Two developments at Disney seem to have possible knock-on effects for Guillermo Del Toro. He’s been planning a live action version of Beauty and the Beast over at Warner Bros., and Emma Watson was lined up to take a role. Of course, as with all things Del Toro, the project seemed to be a long way off and was far from certain. Still, it was real, and work was being done, and the intention was obviously always going to be a finished film at the end of the day.
The casting of Ms. Watson for this project seemed to be in doubt when Disney courted her for the not entirely dissimilar role of Cinderella. As per Variety’s Marc Graser, however, she has now decided not to take that role. I would guess this increases her chances of being Del Toro’s Beauty. Perhaps not by much, but still. By some.
But then there’s been a bigger stone chucked straight into the middle of the pond and this one shouldn’t make just ripples for Del Toro’s film, but waves.
Disney are planning another of their live-action spins on a story made famous in their animated pantheon. After Alice in Wonderland, the upcoming Maleficent and aforementioned Cinderella, they’ve decided to have another crack at Beauty and the Beast themselves.
According to Deadline the project is being called The Beast. We don’t really know anything else about it beyond the hiring of Joe Ahearne to write the script.
Ahearne is probably best known in this parish for creating Ultraviolet and writing a handful of Doctor Who episodes. He’s recently adapted his own TV movie Trance with Danny Boyle – the feature version is out in just a few weeks – and wrote and directed the BBC miniseries version of James Herbert’s novel, The Secret of Crickley Hall.
With Oz the Great and Powerful raking in mountains of gold this last weekend, in a release date not too dissimilar to that of Alice in Wonderland‘s, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Disney try and stake out a March date for one of these live-action fantasies in pretty much every year from here on out. By my reckoning, that would put The Beast in the frame for 2016.
Still, that’s just guesswork. They could end up slotting it anywhere.
Or nowhere at all.