"Beauty and the Beast" director Bill Condon definitely has a penchant for humor, since he made the cast sing an entirely different Disney song while they were auditioning for their roles in the new live action movie.
With a huge selection of well-loved songs such as "Belle," "Be My Guest," or "Something There," Condon could have easily been wowed by the actors and actresses' singing chops and see how they would fit in the movie, but he made them sing a song from "The Lion King" instead.
"I had them all sing 'Hakuna Matata,' just to confuse them," he told Vanity Fair.
When he was first handed the project, Condon said that Disney actually wanted to go in the same direction as Kenneth Branagh's "Cindrella," which starred "Downton Abbey" alum Lily James and "Game of Thrones" alum Richard Madden.
"When I first spoke to Disney about doing 'Beauty and the Beast,' they actually weren't sure they were going to do this new version as a musical, and I said, 'With all due respect, I think you're crazy. The songs are too good. You're going to spend all this time making a huge, gorgeous live-action 'Beauty and the Beast' and not do 'Be Our Guest?'" he said.
Disney believed in Condon, and they decided to make it a musical in the end. In fact, one of the first scenes they shot was Belle and Beast's iconic ballroom dancing scene, with Mrs. Potts singing the titular song, "Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, Beauty and the Beast..."
"It was really magical," shared Condon. "You will believe a beast can waltz."
There will be certain changes in store for the live action movie, the director also revealed, but they would not shake things up so much that it would upset fans of the original "Beauty and the Beast."
"I wouldn't say we're changing the story so much as sort of making connections that in a lot of cases were right under the surface," he said. "Honestly, there are so many people who love the original film and love the Broadway show, and they've had two decades now to pick them apart and point out big questions and plot holes... So hopefully, this will be a film where a die-hard fan can jump up and say, 'Exactly!'"
"Beauty and the Beast" has been scheduled for release on March 17, 2017, and will star Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as Beast, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Kevin Kline as Maurice, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, Audra McDonald as Wardrobe, Stanley Tucci as Cadenza, Luke Evans as Gaston, and Josh Gad as LeFou. The script is written by Stephen Chbosky.