Luke Evans is in negotiations to play the villainous Gaston in Disney’s live-action retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” which stars “Harry Potter” actress Emma Watson as Belle and “Downton Abbey” alum Dan Stevens as the Beast.
Bill Condon is directing, with David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films producing. The script was written by Evan Spiliotopoulos and rewritten by Steve Chbosky.
Production will begin later this year. No release date has been set.
In the original tale, Gaston was the handsome antagonist who tried to win Belle’s heart and, after losing it to the beast, led a group of townspeople on a hunt to kill the creature.
The studio’s 1991 animated feature version of “Beauty and the Beast” grossed more than $375 million worldwide, spawned a Broadway play and became one of the few animated pics to receive a best picture Oscar nomination.
Disney has several reboots of classic tales on the horizon, with “Cinderella,” starring Lily James, opening next Friday. Also in the works are 3-D retellings of “The Jungle Book” and “Pete’s Dragon.”
Evans, a busy actor in the fantasy realm of late, was last seen in New Line’s “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” He also starred in Universal’s “Dracula Untold” after playing the villain in “Fast and Furious 6.”
The Welsh actor can be seen next in Ben Wheatley’s “High Rise.” He is also currently shooting “Message From the King” alongside Chadwick Boseman, to be followed up with a starring role in another Wheatley film, “Free Fire.”
Dan Stevens, the breakout actor of Downton Abbey and last year’s cult action movie The Guest, is in negotiations to play the Beast/Prince in Disney’s live-action retelling of Beauty and the Beast, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Bill Condon is directing what is turning out so far to be an all-British cast production while David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are producing.
Beauty continues Disney’s plan of taking some of its animated classics and brushing them up for a 21st century live-action makeover. Cinderella, which also features mostly British leads, is the latest — it opens March 13 — and it’s generating great reviews.
Last year’s Maleficent was a live-action take on SleepingSleeping Beauty and made $758.4 million worldwide.
Beauty, a French fairy tale, tells of a young woman who takes her father’s place as a prisoner in a monstrous being’s castle, only to fall in love with the creature, who turns out to be a prince.
While the studio has not confirmed if the retelling is a musical, when Watson was cast inJanuary, she implied it was in a Facebook post: “It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There.’ … Time to start some singing lessons.”
The highly sought-after role will be a big get for Stevens, who last starred in The Guest,Adam Wingard‘s action thriller, and has been working in supporting roles in such movies as Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and A Walk Among the Tombstones.
He is repped by WME, Julian Belfrage Associates, and Peikoff Mahan.
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