Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bill Condon on 'Beauty and the Beast' and the "high-wire act" of musicals

Although Mr. Holmes is getting ready for its home video release here in the states on November 10th, director Bill Condon continues to promote the film worldwide. In a new interview, the director talks about working with Ian McKellen on the film after 1998's Gods and Monsters and the draw of the Twilight series. He also discusses Beauty and the Beast, specifically why little, if anything, has been taken from the Broadway production and the secret to movie musicals.
As he moves from tackling Stephenie Meyer's hugely popular franchise to one of Disney's most beloved classics, Condon could certainly learn from that baptism of fire when he courageously decided to shoot Beauty and the Beast as a fully musical movie.

"What's interesting when I was watching Cinderella is that I kept waiting for [the characters] to sing," he says of Disney's recent live-action makeover, "because it was so beautifully mounted. They just all wanted to start [singing]. It's almost like the movie wanted that."

For his own film, Condon is looking to use the entire original score, plus three new songs by Alan Menken. While he hasn't taken much from the Broadway version ("it really didn't seem to help that much on what we're up to"), he has drawn from Jean Cocteau's 1946 version, "which I love".

"I think in movies, the secret is that you can never stop," says Condon of his musicals. "You can never let a song just settle in; it's got to push the story forward. You have to be somewhere different at the end of a song than when you started."

He continues, "When it works - and it's hard to make them work - I feel like it's such a heightened state you can reach. It's really fascinating because it's a high-wire act."
Earlier in the interview, Condon also reveals he hopes to have his first cut of Beauty and the Beast completed by the end of the year.
But it's hard to neglect the elephant in Condon's room: he has just returned from a nine-month London shoot for the live-action musical movie Beauty and the Beast, which is based on the 1991 Disney animation and features Emma Watson as Belle and Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens as the Beast. The director hopes to finish the first cut by Christmas.
Read the entire interview here.

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