Dan Stevens, the breakout actor of Downton Abbey and last year’s cult action movie The Guest, is in negotiations to play the Beast/Prince in Disney’s live-action retelling of Beauty and the Beast, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Stevens will join Emma Watson, who is playing Belle, the “Beauty” in the title, while Luke Evans is in talks to play the vain villain Gaston.
Bill Condon is directing what is turning out so far to be an all-British cast production while David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are producing.
Beauty continues Disney’s plan of taking some of its animated classics and brushing them up for a 21st century live-action makeover. Cinderella, which also features mostly British leads, is the latest — it opens March 13 — and it’s generating great reviews.
Last year’s Maleficent was a live-action take on Sleeping Beauty and made $758.4 million worldwide.
Beauty, a French fairy tale, tells of a young woman who takes her father’s place as a prisoner in a monstrous being’s castle, only to fall in love with the creature, who turns out to be a prince.
While the studio has not confirmed if the retelling is a musical, when Watson was cast in January, she implied it was in a Facebook post: “It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There.’ … Time to start some singing lessons.”
The highly sought-after role will be a big get for Stevens, who last starred in The Guest, Adam Wingard‘s action thriller, and has been working in supporting roles in such movies as Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and A Walk Among the Tombstones.
He is repped by WME, Julian Belfrage Associates, and Peikoff Mahan.