Updated 05:26 PM EDT, Mon, Oct 19, 2020

'Beauty and the Beast' Live-Action Remake Release Date & Cast: Sir Ian McKellen to Voice the Talking Clock Cogsworth

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Disney's live-action remake of "Beauty and the Beast" will feature Sir Ian McKellen as the voice behind the talking clock Cosgworth, an exclusive report from Variety wrote.

According to the news outlet, the remake of the animated classic will also feature Emma Watson as the titular character Belle alongside Dan Stevens as the Prince/Beast. Luke Evans will also star as Gaston, Josh Gad as Lefou, and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts. Kevin Kline will portray the role of Belle's father, Maurice, IGN added. Production is set to kick off later this year for a March 17, 2017 release.

The film's screenplay was penned by Evan Spiliotopoulos and rewritten by Stephen Chbosky, with Bill Condon in the director's chair. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films serve as producers, Variety noted.

British actor McKellen was known for his famous movie roles such as Magneto/Erik in the "X-Men" films and as Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" trilogies, a separate report from IGN wrote. He previously worked with Condon in 1998's "Gods and Monsters" and in the upcoming film "Mr. Holmes."

In the original "Beauty and the Beast" movie, which premiered in 1991, Cogsworth was the Beast's loyal butler transformed into a clock when a curse took control over the castle, IGN wrote. The flick grossed more than $375 million worldwide and became one of the few animated films to get nominated in the best picture category in the Oscars, Variety noted. Its success also spearheaded a Broadway play.

Alan Menken, who also wrote Oscar-winning songs for the 1991 original film, will handle the musical score of "Beauty and the Beast." Menken will compose original songs "to be featured alongside new recordings of the earlier movie's music," IGN reported.

Disney's New Strategy

"Beauty and the Beast" comes in a string of live-action remakes from Disney, which included "Pinocchio," "Cinderella," "Mulan," "Dumbo," "Alice in Wonderland," and "Winnie the Pooh," The Guardian took note. This strategy of the company proved to be profitable, taking advantage of Disney's own back catalogue of their hit films.

"The key concept is risk aversion," said Steven Gaydos, executive editor of Hollywood trade magazine Variety, as quoted by The Guardian. "Hollywood is desperate to find things that are essentially presold. They like films they can test-market and know there's an awareness, an appetite, and fanbase."

Gaydos also added that originality in the film industry has become outdated, adding that, "Hollywood used to be the dream factory; now it's the franchise factory," the news outlet reported.

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