Last week, I had the opportunity to see an advance screening of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Before the screening, we were able to view a live Q&A with members of the cast broadcast from L.A. The cast members present were Emma Watson (Belle), Dan Stevens (Beast), Josh Gad (LeFou), and the director, Bill Condon. Here are a few highlights from the Q&A:
The changes made to the character of Belle were discussed.
The filmmakers wanted Belle to resonate with people today and make her more modern. Emma talked about how they filled out Belle’s backstory and how Emma thought it was very important for Belle to have a vocation. In the movie, Maurice is taken in a different direction. He is more of an artist in the film. The filmmakers thought it would be good to have Belle take on more of the inventor role in the movie and become more of an activist in her community. Emma also talked about some of the costume changes they made for the character of Belle. Originally she had ballet slipper shoes but Emma wanted her to have riding boots and bloomers so she could ride a horse more easily. Emma wanted her to be more than a cartoon, she wanted her to be a living, breathing person.
Dan Stevens was asked about how they filmed the role of the Beast.
Dan Stevens actually had to film all of his scenes twice. First, when he was filming the scenes on the set, he would be in a motion capture muscle suit. The facial capture would be done separately about a week later. They would put UV dots all over his face and he would sit in what he called “the Tron cage” with lots of little cameras. Emma would sit outside the cage and they would film the scenes again. The filmmakers would then blend the facial performance with the motion performance that Dan had done on set.
On filming the iconic ballroom scene.
It took Emma and Dan three months to learn the dance for the scene and they started practicing on day one. Dan Stevens actually performed the dancing on a pair of steel stilts. They would only be able to do the scene a couple of times before Dan became too hot in his suit and would have to be cooled down. Emma compared Dan’s suit to “dancing with the Michelin man.” Bill Condon told us that the dancing sequence was filmed in long, full shots.
I loved being able to listen to this Q&A with the cast. The full Q&A is available to view here on the Beauty and the Beast Facebook page. Make sure to watch for my full review of the movie later this week on the blog!
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast opens this Friday in theaters!