There’s no shortage of Disney reboots on the horizon — just yesterday, the studio announced a new Mary Poppins movie is headed our way — but one of the most exciting live-action remakes on the horizon is Bill Condon‘s adaptation of the 1991 animated classic Beauty and the Beast. As if the phrase “Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast” isn’t exciting enough, Disney has lined up an exceptional cast featuring Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as The Beast, Ian McKellan as Cogsworth, Ewan McGreggor as Lumiere, the impeccably cast Josh Gad as Le Fou, and Luke Evans as the big bad, Gaston.
While speaking to Evans about Ben Wheatley‘s High Rise at the Toronto International Film Festival, Steve took the opportunity to ask a few questions about his experience on the film. Evans talked about his excitement about the project, working with Condon, his on and off-screen chemistry with Gad, singing live on set, and shared his thoughts on the new songs joining the beloved soundtrack. Check out what he had to say in the video, and read on below for his quotes.
Evans had nothing but good things to say about his “magical” on-set experience working with Condon, and his excitement about bringing to life one of Disney’s most famous villains.
I’m a huge fan as well and to get to work with Bill — not only to get to work with Bill Condon, but also to be able to do Beauty and the Beast with Bill Condon, I couldn’t have dreamed that magic cocktail up in my head. And the fact that I got to do it — I got to sing, I got to play one of Disney’s most famous bad guys. I can mention Gaston to anybody in the world and they will sing me a line from the song. It’s extraordinary. This is 18 months before the film comes out and I’m already hearing “I use antlers in all of my decorating”, and it’s like wow, “I eat four dozen eggs every morning”, and all that stuff.
It’s extraordinary the impact that animated film had all the way back in 1991 when I was 12. It’s part of my life, part of my childhood and I got to bring him to life under the amazing, detailed attention of Bill who loved every second of it, is the happiest man I know and the most pleasant human being I could ever wish to be directed by. He was having the time of his life; we all were. I mean, come on, it’s Disney. Everything about this film was a treat to see, to look, to watch, to be on set. It was magical.
Beauty and the Beast stands unique from Disney’s other recent live-action adaptations by maintaining the musical format, and Evans revealed that while they pre-recorded the songs, they also performed them live on set to offer more options in the editing room.
We pre-recorded every, but some of us sang live on set as well, during the takes. We were mic’d and they recorded that and I think afterwords, in sound, they’ll be able to chose whether the live version is better than the pre-recorded version. We’ll never know! But I’m a singer, so I’ve always been used to singing live on stage, doing eight shows a week for a year or more. So I’m very used to not miming. I’ve never mimed in my life, so I didn’t mime, I sang full out every take to my own voice in the background. So did Josh [Gad]. Josh and I really loved every minute of it, we’re proper theater lovers, me and Josh.
Continuing with the music theme, Evans also spoke a bit about the new songs from original composer Alan Menken (along with his writing partner Tim Rice), admiring how they complement the original soundtrack while bringing something “incredibly unique and different”.
I’m lucky enough to be one of the first people in the world to hear those two songs, which will become songs that children will sing, adults will sing, people in musicals will end up singing them at some point, they’ll become audition piece, they will become part of this amazing legacy of a film we already have, a story that is so ingrained in our — in my childhood memory.
These two songs. They’re beautiful, they complement everything so well, but they are incredibly unique and different. And the thought and love that has gone into those two songs honor the work of the original so well. It will be a nice thing, especially for the fans, to hear these two new songs on top of what we already have.
As for the second half of his dynamic duo, Josh Gad’s Le Fou, Evans had high praise for the comedic actor, and talked about how their natural off-screen chemistry bled into their performances.
Josh Gad lives for improv, but what’s wonderful about Josh Gad — he’s a funny man, but he’s an incredibly sensitive actor, and at no point was it “The Josh Gad Show”. Josh is so funny, but he’s so generous as an actor that he helped me be funny many, many times. He’s a very, very generous man. And we’re a duo. We want people to love Gaston and Le Fou, and we didn’t have to try, because I love Josh.
He was an absolute dream to work with. He left, sadly, two weeks before I wrapped and it was not the same. For me, it was just not the same. I missed him terribly because his energy is just contagious. He’s just a wonderful person to be around. I feel like the chemistry that we had together off screen — I mean we used to literally giggle to the point of wetting ourselves laughing at points on set. You know, those long nights on set, and we laughed and we giggled and he’s just so easy to be around, but it came to our characters. We brought it into our characters. So our dynamic and our timing just came from who we were as who we were as Luke and Josh, it came into Gaston and Le Fou very easily. So I’m hoping when we see the final cut in 2017, that that energy and that dynamic and that chemistry that we felt, and everybody seemed to see it, will be there.
Beauty and the Beast arrives in theaters March 17, 2017. Look for more from Steve’s interview with Luke Evans soon.