Setting down with Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw
*Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of these events. All opinions are 100% my own.
Setting down with Audra McDonald (Garderobe) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Plumette) was as fun and as whimsical as their characters. They both had roles in the film Beauty and The Beast and told us a little more about their characters, behind the scenes shenanigans and their love for the story. Both ladies are beyond talented and have a love for the old animated version as well as the Live Action Film. Both were beyond elated to be given their roles in the film and might have even let out a squeal or two! (But who wouldn’t!!)
Gugu admitted that she squealed into the phone when her agent called and said that Disney wanted her to play Plumette. But that her inner eight year old girl was excited and connected to the original Disney movies. Being chosen for the role is just phenomenal and you will agree when you see the film that she did a phenomenal job being Plumette. When Audra received her call she was like, excuse me? That doesn’t make sense, but was honored to be chosen for Beauty and The Beast.
If Disney calls, you say yes!
Diversity in the Film
Bill Condon the director had a vision to make the cast of Beauty and The Beast a diverse cast. But Audra and Gugu didn’t think it in that way at all, they just brought themselves to the table to bring their characters to life. They didn’t realize that they were the first and second interracial kisses in a Disney Live Action film and they didn’t even think about it. (Let that sink in, we should all be more like that!!) But Audra hopes that one day no one has to think about it and glad that Disney represents the entire world.
Preparing for their Roles
Preparing for their roles were a lot different than what they are used to but both Audra and GuGu nailed it in their performances in Beauty and The Beast. Gugu felt liberated and the idea of playing a feather duster because it was so whimsical and fun but a lot of work vocally. She had to work hard in the studio to find the voice of the character, work on a French accent with the dialect coach and going back to the childhood things of “let’s pretend”. Meeting her “object” for the first time she was taken aback because Flumette is quite different to the feather duster Fifi, who’s more mop like, in the original. But she was pleasantly surprised to see that they made her into this sort of flying dove like peacock like.
Audra agreed and said that it allowed her to have more freedom and it was just play because their is a huge team helping you create the CGI character but also praised Bill Condon as well. It’s a huge collaborative effort that they all worked hard on to master and it is a beautiful masterpiece of a film. But her challenge was being “transformed” into the wardrobe. Her dress was so large she couldn’t fit through a normal door and had to walk sideways, but then the wig started being attached. It was tall, but then they added more including birds and lots of details that are important to the folks at Disney. The shoes she wore were even the feet of the wardrobe and the objects echoed their costumes. Her wig was 2 feet off of her head and she even had a perch to rest on between takes because she couldn’t hold her head up for long periods of time.
Take away from the film
Gugu and Audra hope that while you watch Beauty and The Beast you get swept away in the romance and the music. Beauty is found within, and love conquers all. It’s not just about giving love, but loving yourself too is equally as important. Which is something that we all need to do more of. Head out to the theater on March 17th to watch this masterpiece come to life in an all new way.
About Beauty and The Beast
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs.
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; six-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
Directed by Oscar® winner Bill Condon from a screenplay by TBD based on the 1991 animated film, the film is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the 1991 animated film, providing the score, which will include new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as several new songs written by Menken and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.
Beauty and The Beast will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.