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Stage and Screen Vet Ian McKellen to Play 'Cogsworth' in Live-Action BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Movie

Stage and Screen Vet Ian McKellen to Play 'Cogsworth' in Live-Action BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Movie

Variety reports that stage veteran and film star Ian McKellen has joined Disney's upcoming live-action adaptation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST as 'Cogsworth'.

Set for a release on March 17, 2017, the beloved tale will be retold for the big screen with a modern live-action lens and the help of transformative CG magic. As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Emma Watson and Dan Stevens will star as Belle and the Beast/Prince respectively, and Luke Evans will play the role of Gaston. Emma Thompson has joined the cast as Mrs. Potts and Kevin Kline as Belle's father, Maurice. As BWW announced previously, Josh Gad will reportedly take on the role of Le Fou, with six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald playing Garderobe.

Eight-time Oscar-winner Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards for the 1991 animated classic, will score the new BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, which will feature new recordings of the original songs in addition to several new songs written by Menken and Sir Tim Rice. Bill Condon will direct from a script by Stephen Chbosky, and the film will be produced by Mandeville Films' David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. Production begins in May at Shepperton Studios in London.

Disney also recently announced it will be creating live-action versions of MULAN and PINOCCHIO, joining reboots of THE JUNGLE BOOK, PETE'S DRAGON and WINNIE THE POOH. The live-action adaptation of CINDERELLA, starring Lily James, just hit the big screen this winter.

McKellen was last seen on the big screen as 'Gandalf' in THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (a role he originated in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy) and will soon appear in MR. HOLMES and THE DRESSER. He is also well known for his role as 'Magneto' in the X-MEN movies.

The Olivier-winning, classically trained actor last starred on Broadway in NO MAN'S LAND and WAITING FOR GODOT opposite Patrick Stewart. Before that, he appeared in DANCE OF DEATH, IAN MCKELLEN: A KNIGHT OUT AT THE LYCEUM, WILD HONEY, IAN MCKELLEN: ACTING SHAKESPEARE, AMADEUS -- which earned him a Tony Award in 1981 -- and THE PROMISE. McKellen was a member of the Old Vic and has performed at the Chichester Festival, in the West End, and with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre and more.

1991's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was an animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the traditional French fairy tale of the same name by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont,Beauty and the Beast is the 30th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. Additionally, it is third in the Disney Renaissance period. Starring Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson, Beauty and the Beast focuses on the relationship between the Beast (Benson), a prince who is magically transformed into a monster as punishment for his arrogance, and Belle (O'Hara), a young woman who he imprisons in his castle. The film also features the voices of Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, and Angela Lansbury, who occupy supporting roles.

The film was a box office success, and has since garnered over $424 million worldwide. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was nominated for several awards, winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. Beauty and the Beast became the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture; it also received five additional Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Score, Best Sound, and three separate nominations for Best Original Song. Ultimately, the film won Best Original Score, while Best Original Song was awarded to its title song. In 2002, Beauty and the Beast was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

In April 1994, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST became Disney's first animated film to be adapted into a Broadway musical.


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