stay for his freedom. The two fall for each other, the townspeople oppose it and true love brings miracles. The scenes from the trailer are "shot-for-shot" copies of scenes from its animated version – such as the iconic moment where Belle and the Beast descend opposite staircases to meet in the ballroom, she says.

Alan Menken's music from the original will be featured in the new film. He has also written three new songs with Tim Rice.

How 'feminist' is it?

Watson, who has worked as a UN ambassador for women, claims she has made her character Belle a more independent woman, by insisting she have a job, reports the Daily Telegraph. The actress says she was troubled by the lack of information about Belle's back-story and was left wondering: "What is she doing with her time?"

In the animated film, Belle's father Maurice is a madcap inventor, hounded by uncomprehending villagers, but in the new version, Belle also works as an inventor. She creates a washing machine so she can spend her time reading instead of doing the laundry.

When does it come out?

Beauty and the Beast will be released on 17 March 2017.

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