Meeting the Cast of Beauty and the Beast

Meeting the Cast of Beauty and the Beast

By Erin

The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in Disney’s live-action adaptation “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told. One of my all time favorite Disney movies ever, I am beyond excited for this movie to finally make it to theaters. Meeting the cast was a wonderful experience that I am happy to share about with you here. Before the junket started we got to view the costumes and the enchanted rose.

One of the best things about the film is the music, and the songs, wouldn’t you agree? Take a listen for yourself.

Now imagine getting to listen to  some of the music from the movie LIVE? As the junket got set to start, we enjoyed a beautiful musical presentation by Alan Menken himself. He created a gorgeous compilation from the songs of the movie to preform for us to enjoy. It was a treat to watch him perform and guess who joined in on the fun?

Once this fantastic presentation ended, everyone took their seats and it began.

Those in attendance were:

·         Emma Watson (“Belle”) 

·         Dan Stevens (“Beast / Prince Adam”)

·         Luke Evans (“Gaston”)

·         Josh Gad (“Le Fou”)

·         Audra McDonald (“Garderobe”)

·         Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Plumette”)

·         Bill Condon (Director)

·         Alan Menken (Music)

Some of the interesting facts we learned during this time were:

  • Bill Condon told us that when he was approached to adapt the movie for the live action film that he needed to “get over the terror first.” He knew he needed to investigate and learn more about the movie. “There are questions maybe you never asked before that you want to know about, like how did Belle and Maurice wind up in this village where they’re outsiders. That leads to new songs and suddenly you are creating something new.”
  • Alan Menken told us that he thinks he has benefited from his association with Disney and what it’s like to add songs into an animated film. “You look at it like architecture. Where do we need the emotional support? Sometimes the songs will respond to a moment. Sometimes you’ll go, I feel like we need a song in this spot, and we will massage the story so a song could fit there. I mean, I could spend five hours talking about this right now, but essentially a lot of thought and a lot – again, use the word collaboration – a lot of collaboration goes into what song is going to come, where’s it going to go, what does it need to accomplish and how will it interact with the song that preceded it and the song that came after it? What will be the overall effect of it? What character is underrepresented in songs? You know, and there’s so many factors.”

  • Audra McDonald told us that as a parent she thinks the Beauty and the Beast has a great message for kids. “When I heard Emma Watson was going to be Belle, and knowing how much Emma has affected girls of my daughter’s age, and my daughter is someone who now asks for people to donate money to charities for her birthday gifts instead of presents. And that’s because of you, Emma. And so knowing full well that Emma was going to make sure that Belle was somebody who was independent, who was strong, who was educated, who was sticking up for girls and women, and who does all the rescuing in the film. That’s why I knew it was going to be important for me to be a part of and for my kids to see.”
  • Emma Watson tells us how proud she was to be able to play a character like Belle. “I think that Belle is this ultimate kind of symbol of the fact that books can be rebellious, they can be incredibly empowering, liberating. They are a means to travel to – you can travel to places in the world that you would never be able to under other circumstances. I was just really proud to play a character that has a certain earnestness about her, honestly. She’s not in any way kind of ashamed of that, and it’s not easy being an outsider and it’s not easy to pick battles, it’s not easy to try to move and work against a system, to work against the grain, to move against the status quo. But she does so with kind of this amazing fearlessness. And you know, with the support of her father, but really I think it’s something that she weathers on her own, really, at the end of the day. I’m very grateful that this character exists and that I get to bring her to life. It’s fantastic.”

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2017 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Slate!

2017 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Slate!!

It’s that exciting time of year when Walt Disney releases their yearly movie schedule and you won’t want to miss the 2017 releases for this year! It’s going to be a great year to go to the movies! Every year I look forward to finding out what the schedule is so I can plan accordingly and not miss any of the magic. I cannot wait to learn more and share about all the films.  Which ones do you want to see this year?

It’s going to be an amazing year at the movies!  Be sure to stay up to date on all the upcoming 2017 movies from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures here!

Here’s the 2017 Walt Disney Studios movies lineup, so you can keep track of their release dates:

March 17, 2017 – BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Walt Disney Studios)

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THIS one has to be my most favorite Disney movie EVER that I am looking forward to seeing this year. A childhood favorite of mine (“Beauty and the Beast” and “Be Our Guest” were my first two ring tones I bought for my first cell phone I had when I was in high school along with anything else Beauty and the Beast related)  In the LIVE version of this old favorite, the story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within.

The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.

Directed by Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, “Beauty and the Beast.” Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated film, provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as three new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice. “Beauty and the Beast” will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.

April 21, 2017 – BORN IN CHINA (Disneynature)

#BornInChina

Narrated by John Krasinski, Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure film “Born In China” takes an epic journey into the wilds of China where few people have ever ventured. Following the stories of three animal families, the film transports audiences to some of the most extreme environments on Earth to witness some of the most intimate moments ever captured in a nature film.

A doting panda bear mother guides her growing baby as she begins to explore and seek independence. A two-year-old golden monkey who feels displaced by his new baby sister joins up with a group of free-spirited outcasts. And a mother snow leopard—an elusive animal rarely caught on camera—faces the very real drama of raising her two cubs in one of the harshest and most unforgiving environments on the planet.

Featuring stunning, never-before-seen imagery, the film navigates China’s vast terrain—from the frigid mountains to the heart of the bamboo forest—on the wings of red-crowned cranes, seamlessly tying the extraordinary tales together. Opening in U.S. theaters on Earth Day 2017, “Born in China” is directed by accomplished Chinese filmmaker Lu Chuan, and produced by Disney’s Roy Conli and renowned nature filmmakers Brian Leith and Phil Chapman.

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Meet the Inspirational Cast of Moana!

Meet the Inspirational Cast of Moana!

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If you’re a Disney movie lover like me, then you’re probably anticipating the release of Moana later this week. If you don’t know yet, Walt Disney Animation Studios brings us “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. Moana is the 16-year-old daughter of the chief of Motunui, she’s brave, determined, compassionate and incredibly smart. She has a never-say-die attitude and a profound connection to the ocean. It is very troubling to her,  that her people don’t go beyond the reef surrounding their island. They stay within the confines of that reef and Moana doesn’t really understand why, especially since she’s felt drawn to the ocean her whole life.

The story of Moana was inspired by the oral histories of the people and cultures of Oceania. For centuries, the greatest voyagers, who were well-known to be the greatest navigators in the world, masterfully navigated the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. Navigation—or wayfinding—is such a big part of Pacific culture. Ancient Polynesians found their way across the seas, wayfinding island-to-island without the use of modern instruments, using their knowledge of nature, the stars, the waves and the currents. But then, and seemingly out-of-nowhere their voyages across the ocean came to a complete stop and no one knows why they stopped or why they started back up again. Though there are lots of theories about it, no one knows exactly why. Moana, our heroine,  means “ocean” and she is at the heart of the rebirth of wayfinding in the story.

 I attended the Moana Press Junket the other week which was held at Santa Monica’s gorgeous Fairmont Miramont Hotel and Bungalows. In attendance were:

  • Dwayne Johnson (voice of “Maui”)
  • Auli’i Cravalho (voice of “Moana”)
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda (Music by)
  • Opetaia Foa’i (Music by)
  • Directors Ron Clements & John Musker
  • Producer Osnat Shurer
  • Ron Clements was the first to answer, what inspired this movie? It actually started five years ago, and the idea belonged to John Musker. “He wanted to do a movie based on the world of the Pacific Islands and the mythology. That led to about five years ago we took a trip to Fiji, Samoa and Tahiti, which really was the basis of the movie in terms of the connection to navigation, to people’s connection to their ancestry, respect for nature, a lot of those ideas came from that first research trip and the movie was heavily inspired by that and people that we met have stayed involved with the movie throughout its production process to try to capture as much as we could of all the wondrous things we learned and the wonderful people that we met.”

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    John Musker added that they took a second trip to the Pacific with the musical team, including Lin-Manuel, who had just taken the job. That trip to the Pacifica Music Festival in Auckland, New Zealand, allowed them the opportunity to learn, then get into the studio and bang on the drums to experiment with the unique musical heritage and beats offered by the Pacific Islands. Lin also ended up winning a dance contest! Puerto Ricans can shake their hips, too!
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    Auli’i Cravalho shared with us about life growing up in Hawaii and her culture. “I’ve grown up in Hawaii all my life.  I grew up in a small town in Kwahala on the Big Island of Hawaii, where I literally grew up with pigs and chickens.  I am deeply rooted to my culture.  I actually go to an all-Hawaiian school where the mythology and the folklore of Maui is in our curriculum and I’ve listened to his stories as bedtime stories and I’ve grown up with the Aloha spirit just around me and I’m sure Dwayne can second that.”

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    Dwayne Johnson then shared with us a little more about what the “Aloha Spirit” means to him. “The ‘Aloha Spirit,’ it’s something that is very special, it’s very meaningful to us and our Polynesian culture and so for example, those of you who have had the opportunity to visit Hawaii or any of the Polynesian islands, it’s a very special thing.  It’s an intangible, that when you get off the plane and you have your feet on the ground there, energetically it takes you to a different place.  That’s Aloha Spirit. The opportunity that we had, just as Polynesians to be part of a story and to bring to life a story of our Polynesian culture in this capacity with our great partners at Disney, musically with these masters, was just a really, really special opportunity for us.”

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    There is a special song in the film called ‘You’re Welcome’ (make sure to watch the clip below!). Everyone wanted to know how Lin got The ROCK to sing!

    Lin: “When Dwayne accepted the role he said, “So what are you giving me to sing?” He was really excited for this. I went to YouTube where the answers always lie and you know, I’m a big fan of his wrestling days and there was a time during his heel turn era where he would pull out a guitar and taunt whatever town he was in. I’d be like, can’t wait to get out of Chicago. I can’t do the eyebrow. I got a really good sense of his vocal range from that 10-minute super cut and then the rest of it was just writing lyrics that embody the spirit of Maui, who is this amazing demi-god, trickster god and once I had the title, You’re Welcome, which only Dwayne can pull off.

    Dwayne shared his thoughts about getting to sing in a Disney film too.

    Dwayne: ” It was an opportunity to challenge myself and yes, as Lin was saying, he did his research and by the time I got the song, it was in my comfortable range as well and then also parts of the song which pushed me a little bit, which I appreciate because that’s what I needed vocally as well and I honestly had such a great time, one of the best times I’ve ever had in my career was actually working on this project and certainly working on that song because also like we all love challenges and this was a challenge that the bar is set so incredibly high in a Disney film to sing.

    As the press junket came to an end, we stepped outside and in true Disney fashion, this magical sunset awaited us outside!

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    What a way to end the day! Moana’s an amazing movie with an amazing cast. So check out the cool clip below and visit the Moana sites to learn more until November 23rd when you can go out and see it!

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    Movie review coming on Wednesday, but for now, I will leave you with this clip of Moana. You’re Welcome!! 😉 Then go see it on Wednesday when it’s out in theaters. Oh you will want to purchase the sound track for this one too! It is amazing and will have you dreaming of being on the islands.

    Like MOANA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/disneymoana

    Follow MOANA on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneymoana

    Visit the official MOANA website here: http://movies.disney.com/moana