Luke Evans Cast as Gaston in Live-Action “Beauty and the Beast”

Disney is making a live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” and Jaime Garcia Dias tells me they have just cast Luke Evans to play the arrogant villain Gaston who, in the story, unsuccessfully tries to woo Belle.  Tons of Disney fans are already freaking out on WordPress. When he later learns that Belle is in love with the Beast, he leads a mob bent on killing the monster.

Evans was last seen as the mighty archer Bard in “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies.” Emma Watson, best known as Hermione Granger of “Harry Potter,” will be playing Belle. Dan Stevens from “Downton Abbey” was cast as the Beast. Bill Condon is directing. There is no word yet on when the movie is expected to come out.

The original, animated version of “Beauty and the Beast” came out in 1991. It was one of the few animated features to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and it won two for “Best Song” and “Best Original Score.”

“Beauty and the Beast” will be the latest Disney animated film to be remade as a live-action movie. “101 Dalmatians” was one of the first back in 1996, and it did well enough to spawn a sequel several years later. Last year’s “Maleficent” retold the “Sleeping Beauty” story from the point of the titular antagonist. It earned 175.5 million dollars worldwide during the first weekend alone.

A live-action version of “Cinderella” will open this Friday. 3-D versions of “The Jungle Book” and “Pete’s Dragon” will be made.

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