'Beauty And The Beast' 2017 News: Original Disney Movie Was Retooled? What You Didn't Know About The First Film

By Rachel Cruise, Parent Herald May 04, 01:00 am

Disney's live-action treatment of "Beauty And The Beast," which hits theaters on March 2017, takes inspiration from the award-winning animated series that was released in 1991. Here, Belle, a role Emma Watson is playing in the upcoming movie, is characterized as a book lover with female sensibilities.

However, the character wasn't always written this way and many elements from the original Disney movie had to be retooled. Ahead of the movie launch of "Beauty And The Beast" with Emma Watson, here's what you didn't know about the making of the first film, per Huffington Post:

1. Changing The Story

The first "Beauty And The Beast" animated story was based off a 1946 film helmed by Jean Cocteau. It had been written by Jim Cox in 1988 but was rejected by Jeffrey Katzberg, the chairman of Disney Studios at that time. Katzberg didn't want the animated movie to be too similar to the 1946 fairy tale.

2. Changing Production

After hiring animation director Richard Purdum, "Beauty And The Beast" went into production nearly at the same time as "The Little Mermaid's" theater run. However, the latter movie received some criticisms about its female lead, Ariel, who was viewed as a weak female character and Katzberg was conscious of this. When Purdum's team presented "Beauty And The Beast" to Katzberg, he didn't like it. Purdum left the production and was replaced by screenwriter Linda Woolverton.

3. Changes In The Script

Woolverton changed the script to "Beauty And The Beast" to follow the direction Katzberg wanted and took Belle out of the traditional female fairy tale character mold. Some of the other changes Woolverton also did included:

- Making the objects at Beast's castle talk and sing, upon the suggestion of lyricist Howard Ashman.
- Dropping Belle's aunt and younger sister from the script.
- Changing Gaston's wimpy but sly character into a hunky and stronger man against Beast.
- Changing the opening scene with Belle reading as she was walking in the streets, oblivious to what is going on around her. It originally should have shown Belle decorating a cake.

After so many hurdles to making the "Beauty And The Beast" animation, things eventually paid off for Disney and the team behind it. The film went on to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Award nearly 25 years ago. It was a first for any animated movie.

Disney announced the live adaptation of the animated movie in March 2015, per Hollywood Reporter. Production went swiftly as filming with the actors wrapped up in August 2015. Watch Disney's presentation of "Beauty And The Beast" at the D23 expo last year:

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