Monday, April 11, 2016

Countdown to 'Beauty and the Beast' #4

Magical Monday- Enchanted Tales with Belle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

"Take me back to the day Belle and Beast fell in love!" If you are a fan of Beauty and the Beast, then New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom park is probably at the top of your Disney wish list. From the Be Our Guest restaurant to Gaston's Tavern, the area of Belle's Village is an immersive experience for any Disney guest. Also located in the village is Enchanted Tales with Belle, where guests can visit Maurice's cottage and travel through a magic mirror to the Beast's castle. The interactive show, which officially opened on December 6, 2012, allows kids and adults to take part in a retelling of Belle and Beast's story narrated by Lumiere and complete with an appearance by Belle herself.

Although the attraction itself is entertaining, you will not begrudge some of the wait time, if only to have the chance to explore Maurice's cottage. Here you can see several nods to the animated classic, as well as some charming new touches to Belle's story. One of my favorites is the painting of Belle and her mother hanging in the living room. I also love the wood carving of Belle and Beast tucked away on a high shelf in Maurice's workshop, which is actually a small scale model for the large music box in the Rose Gallery room of the Be Our Guest restaurant.

Below are two videos from Disney Parks about the making of the attraction. You can also check out a full attraction video from Inside the Magic here.

Trivia Tuesday- Belle and Katharine Hepburn
From Belle to Jasmine to Pocahontas and Mulan, the heroines of 90's Disney animated films are marked by their independence, intelligence, and strength. It is no wonder then that Beauty and the Beast screenwriter Linda Woolverton drew inspiration for Belle from Little Women's spirited Jo March, or more specifically, Katharine Hepburn's portrayal of the character in the 1933 film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel. Woolverton discussed Hepburn's influence in a 1992 interview with the Los Angeles Times, along with her disinterest in writing a "throwback" to Disney's earlier fairy-tale films.
If the independent, brainy Belle, the heroine of "Beauty and the Beast," is a breakthrough in fairy-tale animation, so is Linda Woolverton--the first woman to write an animated feature for Disney.

"I wasn't on a soapbox, " she says of her first big-screen outing--the highest-grossing first-run animated film ever and a possible best-picture Oscar contender. "But Belle is a feminist. I'm not critical of Snow White, Cinderella . . . they reflected the values of their time. But it just wasn't in me to write a throwback. I wanted a woman of the '90s, someone who wanted to do something other than wait for her prince to come."

Woolverton, fearful of being influenced by the imagery of the Jean Cocteau film version, decided not to watch it. She drew inspiration from "Little Women" instead. "There's a lot of Katharine Hepburn in Belle," she explains. "Though the character of Jo is more tomboyish, both were strong, active, women who loved to read--and wanted more than life was offering them."
Woolverton also discussed Gaston and the evolution of Belle and Beast's relationship in the article, which you can read in full here.

Watchful Wednesday- Sense and Sensibility (2008) - Dan Stevens & Hattie Morahan
"Every time we have met, it has seemed impossible to say what I really feel."

The story of the Dashwood sisters from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility has been brought to the screen numerous times, including the Academy Award winning film starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet back in 1995. In 2008, the BBC premiered a new mini-series based on the classic novel from Emmy winning writer Andrew Davies (Bridget Jones's Diary, Little Dorrit) and director John Alexander . Hattie Morahan and Dan Stevens star as Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars, a pair whose burgeoning friendship and attraction is halted by familial expectations and unforeseen circumstances. The mini-series also stars David Morrissey, Dominic Cooper, and Academy Award nominee Janet McTeer. The series debuted on the BBC in January of 2008 and on PBS's Masterpiece later that same year. 

Check out eight behind the scenes videos from Masterpiece on PBS here

Throwback Thursday- Josh Gad shares first photo of the Beauty and the Beast cast
April 14, 2015. It was a day just like any other day, that is until Josh Gad decided to send Beauty and the Beast fans into a collective tizzy when he unleashed the first photo of the cast. The photo, which includes Gad (Le Fou) alongside Emma Watson (Belle), Dan Stevens (Beast), Luke Evans (Gaston), and Kevin Kline (Maurice), was taken at the film's table read in London prior to production.

A photo posted by Josh Gad (@joshgad) on

Ian McKellen shared his account of the event the very next day in a lovely post that still brings a tear to my eye.
But my favourite moment, because it made me weepy, was when the Beast’s loving arm was placed tentatively on Belle’s shoulder after their pas de deux.

I’m going to have to work hard to equal what has already been achieved. All the long way home, I hummed “Be my Guest”, in which I shall get to sing a line or two. Aren’t I the lucky one?
You can read McKellen's post in its entirety here

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