Emma Watson said she was bored during the filming of "Be Our Guest", since all she did was sit on a chair. The crew would tell her jokes, to keep her entertained, as well as trigger genuine giggling, to be used in the scene.
Ryan Gosling was offered the role of the Beast, but turned it down to appear in La La Land (2016) instead. Emma Watson was offered the lead role in that movie, but turned down that movie to star in this one.
When Director Bill Condon first spoke to Disney about adapting Beauty and the Beast (1991), they actually weren't sure they were going to do this new version as a musical. Condon said, "With all due respect, I think you're crazy. The songs are too good. You're going to spend all this time making a huge, gorgeous live-action 'Beauty and the Beast' and not do 'Be Our Guest'?"
Ewan McGregor performed Lumière's "Be Our Guest" dances in motion-capture. However, he was embarrassed at wearing the motion-capture suit, and couldn't dance properly, unless he was completely alone with the filming crew.
According to Ewan McGregor, the hardest part about playing Lumière was getting the character's French accent right, although his wife Eve Mavrakis is French. He said his voice ended up sounding Mexican instead of French, so he had to redo his dialogue after filming had completed.
Alan Menken, who scored Beauty and the Beast (1991), returned to score this live-action adaptation, which includes new recordings of the original songs, in addition to new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice.
The song "Gaston" has new lyrics that were written by the late Howard Ashman, but never made the final cut of the 1991 movie. As a result, the song is slightly longer, and is more mature themed, but minus the reprise.
According to Emma Watson, when Belle had to be intentionally struck in the face by a snowball, the whole sequence required numerous attempts, until a satisfactory hit was accomplished. In the end, Emma had to keep moving her face (target) into the line of fire, in order to increase the chances of a direct hit.
Emma Watson revealed to fans that she would be playing the role of Belle, before it even went on record. A big fan of Beauty and the Beast (1991) since childhood, she told her fans that her "six year old self is on the ceiling, heart bursting."
In Beauty and the Beast (1991), the Beast's castle is shown to be quite close to the village, yet nobody in the village knew about it, nor noticed the absence of those who live there, when they are cursed. The prologue of the 2017 version elaborates on this part of the story, explaining part of the curse involved the world forgetting about the castle and its inhabitants.
The song "Be Our Guest" in Beauty and the Beast (1991) specifically mentions the time period of ten years. As the final petal of the enchanted rose was to fall when the Prince turned twenty-one, audiences noted this would make him eleven at the time of the curse. Therefore, in this movie, the song removes the ten years.
Shortly after it was announced that Emma Watson would be playing Belle, Belle's voice actresses Paige O'Hara (the original voice of Belle in Beauty and the Beast (1991)) and Susan Egan (who originated the role on Broadway) expressed their endorsement and approval of Watson as a live-action Belle.
In the castle battle, LeFou mockingly suggests Mrs. Potts is Chip's grandmother. This is an inside joke alluding to the popular complaint amongst fans that the human version of Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast (1991) looked too old to be Chip's mother.
At two hours and nine minutes, the 2017 version is forty-five minutes longer than Beauty and the Beast (1991), with the additional runtime featuring: three new songs, "How Does a Moment Last Forever", "Days in the Sun", and "Evermore"; additional lyrics to the songs "Belle", "Gaston", and "Be Our Guest"; as well as details of the backstories of the major and minor characters.
Josh Gad (LeFou) and Luke Evans (Gaston) were allowed to improvise in many of their scenes. Most notably, the end of the "Gaston" song in the theatrical release was one of over a dozen different endings Gad improvised, while the song had been pre-recorded, they were able to improvise their actions.
In this version, LeFou and Gaston are former soldiers. Gaston even mentions coming back from the war. Judging by their uniforms, age, and time period of the original story, this would set this movie somewhere after 1763, after the Seven Years' War.
Belle, in this movie, is an inventor, like Maurice. This is because Emma Watson wanted Belle to get a backstory about why she is treated differently by the other villagers. Watson and the production team even joked that Belle invented the washing machine, so Belle can read books while the clothes are being washed.
According to Disney, the first teaser trailer was viewed 91.8 million times in its first twenty-four hours. This makes it the most viewed teaser trailer in history (as of March 2017). Beating the previous record by Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) (eighty-eight million views), followed by Captain America: Civil War (2016) (sixty-one million views), each of which is a Disney movie as well. However, the teaser has dropped to twentieth place on the list as of February 2019, and the title for most viewed goes to Avengers: Endgame (2019).
In the scene set in Maurice's workshop, in the lower right corner foreground, there is a model of a carriage with two small figures dancing on top. The figurines are dressed in the same costumes that the Beast and Belle wear during the ballroom dance scene.
Jacqueline Durran based the design of Belle's signature yellow dress on a sketch drawn by co-star Dan Stevens' young daughter Willow. According to Stevens, young Willow was very excited when told that Emma Watson would be coming to a home dinner at the invitation of Stevens. Eager to show and impress Watson, she had drawn several drawing sketches of Belle in various outfits, with the trademark dance dress standing out of the rest. The following day, Watson showed it to Durran, who took an immediate liking to it and started work improving the design of the dress.
In this version, the Beast turns out to be quite educated (makes sense for a Prince) and absolutely does read, unlike in Beauty and the Beast (1991). There would be very little else for him to do, given his limited ability to be outside the castle, and makes his vast library much more plausible. Plus, the fact that audiences nowadays expect things like that to be shown to them, rather than thinking for themselves.
In the first half of the movie, the Beast wears raggedy clothes, symbolizing his initially savage persona. After the song "Days in the Sun", the Beast's outfits become more refined and Princely. This mirrors him slowly regaining his humanity.
The Beast was originally going to be created by having Dan Stevens in prosthetic make-up, designed and created by husband and wife team Dave Elsey and Lou Elsey. During post-production, a change was made to re-create the Beast face with CGI, altering the look of the Beast. The final Beast that is seen in the movie, is Dan Stevens in the full body suit created by the Elseys, but with a digital face, despite Director Bill Condon's wish to have the Beast be a completely practical make-up creation.
When Gaston is describing what he likes about Belle to LeFou, he says he can't think of the exact word or trait. LeFou offers that Belle has a certain "je ne sais quoi", to which Gaston replies, "I don't know what that means", which is almost the literal translation of the phrase: "I don't know what." A second facet to this joke, is that the characters are French, so Gaston should in fact know what "je ne sais quoi" means.
Emma Watson came up with the idea to have her character wear boots in this movie, instead of the black flats that Belle wore in Beauty and the Beast (1991). Watson claimed that because her character was going to be an inventor, the first thing that was to go was the flats. And unlike the original movie, Belle's hair is worn either in a messy bun or straight down (in the original she wears it in a ponytail) and she has a few cloths tucked into her skirt rather than wearing an apron.
This movie is a live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast (1991), but draws elements from other versions of the tale. The concept of the household objects slowly losing their mobility, comes from the stage musical. As in the original fairy tale, Belle's father is caught by the Beast when he attempts to take a rose for his daughter, instead of Beast accusing him of trespassing. This, in turn, leads to Belle's offer to trade places with her father, as it was she who asked him to bring her a rose. The Beast's look, and much of the Castle's decorations, resemble those in Beauty and the Beast (1946).
In an interview, Dan Stevens said that there was a very different version of the ending transformation: the Prince would emerge shirtless from a bed of rose petals. However, this scene received negative reactions from test audiences, as they felt that if the Prince appeared shirtless, that meant the rest of him was naked as well, and so wouldn't be appropriate for young children.
During the song "How Does a Moment Last Forever", Maurice is shown making a music box that resembles his life in Paris with his wife and an infant Belle. (His art studio is also full of sketches of Belle's mother and baby Belle.) These reflect Maurice's inability to move on from his tragic past and let his daughter find true happiness. At the end of the movie, during Belle and the Prince's party (and possible wedding), Maurice is shown painting a picture of the joyous event. This reveals that Maurice has finally continued on with his life.
"Evermore", the second of the newly written songs, is actually a semi-replacement for Beast's Broadway number "If I Can't Love Her". According to Alan Menken, the replacement came in when it was decided that once the Beast feels love for Belle, he should voluntarily let her leave the castle to save her father.
Before the library scene, Belle and the Beast quote from William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In this play, a beautiful Fairy Queen falls in love with a man, who has been magically transformed into a creature.
Mrs. Potts was played by Dame Emma Thompson, who played Mrs. Lovett at the Lincoln Center performance of "Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street" in 2014. Her predecessor Dame Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast (1991)), played Mrs. Lovett in the original theater production of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" in 1979.
The book the Beast uses to transport Belle to Paris is based on the book in Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997) in the song "Stories", in which Belle flips through a book and is then incorporated into the scenes within the book.
The "Be Our Guest" song contains several tributes to other musicals: At "culinary cabaret", there is a musical snippet of "Wilkommen" from the musical Cabaret (1972). Lumière gets surrounded by an array of pink feather fans, a nod to the song "All I Care About is Love" from Chicago (2002) (on which Bill Condon had worked). When the feather dusters create a fountain, and Lumière dances underneath it, the title theme from Singin' in the Rain (1952) is heard. The finale contains an Indian-style setpiece (and a brief musical tone), an homage to the Indian musical number from Moulin Rouge! (2001) (on which Ewan McGregor had worked). The Indian castle model resembles Agrabah castle from Disney's Aladdin (1992).
While never officially confirmed by Disney (though both Dan Stevens and Paige O'Hara, who voiced Belle in the original, have both stated it to be true in interviews), the Prince has the name of Adam. However, Josh Gad joked in an interview, that he thinks the Prince should be named Vladimir.
In an interview with CinemaBlend on May 11, 2016, Josh Gad promised that the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast (1991) will be something special: "I think that what the creative team has so brilliantly done, is they've embraced it so fully, that the scale and scope of those numbers is unlike anything modern Hollywood really gets a chance to do anymore. You're going to see songs come to life in Technicolor magic, in a way that I think like big studio films, once upon a time, used to do, but have sort of not done for a long period of time, and I think it's going to be really amazing thing for audiences to see again."
The opening scene, where the servants prepare the Prince for the ball, contains quite a bit of clever foreshadowing: -Plumette, who becomes a feather duster, applies make-up to the Prince's cheek with a feather pouf. -Chapeau, who becomes a hat rack, sets the Prince's wig upon his head. -Lumière, who becomes a candelabra, holds one up to the Prince when he requests more light. -Cogsworth, who becomes a clock, holds a pocket watch and informs the Prince that it's "time". Additionally, all of the servants are in shadows, as if it to remind us that they are about to become shadows of their former selves.
The Enchantress, who cursed the Prince and his castle, had a larger role in this movie. There was a scene planned, where LeFou questions her on her actions, but this scene was cut out for running time purposes.
In the "Be Our Guest" number, when Lumière says "after all, this is France!" he drops a cleaver, cutting a baguette in half. This is referencing the official execution method used in France from 1792 until 1981, the guillotine. Beauty and the Beast (1991) had the dishes and spoons form an Eiffel tower, which was built in 1889. As this movie is set well before 1792, both visual flourishes are humorous anachronisms.
When this movie was first announced, there were rumors circulating that Hugh Jackman would be cast as Gaston (as Jackman actually played Gaston in the Australian live-action musical of Beauty and the Beast during the mid 1990s). However, nothing ever surfaced. Presumably because Jackman was judged too old.
Stephen Merchant originally had a cameo in this movie as Monsieur Toilette, a plumber who came to inspect the castle and got turned into an old-fashioned toilet. However, Bill Condon decided that the character and the scenes they shot were rather low brow, and in poor taste, and so cut out his scenes from the movie. They appear as deleted scenes on the DVD.
In Beauty and the Beast (1991), the spout of the teapot forms Mrs. Potts' nose. Here, the design was altered to make the spout her arm, to enable her to weaponize her tea-pouring ability and to avoid her looking like an elephant.
As Belle takes care of the Beast, two martenitsas can be seen on the straps of her dress. A martenitsa is made of white and red threads woven together, it's a Bulgarian symbol for health. The movie was released in March in Bulgaria, the month when people give each other martenitsas.
The coat rack, "Chappeau", is a play on the French word for "hat" -- "chapeau". He was named for the hat shop "Chappeau" in Beauty and the Beast (1991). He could be recognized by the hat he was wearing in the 1991 movie.
Beauty and the Beast is one of the few fairy tale stories with a known history. The "Beast" was an African man (Petrus Gonsalvus) with Hypertrichosis (hair covering almost the entire body). Petrus was a gift to the King of France, an oddity for his zoo. The King eventually recognized that Petrus was not an animal, but an intelligent man, and helped him gain an education (he was fluent in three languages), and eventually, the Petrus became one of the King's advisers. After the King's death, the King's widow arranged a marriage for Petrus. The original French story "La Belle et le Bete" is based on Petrus' courtship and marriage. Mysteries at the Castle: The Real Beauty and the Beast; Birdman of Scotland; Master of Disguise (2015)
When singing the newly added song "Days in the Sun", Belle says that there has been a "change in me". This references a song that appears in the Broadway musical version of the story, simply called "A Change in Me".
When this movie was first announced, Daniel Radcliffe was rumored to have a major role. This caused fans to joke that Radcliffe couldn't possibly be the Beast, as he is the same height as Emma Watson. (Radcliffe and Watson played comrades-in-arms Harry and Hermione Granger in eight Harry Potter movies.) In fact, if Radcliffe wore the ten inch stilts, that Dan Stevens wore in the movie, he would be 6'3" (vs. Stevens' 6'10"). Still very tall, but not nearly as monstrous as the filmmakers wanted.
Emma Watson (Belle), Dame Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts), and Ray Fearon (Pere Robert the librarian) appeared in the Harry Potter film franchise, as Hermione Granger, Professor Sybill Trelawney, and the voice of Firenze the Centaur, respectively.
During the end credits of the original theatrical release, two actors are credited with the wrong names. The roles of "Young Prince" and "King" (credited to Rudi Goodman and Henry Garrett respectively) were actually performed by Adam Mitchell and Tom Turner, respectively.
Ewan McGregor and Sir Ian McKellen come from big-budget fantasy franchises, which had Sir Christopher Lee as an antagonist: McGregor fought Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and McKellen fought Saruman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
This movie has become the number one highest grossing movie in the Philippines of all time, earning 676 million pesos (13.52 million U.S. dollars), which dethroned Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) with 634 million pesos (12.68 million U.S. dollars). Both movies are from Disney.
Robert Pattinson was briefly considered for the role of the Beast. Pattinson played the cursed supernatural man Edward Cullen, in love with a normal girl, in the Twilight Saga film franchise. Edward Cullen and the Beast have been noted by literary critics as having stalker-like tendencies, including imprisoning the women they love. The final two Twilight: Breaking Dawn movies were directed by Bill Condon. Robert Pattinson and Emma Watson appeared in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005).
Hattie Morahan is attributed as the narration voice for the "Main Title: Prologue" on the soundtrack, but she is not credited for it in the closing credits, nor anywhere in the movie. The closing credits award the only attribution to Composer Alan Menken.
During the "Be Our Guest" sequence, the group of "Plumettes" perform an homage to Busby Berkeley's choreography in movies like Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935), 42nd Street (1933), and Million Dollar Mermaid (1952).
Dan Stevens (the Beast) and Luke Evans (Gaston), who play enemies, have appeared in Dracula movies in the same manner, Stevens was Lord Arthur Holmwood in Dracula (2006), and Evans was Vlad in Dracula Untold (2014).
When Belle first meets Jean Potts he claims he cannot remember what he had forgotten. This is a parody of Neville Longbottom who says the same line. Neville Longbottom was a supporting character in the Harry Potter film franchise, which also starred Emma Watson.
Belle and Beast use a magical book to revisit Belle's old home. The book sequence is a nod to Tom Riddle's diary sequence in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), which depicted Harry being transported into the diary in witnessing Hagrid being framed on opening the Chamber of Secrets.
Hattie Morahan (Enchantress) and Dame Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts) played the role of Elinor Dashwood in adaptations of Sense and Sensibility. Morahan in Sense & Sensibility (2008) and Thompson in Sense and Sensibility (1995). Dan Stevens also played in Sense & Sensibility (2008), as Elinor's (Morahan) love interest Edward Ferrars.
There are a few references to the Disney show Once Upon a Time (2011) in this movie, the most prominent being the change to Agathe/The Enchantress' curse on the castle also effecting the village of Villeneuve by erasing the memories of their cursed loved ones from their minds, much as Regina does in the first season in Once Upon a Time (2011) with the Dark Curse, which causes similar effects to most of the heroes of the Enchanted Forest of Mysthaven.
When having dinner, Maurice is scared off after seeing Chip, who is now a tea cup, speak. He later tells Belle the castle is alive. A similar incident happened in Toy Story (1995), where Sid discovers Woody, Buzz, and the other toys are alive, and tells his sister Hannah what he just saw.
Emma Watson, Ewan McGregor, and Sir Ian McKellen have each played a supporting protagonist: Hermione Granger, Obi-wan Kenobi, and Gandalf, respectively. Interestingly, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone (2001) and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) were released a few weeks apart.
The glass dome that protects the rose was made by the U.K. glassblowing company Glass Solutions Ltd., which manufactures glassware for scientists, architects, and designers. Glass Solutions also made the dancing glasses, which Belle drinks from during the song "Be our guest". Interesting fact is that Glass Solutions also manufactured all of the glass bottles in Snape's office from the Harry Potter film franchise (in which Emma Watson is a leading actress) and the vile that contains the Felix Felicis in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
During his song, Gaston says that he likes to shoot animals from behind, not caring if it's fair or not. This foreshadows the climax, when Gaston cheats, after the Beast calls a truce. He shoots the Beast multiple times in the back, before the bridge on which he's standing collapses, causing him to fall to his death.
The characters in this movie are revisions or updates of the Beauty and the Beast (1991) animated characters: Maestro Cadenza is this movie's version of Forte, the sentient musical instrument from Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997). In this movie, he is a far more heroic and jovial character. The Wardrobe is renamed "Madame Garderobe", and is revised to be Cadenza's wife. Sultan the dog is renamed "Froufrou", and is owned by Garderobe (and gets turned into a piano bench instead of a footstool) Lumière's love interest, the feather duster, is named "Plumette" in this movie. She was unnamed in the 1991 movie, but she was named Babette in the musical, and Fifi in Belle's Magical World (1998)). The coat rack Chapeau was previously an unnamed enchanted character from the 1991 movie. Chef Bouche, the palace chef who was turned into a stove, is renamed "Cuisinier". The triplets were named Paulette, Claudette, and Laurette in the animated movie. Here they are renamed Eliana, Elise, and Eloise.
When the back-to-human Mrs. Potts reunites with her husband, he greets her as "Beatrice". That would make her name Beatrice Potts, likely a nod to children's author Beatrix Potter ("The Tale of Peter Rabbit" in which Ewan McGregor starred).
Agatha has a pet owl, a common pet for witches and wizards (such as Merlin in The Sword in the Stone (1963) and in the Harry Potter film franchise, in which Emma Watson and Dame Emma Thompson also appeared). This foreshadows her identity as the Enchantress.
Technically, Mrs. Potts and Chip were the only people who could have avoided the curse. At the start of the movie, Chip runs into the ballroom, presumably to see what was going on, and because of this, he and Mrs. Potts became a cup and tea pot, respectively. Had Chip simply stayed with his mother, they may have been spared.