Beauty and the Beast is among the centuries-old fairy tales that Walt Disney Pictures previously adapted into an animated feature – and now, the studio is re-inventing the story as a modern live-action movie. The project has a director in Oscar-winner Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 & 2), along with an initial script draft put together by Evan Spiliotopoulos (Hercules); according to the latest update, though, the screenplay is getting a rewrite.
EW is reporting that Disney’s Beauty and the Beast retelling is going to get a fresh script draft penned by Stephen Chbosky, the author/filmmaker whose past work includes the critically-acclaimed movie adaptation of his own teen coming of age novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. EW‘s report also speculates that Emma Watson, who costarred in Wallflower, could be enticed to headline Disney’s Beauty project, given that she and Chbosky have shown an interest in working together again (their original plan to reunite on While We’re Young doesn’t look to happen). That depends on what happens with Warner Bros.’ Beauty retelling, though, as Watson is still loosely attached to star in that project.
Elsewhere, outside of the Disney realm, the live-action fairy tale movie craze is still ongoing. Warner Bros. has Joe Wright’s Peter Pan origins film arriving in 2015 and has seemingly not given up on its own Beauty and the Beast re-telling yet, despite Guillermo del Toro having stepped down as director earlier this year. Meanwhile, Universal has Sofia Coppola set to direct a live-action version of The Little Mermaid, and has schedule a 2016 release date for Frank Darabont’s Snow White and the Huntsman prequel The Huntsman (which Spiliotopoulos also wrote the initial script draft for).
It’s not clear yet how similar Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast will be to the studio’s Oscar-winning animated musical take on the story. The Mouse House’s Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent both put fresh spins – with a distinctly contemporary mentality – on their respective fairy tale inspirations, so as much will presumably hold true for the company’s Beauty retelling.
However, both Condon and Chbosky have experience in the musical genre, as the former scripted Chicago – in addition to his work on Dreamgirls – while the latter penned the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical, Rent. Which is to say, it’s certainly plausible that this new version of Beauty and the Beast could also have some musical elements (even if the story ends up standing a greater distance away) – assuming the film gets made, of course.
Chances are, though, that Condon’s Beauty and the Beast will indeed see the light of day, seeing how Disney’s upcoming slate of live-action fairy tale projects – Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella and Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book in 2015, followed by the sequel Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass in 2016 – are expected to perform well at the box office. And thus, will keep the studio’s demand for more films of that ilk, alive and well.
We’ll bring you more information on Beauty and the Beast when we have it.