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« Whatever Happened to... NO! | Main | Release Date Jockeying: Hey Studios, Keep Spreading the Wealth! »
Thursday
Mar052015

Downton Abbey is The New Gateway to Disney Stardom!

Have you been following the casting announcements for Disney's live-action adaptation of their Best Picture nominated classic Beauty & The Beast (1991)? First came the collective girlfriend of millennials Emma Watson as Belle. But she's not the only Beauty in the cast. Former Downton Abbey star "Cousin Matthew" himself Dan Stevens, who slimmed down and muscled up since that show and immediately shifted perceptions with an about face turn in The Guest, signed on as the cursed romantic Beast. 

Given that Lady Rose (Lily James) and Daisy from the Downton kitchen (Sophie McShera) are playing Cinderella and her stepsister this coming weekend at the movies one has to wonder which Downton Abbey star is next for which big Disney property? Maggie Smith's schedule just opened up Mouse House. Jump on that before someone else grabs her!

But in all seriousness... Downton Abbey has a deep bench of valuable players some of whom made their names in the movies (Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern chief among them), some of whom will probably be content to stay well employed in British television, and a few of which are already trying their hand at transferring to film. But how much longer can that series keep telling its repetitive story? (Don't misunderstand: I love Downton -- even when its at its weakest -- but the writers room is definitely on loop)

If I were a casting director I'd have the whole cast (so many rich character talents) under surveillance for restlessness and would definitely be trying to lure the ice cold beauty Michelle Dockery away. She's hitting movie screens this summer in Tarsem Singh's next movie Self/less. which happens to co-star her new love interest on Downton film/tv regular and handsomest man on earth Matthew Goode.

But back to BEAUTY & THE BEAST for a wrap-up
It looks like Luke Evans will be Gaston to Emma Watson's Beauty in the forthcoming live action adaptation of the musical. No word yet on whether he'll put on more muscle or if 'ev'ry last inch of him's covered in hair' but he can definitely sing!  

 

Do you think he harmonizes with Jon Kartajarena at home

 

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Reader Comments (16)

Wait. I thought Stevens was playing the Beast and Evans Gaston? Anyway, I don't watch Downtown Abbey but if it produces some decent movie stars then I won't complain. In saying that, I've yet to get behind this Fairy Tale Movie-thing.

This may come off as hypocritical as A) I watch Once Upon A Time (a show with so many flaws that I never really can defend it) and B) I am a defender of Comic Book/Studio Franchise Films on this site; but none of these Fairy Tale revisions have been any good. Snow White and The Huntsman had nice special effects but the script sucked and it looked like a low rent LOTR; Maleficent had good ideas but fell extremely short; and the rest were just nothing.

Obviously, these films didn't have the best scripts behind them. Still, I think the true problem with these things are that Fairy Tales by their design are meant to be pretty simplistic stories. Therefore, this lead to studios either adding faux depth to fill them out or just sticking to what Disney already did. Beauty and the Beast COULD buck the trend but I have my doubts.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

I'm pretty sure he does more than that.

Kortajarena is so dreamy

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Daniel --sorry typo. I listed both of them as Beast. I meant Gaston the second time -hence the lyric quote.

March 5, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Evand and Stevens are great casting choices. I like Emma, but not for this. She seems too young, no?

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Sad man -- well, she's only 8 years younger than Dan Stevens so that's not much by hollywood standards.

March 5, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

With some actors you barely notice an age gap but I think the age difference will be really noticeable with Dan and Emma.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

She still looks too highschool to me. Stevens definitely doesn't. She would work better if the other two actors looked younger. Emma is gorgeous and has the Belle look, I just don't like these three together. Oh well, it's not a big deal really. There's been worse age/look differences in the past.

That said, Im more excited to see the French version with Lea Seydoux.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Michelle Dockery should def. be getting more opportunities!

Not a fan of the Dan Stevens casting for Beast. Someone taller and broader would be better.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I don't have a problem with an age difference between Belle and Beast. I always thought there was a decade between them anyway.

Dockery needs to find a project that is against type (put Lady Mary out to pasture for a bit). A nice nun or a homicidal black widow (although that may end up being a little too close to Lady Mary.).

A lot depends on how Cinderella does at the box office, but I expect it to be a hit. A family film with faces mom and dad recognize released at an off time of year. Good planning.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

All for this... mostly so Dan Steven's profile can increase all the more. Dockery should certainly be someone I expect to make a leap. In a few years down, maybe both can have a Revolutionary Road type reunion.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Watson is the draw. Stevens and Evans are just along for the ride. Interesting hat they are casting it with all English actors.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I'm waiting to see what Michelle Dockery does after she leaves the Abbey. The show is sorta spinning its wheels at this (it still delights), but Dockery absolutely slayed this season. "The Life and Loves of Lady Mary" (we set it in a less oppressive time so all the sex - and there's plenty - won't be a problem). would be a massive hit. I would love to see her take a Rose Byrne type of part in a comedy. She's obviously been taking notes from Dame Maggie Smith, as she's become quite skillful in delivering a sly turn of phrase.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVal

Ah, Lady Mary. So they killed off Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) in a car accident, and now they've brought in Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode), a car enthusiast, as her love interest. Really, Mr. Fellowes? And for being such a biatch, Lady Mary always gets the good looking ones compared to poor Lady Edith...

Emma and Dan will be fine as Belle and Beast. She has a look, like Sally Field, that will never truly age. And don't folks realize that we like our fairytale characters to have English accents? Remember Drew's in Ever After? As least this cast has real ones.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Just went to the IMDb page for the movie, apparently Emma Thompson is rumored to play Mrs. Potts, Timothy Spall is rumored to play Maurice and Matt Lucas (from Bridesmaids, he and Rebel Wilson were Kristen Wiig's roommates in that) is rumored as Lefou. Interesting choices all (if they turn out to be true) and I'll be interested to hear them sing (especially hearing Spall sing "No Matter What").

What I'm interested in with this project is seeing what they do with the nmbers that weren't in the original Disney animated movie, particularly "Is This Home..." and "If I Can't Love Her", both of which are very stage-y numbers and I would like to see what Bill Condon does with them (Gaston's Me number I think will work perfectly on film).

Also, I think Emma Watson's more earthy, young look will fit the character of Belle. She's a small town girl and most Disney heroines are supposed to be teenagers anyway (or in their early 20's at most), and we know Watson can pull off being the girl who is (or at least thinks is) smarter than everyone around her (Hermione anyone?), so she feels perfect for the role. I only now Dan Stevens as Cousin Matthew, but I'm curious to see what he does with the Beast.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Richter Scale -- Spall actually has musical experience! and everyone loved Emma in Sweeney Todd so the cast does sound exciting.

March 5, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Oh, right, I forgot Spall was in Sweeney Todd (and sang beautifully in it). What I find interesting is that they would give him Maurice, when I would probably see him more as Cogsworth or Lefou (too old for the latter probably, but you get the point), so I'll be interested to see what he does with Maurice. And, yes, Emma Thompson is always a treat, so I'm looking forward to seeing her as Mrs. Potts (if these rumors end up being true, only Watson, Stevens and Evans are confirmed)... :)

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

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