Following Cinderella‘s huge box office success over the weekend, Disney is making a few new announcements for their live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. The Bill Condon-directed film will be adding Emma Thompson and Kevin Kline to the cast.
The two actors will be joining Emma Watson (Harry Potter) as Belle; Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as Beast; Luke Evans (The Hobbit, Dracula Untold) as the brutish Gaston; and Josh Gad (who voices the snowman Olaf in Disney’s animated hit Frozen) as Lefou, Gaston’s sidekick.
Kevin Kline (Last Vegas, A Fish Called Wanda) and Emma Thompson (Harry Potter, Saving Mr. Banks) are the latest additions to the film’s growing cast: Kline will be playing Belle’s father, Maurice, while Thompson will play Mrs. Potts.
Disney has also scheduled the film for a March 17, 2017 theatrical release. The studio’s previous live-action fairy tale adaptations (Alice in Wonderland, Oz: The Great and Powerful, and this month’s Cinderella) have been released in March, and they have almost always won the weekend box office, with the exception of Maleficent, which opened in May of last year. Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book will also be an exception, as it opens in theaters April 2016.
The live-action Beauty and The Beast will also see the return of Alan Menken, who will compose the score, which will feature new recordings of the original songs, as well as new songs. Menken won two Academy Awards (Best Score and Best Original Song) for the 1991 animated film. Tim Rice will also be contributing his efforts to write these new songs.
Condon will direct from a script by Evan Spiliotopoulos (The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning) and revised by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being A Wallflower), and the film will be produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. Production begins in May at Shepperton Studios in London.