Monday, May 9, 2016

'Beauty and the Beast' 25th Anniversary Screening Round-Up

Just one month ago, the El Capitan Theatre held a Throwback Thursday screening of Beauty and the Beast and tonight the Academy got in on the celebration with a 25th anniversary screening of the beloved film. Prior to the film, the original cast and creative team took to the stage to discuss the film and its enduring legacy. Those in attendance included Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts), Richard White (Gaston), Paige O’Hara (Belle), Robby Benson (Beast), Bradley Pierce (Chip), producer Don Hahn, director Gary Trousdale and supervising animators Andreas Deja, Mark Henn, Glen Keane, and key story artist Brenda Chapman.

Composer Alan Meken was originally set to attend, but was unable to make the screening because of his work on the live-action film. In a recent interview, Menken discussed the upcoming live-action film, as well as his songwriting partner Howard Ashman, who passed away before the animated film's release.
"I would love to be there," explained the 66-year-old Menken in a weekend phone interview. "But I don't know how I get there and back without essentially losing two days of working on the 'Beauty and the Beast' movie.'"

"This, of all the projects, was the one that was infused with sort of that last flame of his [Howard Ashman] talent and creativity and heart," Menken said. "And, I think, at some interesting level, that comes through in 'Beauty and the Beast.' It comes through in these tender moments."

Menken recalled how he and his wife "just wept" when they got to the film's closing credits and saw the dedication to Ashman: "It was just an incredibly intense, sad and beautiful time, and the film is a result of that."
Check out a selection of photos and tweets from the event below. This post will be updated as more photos, etc. become available.

Glamour- Disney's Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary: The Story Behind Belle's Ball Gown and More Secrets You Never Knew
Don't Call It a Cartoon: Robby Benson reminisced about his audition process for the Beast: "I could tell immediately that it wasn’t like anything that I had gone up for, as far as animation. It read like a Broadway show." Whatever you call Beauty and the Beast, just don't call it—or its characters—a cartoon. "I never thought of Beast as a cartoon," he said. "That’s a bad word. It’s not a cartoon, thanks to [Glen Keane]. It’s amazing." So what was the key to giving the Beast an endearing quality? "I wanted to play [him] honestly. Instead of [growling], I spoke the lines [in the audition]." Most importantly: "Play it from the heart," advises Benson.

Gaston, the Soap Opera Star? Yes, it's true: Gaston was somewhat modeled after those handsome soap opera stars. "I had a hard time getting a hold of Gaston visually," admitted supervising animator Andreas Deja. "I understood him from a story point of view, but visually was hard. Jeffrey Katzenberg said 'He’s not handsome enough.' I said, 'But he’s the villain! Do you want a soap opera star?'" Sure enough, Deja ended up sketching soap opera model-types! The reason Katzenberg wanted such a handsome-looking Gaston? "He said, 'Look, the story we’re trying to tell here is don't judge a book by its cover, so Gaston has to have the opposite qualities of the Beast,'" Deja shared. "It was important for Katzenberg that Gaston came off as full of himself and arrogant. I said, 'If he’s handsome, it’s going to be difficult.' Jeffrey said, 'Well, no one said it was going to be easy!'"

The Story Behind Belle's Yellow Ball Gown: While we'd like to think as much thought was put into Belle's epic princess moment as it takes celebrities to decide what to wear to the Met Gala, it turns out it wasn't quite like that. "We were designing Belle’s ballroom dress one night, and it was me and a bunch of guys eating pizza and drinking, deciding what Belle was going to wear," Hahn revealed.
 The Hollywood Reporter- Cast and Filmmakers Recall Making of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at 25th Anniversary Screening
Talking with The Hollywood Reporter during the event's opening reception, Hahn attributed the film's timeless appeal to relatable characters. Referring to the Beast, he said, "We've all felt awkward and like no one can love us."

He continued: "Belle wasn't looking for a man, she was looking for adventure. That's something we can relate to. It's almost ahead of its time in terms of that kind of story ... people come up to me and say, 'I've dated guys like Gaston.'"
Indiewire- What We Learned About Beauty and the Beast At Its 25th Academy Reunion
An Empowered Belle

Mark Henn, the supervising animator for Belle (Paige O'Hara), said the most unique aspect was making her the oldest leading lady in Disney's esteemed line-up. She was more mature, she knew her mind, and "she wasn't looking for a 'whole new world.'" She was devoted to her eccentric father and she didn't need a prince charming to make her life complete.

Plus, her love story with the Beast (Robby Benson) developed gradually and believably.

Calling Lansbury

Ashman and Menken cold-called the veteran actress in Los Angeles and pitched her on playing the maternal Mrs. Potts by playing their rock-laden theme song. Lansbury was enticed but had her own vision for performing the song. However, her flight from Los Angeles to New York to record it live with the New York Phil was delayed as a result of a bomb scare. But despite a layover in Vegas, Lansbury made it in time and insisted on recording as scheduled. She got it on the first try.
TooFab- Beauty and the Beast Turns 25 -- 10 Secrets Unveiled at Amazing Anniversary with Entire Cast and Crew!
It Wasn't Always a Musical

When the film was first conceived, it was meant to be a straight animated film ... but the movie's predecessor changed everything.

"There was a little film that came out before us called 'The Little Mermaid,'" revealed producer Don Hahn. That flick's success brought "Mermaid" songwriters Howard Ashman and Alan Menken onto the project ... and the original version was totally scrapped.

Hahn says the tunes took what he called a "European story" and turned it into "something uniquely musical."

Angela Lansbury's Friends Have a Sense of Humor

Hopefully Angela Lansbury actually likes tea -- because she has pots for days!

"I have the biggest collection of teapots you'll ever see," the 90-year-old reveals. "During the period the movie came out, everyone sent me teapots."

Beast's Design Was Inspired By a Few Trips to the Zoo

Animator Glen Keane says Beast's design started from the leg up.

While in London working on the film, he became entranced by the wolves at the local zoo ... and the way they "paced back and forth." He used their back legs for the beast. Early drafts of the Beast drew inspiration from mandrills as well, though the creature's colorful face and rear end didn't make the final cut.

Keane says they also picked up buffalo and wild boar heads at a nearby taxidermy shop to get the creative juices flowing in the studio ... and he observed gorillas from a close distance, "to know what it felt like to be Belle face to face with a 600 pound beast."
USA Today- 8 Things You Never Knew About Beauty and the Beast
The original Belle has communicated with the new Belle.

Paige O'Hara, who voices Belle, could not be more pleased with the casting of Emma Watson as the live-action leading lady. In fact, unlike the rest the original voice cast, she has corresponded with the actress playing her character. "I sent messages to her, and I got some back," O'Hara said. "I just said to have a great time."

Animators obsessed over Gaston's chest hair.

Supervising animator on Gaston, Andreas Deja, said there was a contest among animators to design Gaston's chest hair that's exposed while the character sings the line "And every last inch of me's covered in hair." Deja said that working on Gaston -- his chest hair and all -- was a challenge, because Deja was told that the character "has to be handsome," but also evil.

Click here to view all six videos from the screening.

A photo posted by AJ Feuerman (@ajfeuerman) on

A photo posted by Bradley Pierce (@mrbradleypierce) on

A photo posted by A Disneyphile's Adventure (@disneysidekick) on

A photo posted by Aaron Fairbanks (@dizneyland_dude) on

A photo posted by Amy Taylor (@ohmycarlisle) on

A photo posted by Bradley Pierce (@mrbradleypierce) on

A photo posted by Jeanine (@jnyama) on

A photo posted by Bradley Pierce (@mrbradleypierce) on

Check out more photos from the screening here.

Source: ABC News, The Academy, GlamourThe Hollywood Reporter, Indiewire, TooFab, USA Today

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