Casting Call: The Beast/Prince (Beauty and the Beast)
This week Emma Watson was announced as the lead in the upcoming live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” this really comes as no surprise as fans have been pretty much set on this casting for years. But this leaves us with a major question: Who will be her Beast? This film will face several issues in production and casting, from bringing to life those inanimate characters to giving us a Beast that doesn’t look like a man in a mask and fun-fur suit. My hope is that we are not plagued with yet another live-action Disney film filled with over used CGI, sure it will be necessary for most of the characters, but it would be nice to see some mixture of practical makeup along with the necessary animation. But for right now let’s get down to the fun part, who would be the prefect Beast?
First off, what is necessary to be the Beast? A mixture of ferocity and ego with a dash of a romantic teddy bear heart that can be turned on by the advances of a lovely young woman. He is a man-beast sure, a prince transformed because of his own hubris and rudeness, but there is an under layer of vulnerability and caring for his people that any actor who takes on the role will need to balance. As far as age, we are not as limited as with other Disney princes, Emma herself is 25 which opens the age range for the Beast up to about 35 to make it less “icky” for children to watch and believe the romantic relationship. It will also come down to the voice, as the actor will no doubt either be in makeup the majority of the film or animated in some way. So, overall the actor will need to be able to pull of a level of physical intimidation, a grizzly animal nature, but have some vulnerability which will most likely live in the eyes.
Here are my top choices.
My top choice came quite quickly to me as he not only looks the part but his star is on the rise and he could use an extra push into the spot light to get his career really going. Currently he stars in Outlander, a Starz original series based on the book series by Diana Gabaldon, his first major role in an American production. Why would he be the absolute perfect choice? First off, his overall look is pretty much a perfect match for the Prince in Disney’s animated, he can pull off the clean shaven look or rough and tumble animal look, plus just look at those eyes. Besides the obviously flattering exterior, his voice would be a great thing to play with for any (possibly but hopefully not) animated character, a Scottish brogue would fit the picture of the Beast quite nicely. Finally he has the ability to play with the balance of cuddly lover boy and protective gritty fighter, going from soft to quite severe and serious smoothly.
To be honest Heughan is just too perfect in my mind, but if I had to choose runner ups they would be the following.
Didn’t I say it would come down to the eyes? Ian has a pair that just drag you in and make you believe he could be a charming man under any beastly exterior. Currently one of the stars of the CW’s Vampire Diaries, Ian already plays with the juxtaposition of animalistic predator and tender hearted romantic and would make an interesting choice for the Beast.
Another television star sure, and one that is rather unknown, a running theme in this casting list, he currently stars as Ichabod Crane on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow. As you can see his overall look, the mix of rugged and slightly sweet, fits the bill, but again no casting can be based on looks alone. Mison brings a great deal of strength to a show that would die probably without it, he can play charming and witty, even aloof, while also still intimidating all of which the Beast must be if we are to both fear and love him.
And now for something a little bit different, Hoult has a look/feel that could take the Beast in a completely different direction. Probably best known for being the newest incarnation of Beast (ha, I see the connection there too, forgive me) in the newest X-Men films and his upcoming role in Mad Max: Fury Road, Hoult has a lot going on right now but taking on the Prince/Beast could be an interesting direction. He is slightly smaller and less brawny looking that my other choices, but I could see him playing off of Watson’s Belle beautifully, the relationship between the two is of high importance and he could definitely bring in a sense of real, yet dark, romance.
This one is taking into consideration the fact that this will be a live-action musical, so bringing in someone in with not only good acting chops, a great look but a great set of vocals is of high importance. Previously seen in the filmed version of Les Miserables, as well as a variety of television series, Tveit is an accomplished stage actor with an amazing voice, who would be an inetersting, and some what more “Disney-fied” choice for the Prince/Beast. He has a look that is slightly lighter and less intimidating, or perhaps nicer, than the other choices above, but he also has the ability also play around with a serious and dark side, giving us a mystery to work with in the film.
On my wish list but will never happen: Michael Fassbender, Henry Cavill, Tom Hardy, Jamie Dorman. All of these actors would be interesting options, unfortunately they are all a little old for a pairing with Watson, also they could easily be too distracting because they are so associated with other well-known characters/franchises.
I am hoping that whomever they choose it isn’t a huge star that would overtake the film, the character of Belle should really be the focus, and when a huge star is brought in for these kinds of films the female lead is overshadowed. Belle is one of the most important animated characters in Disney’s pantheon, she is a woman who doesn’t seek a man but rather has a driving desire to learn and improve herself, I just want a film that honors that.
Who would you pair up with Emma Watson’s Belle?