Chatting with Emma Watson & Dan Stevens
*Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of these events. All opinions are 100% my own.
On March 6, 2017, I received a birthday present I will not soon forget. I attended a Press Junket with Disney and had the chance to interview some amazingly talented individuals. But I will tell you more about all of that later, right now we are going to chat about sitting down with Emma Watson (Belle) and Dan Stevens (The Beast/Prince Adam). At one point in the interview I was in tears because it felt like Emma and I were the only ones in the room. It was an amazing way to turn another year older but a tale as old as time is being brought to life in a whole new way. Beauty and The Beast will be in theaters everywhere March 17th and you can bet I will be there to watch this masterpiece again.
When Emma Watson and Dan Stevens entered the room there were 25 grown women cheering and clapping for them. Emma Watson said, “That’s the nicest welcome we’ve had”, while Dan Stevens agreed and said, “That’s beautiful, hi everyone.” To say they felt right at home would probably be an understatement but we all felt like we were chatting to old friends.
It all starts with an audition no matter what movie it is, but Emma Waston said that the most important thing for Disney was exploring whether or not she could sing. She was put on an audition tape and then the classic thing of waiting happened. Emma was offered the role which meant she was up to the standards of Disney and being offered the role was just very very exciting. For Dan the process was about the same and the tape was sent to Bill Condon only he sang The Beast song from the Broadway musical because in the animated version the Beast doesn’t sing. The rest is history or so they say because after watching this movie I couldn’t imagine a pair that would have been as perfect as Dan and Emma.
Costume Fun Facts
Belle’s yellow dress took over 12,00 hours to create and Emma was very heavily involved in the dress. Getting the dress just right was difficult because it had to serve a number of purposes and functions. It had to be a seventeenth century traditional dress, it had to do twirl like it does in the animation movie. But Belle also had to be able to ride a horse in it, as well as fit like an action hero dress which is why the front of the dress looks sort of like a coat of armor. Emma jokingly suggested it was a creation of a warrior, modern seventeenth century twisty, twirly dress hybrid. I completely agree and the dress was stunning, the picture below doesn’t do the dress justice. But it is beyond gorgeous in every way!
Dan’s five year old daughter Willow overheard part of their conversation about the dress one evening and took off drawing in the other room. Five dress designs later her and Emma sat down and talked about the designs. A few weeks after that happened, Willow visited the set and saw Emma in the finished dress, and she said, “yep, that’s the one”, so in her mind she designed the dress.” What a lucky and talented little girl Willow is.
Seeing themselves in costume is when they got into their characters and Emma started to feel like she was understanding Belle a little more. It’s a fairytale but one that was very important to Emma because it was the way into her character. Dan even complimented her and told her, “She looked stunning.” and I would have to agree. The Beast costume was a lot different than Belle’s and it wasn’t a costume so to speak that Dan could actually wear. They were giant coats that the Beast wore, but the massive shredded cloak was never put on by Dan himself. He spent the whole time in a forty pound muscle suit on stilts that was covered in gray lyrca. To film the Beast it was motion capture puppet-erring of the suit. The facial capture was done separately, and every two weeks he would go into a booth and ten thousand dots would be sprayed on my face, and twenty seven little cameras would capture everything I’ve been doing for the past two weeks with just his face. There was lots of CGI and Dan behind the Beast which made him come to life and was the perfect combination.
The Dancing Scenes
The Dancing Scenes were amazing and it took Emma & Dan about three months to prepare for those. They learned them in a four step process because it was so complicated. They learned to waltz on the ground, then they learned to pass with different partners, learned it together and finally Dan moved onto Stilts. (YES, you read that correctly!) After Dan mastered the waltz on stilts, he graduated to the ballroom because that ballroom is so huge that actually kind of filling the space and really making it seem as if we were filling that room was, was a kind of challenge in itself. Belle and the Beast have three dances in the film, two unless you count the walk through the village but it was so much like a dance that I think it should count.
This is one interview that I will not soon forget and am very thankful we got a group shot to prove it really happened. Both Emma and Dan were amazing and it truly was like sitting down and chatting with an old friend. Be sure you head out on March 17th to watch Beauty and The Beast at a theater near you. I promise it will be worth the wait.
About Beauty and The Beast
The film, which brings the story and characters audiences know and love to life in a stunning, cinematic event, is directed by Bill Condon and features an extraordinary ensemble cast which includes Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Audra McDonald, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.
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 will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.